New approach to an intranet maturity model from Intranet Benchmarking Forum

by | Dec 7, 2010 | Intranets

I have never been a supporter of intranet maturity models. A linear approach seems to me to be too simplistic for organisations with multiple intranets in different stages of maturity. Moreover they convey the sense that only when full maturity is reached is the intranet able to make its full impact on the organisation. Janus Boye has made a survey of some of the models and I am in agreement with him.

At last someone has taken the bold step of developing a more mature approach to maturity models. The Intranet Benchmarking Forum commissioned Sam Marshall to think outside the box and the results are now publicly available in a report entitled the Digital Workplace Maturity Model, available as a free download from the IBForum web site. The essence of the model is that it uses four orthogonal dimensions

  • Communication and information
  • Structure
  • Community and Collaboration
  • Services

Along each axis are milestones, Base, Low, Mid, High and Excel. The report emphasises that reaching Excel, or even High, on all four axes may not be appropriate for every organisation. The level of investment and governance to achieve this may be out of line with the requirements of the organistion. There is a very neat use of metaphor to illustrate this, with intranets being compared to a market square, a market town, a supermarket, a mall and finally a city centre. Each has a different pattern of maturity along each axis. Using these metaphors does not, in my opinion, turn the methodology into a linear model but they do make it easy to tell a story to senior managers.

This is a short and very well written report, just 30 pages long, and designed to the Forum”s usual high standards. At this stage it is too early to decide if this is going to be the definitive model of intranet maturity. It needs to be tested and evaluated over a period of time, but even as it stands I find myself matching the intranets of clients onto the model and thinking about the value that I can gain from this report in developing intranet and information management strategies. It could be used as a formal benchmarking tool but that may be pushing the approach a little too far. It will cost you nothing to download the report, and the Intranet Benchmarking Forum should be commended for making this report so widely available to the benefit of the global intranet community.