Ministry of Transport makes top 10 intranet list

Intranet development trends include a focus on news, productivity and personalisation

The Ministry of Transport's intranet has been named as among the best in the world, being listed in the top 10 in an international competition.

San Francisco-based Nielsen Norman Group, which has organised the event for the past eight years, says the priority in intranet development has flipped "from information to people".

"It’s now a given to have basic features such as an employee directory on a company’s intranet,” usability expert and principal of Nielsen Norman Group Jakob Nielsen said in a statement.

"What’s new is the polish and sophistication that companies are giving them so that they serve even more useful purposes, which in the case of the directory means providing more than an employee’s name, rank and serial number, but also his subject-matter expertise, for example.”

The Ministry's intranet was designed by Microsoft development shop Provoke Solutions using MS SharePoint.

Provoke's director Mason Pratt says the client brief was to deliver collaboration, content management, centralised communication and stakeholder management.

"It’s basically just good to use – it’s modern, flexible and it looks good. It’s about people and that’s what works for our customers,” he says.

The Ministry of Transport says the intranet is a "far cry from what might expected from a government intranet".

"It supports around 200 central government workers enabling them to post their own news content with a sound information architecture and fun style which all contribute to the MoT intranet being 'the' place to be — and no travel required," MoT says in a statement.

The 10 leading intranet organisations come from six different countries They are, in alphabetical order: Bank of America (US); Bankinter SA (Spain); Barnes & Noble (US); British Airways (UK); Campbell Soup Company (US); Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation (US); IKEA North America Service, LLC, (US); Ministry of Transport (New Zealand); New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (Australia); and SAP AG (Germany).

“Intranets are moving to having a single, well-structured information architecture with a single, consistent page design. This used to be highly contested in years past, with individual departments maintaining their independence and the 'right' to their own, usually poor design," said Kara Pernice, director of research, Nielsen Norman Group.

The top development trends noted in the competition are: an increased emphasis on and investment in company and industry news; a focus on supporting everyday work and improving productivity; and personalisation topush or hide information depending on each employee's individual needs.

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