Intranet manager, you’re NOT the document manager

You’re the Intranet Manager, so of course you’re also responsible for all the invoices in the organization? Do I hear you say “no”?

But all the contracts of employment – surly that is your responsibility to handle, store, and archive? Again “no”?

We can all see that invoices are the responsibility of the Finance department, within an accounting software tool. And contracts are often stored in a Human Recources Management System and governed by HR specialists. No one would ever ask the Intranet manager to fix this.

Actually, there are a lot of “ecosystems” in an organization:

And so on.

Two types of ecosystems are especially interesting:

  • WCM (Web Content Management), with a WCMS (Web Content Management System).

WCM is of course the realm of the Intranet Manager. This is why the Intranet Manager and the intranet team exist. The product is web pages.

In this case the product is documents and other records. DM/RM is not something the Intranet Manager and the intranet team shold govern. Life cycle management of documents and other records are a totally different ecosystem than web pages, just like invoices. One should have extensive knowledge of classification, metadata, version handling, secure storage, archiving and so on in order to be the right “general” for document management. More an archivist, than a product manager.

Problem is, in many organizations, people think WCM and DM are the same thing, probably because some or many documents are accessed via an intranet web page. Ordinary people can’t tell the difference between a link/GUI object containing something on the page, and a link/GUI object leading to another place in another system.

And with O365, the digital multitool, many of the things above, including documents, really are handled within the suite. Totally different types of content and ecosystems mashed together in a digital platform.

This is a curse for many Intranet Managers.

Why? Because most executive boards, leaders, managers, and employees can’t tell the difference between different content types in the platform. Everything is accessed via the web browser and presented as web pages—so everyting is “the intranet”, especially if you use O365 but don’t have a special product for the intranet part and no special GUI for the intranet, separate from the generic Microsoft GUI. Then the whole suite becomes the responsibility of the intranet manager and team.

But has the intranet team grown ten times since O365 was introduced? This platform handles 5-10 different ecosystems, but has the other teams, departments and functions responsible for those ecosystems been incorporated in the extended intranet team; “the digital workplace team”? Was there a project office, someone professional responsible for business processes, a Document Manager in the first place?

Most often not. You probably lead the same intranet team but with a monster product, and an organization waiting for you to “just fix it”. You are Intranet Manager but now also responsible for document governance, you have become the general project office, and you’re the one that also should build the Word and Powerpoint templates. Because everyting is in O365 and that is “the intranet”.

Good luck.


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