Good intranet governance doesn’t stop at launch. Some of the best governance techniques I’ve seen involve ongoing engagement and support of those keeping the intranet lights on and the users coming in the door.

Supporting your intranet people – no matter which role they play – can be effectively done with training, tools, and creating a community of support. This last one is perhaps the most valuable, but let’s look at all three.

Training

People working on your SharePoint intranet need some training. It’s never been a completely intuitive experience. Whether you are a content author, a site manager, or a site owner, everyone working in some role to support the intranet needs some training.

In addition to technical training, there are several other important training topics to include in your plan:

  • Records Management: using taxonomy, metadata, and content types to manage records; archiving and retrieval
  • Security and Permissions: how to manage site and asset security using permissions and Active Directory (AD) groups
  • Site Planning/Reporting/Measurement: how to conduct long-term strategic planning for a site; what ROI to report and how to report it; what to measure and how to measure it routinely
  • Content Creation: Creating good content for web use (especially for authors) and how people consume online content (all users)

Here’s a look at how we break down training by role.

Support Tools and Programs

Several important support tools can be used to encourage education and engagement. One of these is badging, or awarding users with visible recognition for their leadership, usage, knowledge, and/or behavior. Another is certification, which rewards users specifically for training and learning accomplishments.

Badging recognizes expertise and activity, encouraging friendly competition. Badges can be based on a combination of course completion and online activity such as blog posts, comments, timely content reviews, audit completions and status updates. Badges can be displayed on the user’s profile, by their contributions, and more. Badges should include some maintenance requirement, such as maintaining a certain level of posts or comments.

While text badges are available in SharePoint 2013, some of our clients are creating their own custom graphic badges including coding for custom activity data. There are a variety of organizations that provide support in this effort, Badgeville being the familiar name. Other contenders are introduced in this post.

Certification programs push the competitive encouragement one step farther for certain roles. This type of program should be primarily focused on training completion but could include a badge for those attaining the certification. Positioning certified team members as experts in support communities is a great way to encourage continued learning.

Support Communities

Perhaps the most important leverage point is the support community. A community for site managers, for example might enable them to share things they are developing for use across the enterprise. This encourages fuller leverage of the SharePoint investment and improves productivity in the global SharePoint team.

A community might include group dialogue, documents, a calendar of training and informal gatherings, and external resources members have found. Most importantly, it would link to all the governance resources available, such as guidelines, policy, templates, code of conduct, and branding standards.

One of the beauties of these types of communities is that after some time, they begin to support themselves. They require little in the way of maintenance after the initial ramp up. Figure 1 shows an example of a support community page.

Getting the Experts Engaged

One of the best ways we’ve found to involve those who are great at managing SharePoint sites is video. Encouraging power users, site managers, or street team members –people in all locations and departments with special training and tools to support adoption – to produce small how-to videos enables them to demonstrate their knowledge in a way that other users want to consume.

Videos should be 1-2 minutes in length, and show the presenter’s screen and talking head, if possible. Production quality need not be high, but audio should be good. Each video should address just one narrow topic (e.g., uploading a document, updating my profile).

Videos can be strung together in a recommendation format, used for certifications and even integrated into communities and other user help. Don’t forget to get some executives involved too.

In the end, the better you support those supporting the intranet, the greater ROI you’ll achieve.