InsideTGT: The Story of Target Corporation’s Intranet

The penultimate presentation at SharePoint for Corporate Communicators came from Meghan Keating and Amy Smith, both of the Web Content Management departments at Target Corporation. Their joint presentation, A Seat at the Tech Table: Building an Intranet with Communication and Engagement in Mind, told the story of the recent launch of their new corporate intranet.

For 13 years, Target used the same intranet system. It was split up with different functions coming from different services and had very little user interaction. There was limited content management and it was so outdated that employees avoided using it. Eventually, the perfect situation arose for meaningful change: employees were ready for something new, the resources were available, and the leadership was engaged in the change. They were already using SharePoint 2007, so moving to 2010 for the added functionality and improved UI was an easy decision to make. To make a long story short, the communications department came in to consult on the project and quickly realized that they needed a real seat at the table for this project. They saw SharePoint 2010 as a communication channel as well as an organizational tool.

Their goal was to implement the ability to deliver content to the right people, at the right time, through the right means. They were able to achieve this goal in a couple of ways. First, they had the site designed by designers, not architects, allowing for a more customized user experience. Second, they were then able to brand it exactly the way they wanted and maximize the usability of the site. As well, they were then able to figure out what features of SharePoint 2010 they wanted to use and which features they wanted to disable. Once all was said and done, they had a nice new, functional, all-in-one intranet.

Now what? Adoption time. Having heard several adoption presentations at shows, including at Bamboo’s own SharePoint Leadership Forum, I was not surprised by what I heard next. They first identified a pilot group to use for testing. Once this got rolling and they started getting good feedback, they grew the pilot and did a second round of testing/adjusting. During this process, they were able to identify internal champions that came in handy later. Leading up to the launch, they implemented different strategies to get people excited. They did a meme campaign (funny pictures with text, jokes with a purpose) to raise awareness and hopefully make people laugh; they gave t-shirts to those early adopters identifying them as a resource for the launch and posted information around the building. On launch day, everyone who signed in was greeted by their pyramid community leader, making it a little more personal. Also, there were different public communities set up for things like help/support and enthusiasts. Overall they were able to create an immersive experience that engaged users instead of just throwing content at them. They even organized a mini in-house conference called TECHKnow where they had those champions set up tables and answer any and all questions pertaining to the new insideTGT. Having just launched this past summer, they are already showing steady use and measurable benefits to the organization.