Lately, I’ve been working closely with New Intranet Administrators, offering training, tips, and best practices. The training has become such a hit that I am hosting an upcoming webinar specifically for new intranet administrators. In light of this, I thought I’d write a blog that will cover some of the key aspects of onboarding new intranet administrators to your organization.
Back to the Basics
Before getting started, an underlying understanding of our intranet software’s core concepts is a definite necessity. Knowing those main elements help build on your knowledge and understanding of our intranet software. Once you are comfortable with the core concepts, you will be well on your way to tackling tasks as they come.
What are the core concepts? Let’s start with Assets. The intranet is built with Sites, Applications, and Pages – these are your assets. Define your assets as follows:
Intranet Sites are containers that include applications and pages. Typically, Sites will be created for team projects, or for specific department needs. As an example, Human Resources may want their own Site created which contains specific information pertaining to HR, or confidential information requiring the site to be locked down so that other users will not have access to it.
Applications are used to store content. Some Intranet Applications have specific use cases such as Blogging, Events Calendars, Training, Online Forms, and more. Each Application has folders to contain this content and can be searched for using either the global enterprise search or the in-app search options.
HMTL Pages or Dynamic Pages
HTML Pages are used to display static content such as hours for the organization, and mission statements or to host intranet widgets as Dynamic Pages that display feeds to updated content from your Applications. Intranet Widgets are the boxes on your Intranet Home Page and landing pages for your Sites.
Onboarding New Users
When onboarding new employees and adding them to the intranet, you have the choice of using your company’s Active Directory and having it sync with the intranet (where applicable) or importing users using a CSV import method.
As part of onboarding, you will likely assign the user to security groups based on their access levels. From there, they would naturally inherit any permissions that the group has.
Setting Permissions for New Users
New intranet administrators need to know how to apply for permissions. The biggest overhead you will have as a new intranet administrator is making sure that users are provided with the permissions they need to do their assigned tasks. The easiest way to manage this is by utilizing Security Groups. Whether you are using Active Directory (AD) Sync or creating your own groups within the intranet, utilizing groups to assign permissions for users means that you can set the permissions once. Then all you have to worry about is whether the user is in the correct group(s) or not.
By assigning the permissions at the group level, it can be a huge time-saver for you! For example, perhaps an HR person at your organization has been assigned to three different workflows for your Online Forms, in addition to being Site and Application owners. If this individual leaves the company, their account will likely be disabled and they will automatically be removed from the workflow. Or, perhaps this individual moved to another department within the organization and someone else will be taking over their role. You will need to go through each workflow for each of the Online Forms, as well as adjust the permissions for the Site and Applications they own.
By assigning this user to an HR security group, and then assigning the HR group to the workflow level, as well as being the Site and Application owner, all you have to do is remove “User A” and add “User B” to activate your security changes, eliminating the time-consuming manual adjustment.
As a new intranet administrator, you may be wondering where to assign permissions. Permissions are managed within the Administration Area/Panel of your Sites, Applications, and Pages. If you have Administrative Permissions on your intranet, you can select “Admin” from the navigation located above your Global Menu on your intranet, then select the “Assets” tab and finally select the intranet site you’d like to work on.
Site Access allows you to check the box ‘Apply View Security’ to lock down a site and assign users/groups that will be able to access it. Site Owners can be assigned to manage the selected site so that they will be able to create/manage intranet applications and dynamic/HTML pages on their own within their assigned site(s).
Intranet Applications have their permissions assigned at the folder level. Global security allows any user with access to the site to access this application. However, by disabling it, you can assign specific groups and users access to the selected folder instead.
Page security is very similar to Site Security; however, the intranet home page of the selected site will inherit its security from the site it is under. Other pages on this site can apply further security using the Page Access option. Page Owners can be assigned in case you may have someone that needs to design the page, but do not necessarily want them to have full access over the site and/or the intranet home page for that site.
Intranet Menu Navigation
Lastly, intranet administrators are responsible for making the navigation on the intranet easy and intuitive for users. Your intranet may be jam-packed with useful information and helpful resources, but it’s worthless if users are unable to locate the content.
Personally, I love the K.I.S.S principle, as making navigation extremely simple is the best way for new users to fully adopt your intranet. If an intranet home page or the menu navigation is too complex, a user may lose trust that they can find things and be reluctant to adopt the intranet as an effective business tool.
Navigation falls into three categories, Global, Site, and Page navigation.
1. Global Menu Navigation
Global Menu Navigation is at the top of your intranet where users can access drop-down links or Mega Menus. The purpose of this is to expose access to areas globally across your entire intranet regardless of what Site, Application, or Page the user may currently be on.
2. Intranet Site Navigation
Intranet Site Navigation offers access to intranet applications and pages specific to the site you are currently on. These would likely not be within the global navigation as they relate to the project or department depending on the use case for this Intranet Site. When you are browsing between Applications and Pages on a specific Site, this navigation will remain in the left navigation menu column for easy access.
3. Single Page Navigation
Page Navigation is available with Mega Menus, giving you the option of adding menu widgets or dynamic content. This widget is available only on the page it is added to. This is a great idea for Quick Links, allowing easy access to the popular areas of the intranet, but may not be required to be accessible on all pages of the site or Global Menu Navigation options.
Once you have the above core concepts, onboarding new users, security infrastructure, and navigation process in place, you will have the foundation to manage the majority of intranet administrator tasks thrown at you and you are well on your way to building and managing a successful intranet.