After having so much success launching a law firm Intranet for Bennett Jones built on SharePoint, we decided to develop a list of best practices to help other law firms.
Best Practices for Law Firm Intranets
1) Develop a Strategy
it sounds simple but getting people within a law firm to agree on the purpose of an Intranet is often overlooked and leads to many conflicts down the road.
2) Develop an Information Architecture
Bennett Jones hired consultants that specialized in information design and usability testing. Many firms think that SharePoint magically creates intuitive interfaces for navigating content. On the contrary, you must explicitly design site hierarchy and implement navigation systems that help users find information efficiently.
3) Don’t cut corners on User Experience Design
SharePoint out-of-the-box does not give you an interface sufficient enough to encourage user adoption. You really have to take users far away from the SharePoint UI to have success. Get creative and hire the best UX team you can find. The investment will generate returns measured in site visits and overall user satisfaction.
4) Knowledge Management Vision
Having a well-articulated knowledge management strategy will help you determine very quickly what you can get for free and what will cost you. SharePoint is just a framework with tools like team sites, wikis, document libraries and blogs. Understanding how your KM content should be delivered to users will help assess the amount of customization required.
5) Governance Planning
Your new Intranet will create responsibilities for a long list of people. That’s a good thing! Gone are the days where an entire intranet is managed by one HTML programmer in a windowless office. Your plan should address lines of ownership for business and technical teams, service delivery requirements for business and IT, information architecture, levels of support, as well as education and training plans.