From my first job out of college with the U.S. government to my last corporate job, every one had an intranet. Some better than others. Having all the business tools, human resources paperwork, health benefits, savings plans and more in one place saves a lot of time, which makes it worth it for a company to hire a team to build and manage the intranet.
The problem is doing it right. The intranet audience is so different from the Internet Web site that the Web design team doesn’t enter the project with the right perspective… the employees. You’d think it’d be easy for those designers who actually work for the company as an employee not as a contractor. But it doesn’t always work out well because they’re absorbed into making the site work.
Jakob Nielsen has issued his annual top 10 best intranets of 2006. The problem with evaluating intranets is that you have to get access. Of course, the only way to see these top ones is to buy his report. Nonetheless, the article provides a detailed report of what makes them successful.
He gets a list of intranet sites to review based on submissions from the companies themselves. So no doubt there are some talented intranet sites out there that don’t know about this or bother with submitting their Web site.