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The Framework

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Why a Framework?

To assist in addressing intranet business questions, Avenue A - Razorfish has developed frameworks to determine the maturity level of a company’s enterprise solutions. The frameworks are planning tools used to determine how best to evolve an enterprise solution in order to optimally meet specific business objectives.

 

Maturity frameworks are commonly used in the software industry to depict how processes, software and technologies mature over time. They enable teams to quickly recognize the maturity of a specific solution, grasp how it will mature from that point on and track the timeline for the maturity. Some examples of maturity models include the Organizational Project Management Maturity Model, the Information Process Maturity Model and the

Capability Maturity Model published by the Software Engineering Institute. An example of a recent Maturity Framework was published by Gartner Research entitled the "Collaboration Maturity Model".

 

In conducting the research for this report, Avenue A | Razorfish mapped several intranets to develop the Intranet Maturity FrameworkTM and used it to determine the challenges faced by intranets, how they mature and what would be required for them to better meet a business’s objectives.

 

Describing the Intranet Maturity FrameworkTM

 

This framework is used to depict how intranets mature as they evolve from grassroots, department-driven efforts into enterprise-wide portal programs and beyond. In examining the framework, keep in mind that as intranets mature, they typically include most features of the stages they have left behind, while also incorporating features that leverage available new technologies. In other words, the intranets mature by evolving their focus and also optimizing what is already included in them. While most intranets go through the maturity cycles depicted, it is important to note that every intranet manager’s goal isn’t necessarily to move the intranet to a later stage. Optimizing within the context of a particular stage can also provide strategic benefits.

 

The Intranet Maturity FrameworkTM is applicable to US-based intranets only. In other parts of the world, cultural factors, organizational dynamics, investment priorities, technology deployments, languages and country variances change the order of the stages in the maturity framework. For example, open source technologies currently play a small role in intranet infrastructure in the US, but in Europe they are gaining wide acceptance. Another (fee-based) article from The Economist published in April of 2000 (from an earlier 1999 survey) questioned the value of market research and research into other related business areas (i.e. knowledgement management, business processes and supply-chain integration) outside of North America.

 

The Corporate Intranets Best Practices Report analyzes intranets at different stages of maturity across the following dimensions:

 

Current State

 

  • Sponsorship: Funding and executive sponsorship that sustains the intranet
  • Governance: Organizational structures, policies and procedures (see this article on how governance relates to leadership, registration required; also see this case on SOA governance at FDIC)
  • User Needs: Specific needs of users accessing the intranet
  • Experience Design: Considerations driving the user experience
  • Technology: Deployments of package or custom-built solutions
  • Training: Typical training programs conducted for employees (see Intranet Training: Where to start?, AARF pdf, and Intranet Training: Value & Approaches, fee-based article)
  • Adoption: Strategies used by intranet teams to fuel adoption and repeat usage (see Competitiveness Review abstract or article, registration required, entitled "Intranets for implementing strategic initiatives")
  • ROI Metrics: Criteria established to measure ROI and usage

 

Key Takeaways

 

This report includes important lessons uncovered while running an intranet at a particular stage, as well as strategies and potential pitfalls to consider when evolving an intranet. The report covers these dimensions for each of the stages in the Intranet Maturity FrameworkTM. However, as there are few Stage 6 intranets, research on those was sparse.

 

What Does The Framework Look Like?

 

Intranets in each subsequent stage of maturity generally includes the features from the stages preceding it. For example, collaboration driven intranets also include employee self service and communication features. Click on the Framework graphic for a quick overview of the 6 Stages. Each stage can also be compared to its preceeding stage by clicking on the "compare" link from the corresponding page.

 

External Resources

 

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