10 Best Intranets of 2009
By Jakob Nielsen
Intranets are getting more strategic, with increased collaboration support. Team size is growing by 12% per year, and platforms are becoming integrated, with a strong showing for SharePoint. Improving usability increased use by 106% on average.
The winners of the award for 10 best-designed intranets for 2009 are:
- Altran, a large engineering and innovation consultancy (France)
- Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), a developer of computer and graphics processors (USA)
- BASF SE, the world's leading chemical manufacturing company (Germany)
- COWI Group A/S, a consulting group focusing on engineering, environmental science, and economics (Denmark)
- Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (DTT), a global professional services network providing audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services (a Global member organization)
- Environmental Resources Management (ERM), one of the world's leading providers of environmental consulting services (Global)
- HSBC Bank Brazil (Brazil)
- Kaupthing Bank (Iceland)
- L.L.Bean, a vendor of apparel and outdoor equipment (USA)
- McKesson Corporation, a large provider of pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, and health care information technologies (USA)
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu also won in 2002 for its Australian member firm's intranet; this year, DTT's worldwide intranet is the winner. As such, DTT joins a very small, elite group of companies that has won the award twice: Cisco Systems is the only other member.
As we've seen every year, great intranets are found around the world and in all industries. This year, we have our first winner from Latin America. We also have the first winners from Denmark, France, and Iceland; Germany and the U.S. have both provided many winners in the past. We have one other first this year: In a sign of ongoing globalization trends, we have winners that are not headquartered in any individual country.
The consulting sector is this year's best-represented industry, with 3 winners. Given the knowledge-intensive nature of consulting and this year's trend toward more collaboration-focused intranets, this fact makes sense.
Bigger Intranet Budgets
As we've seen the last few years, large companies dominate among the winners. Among this year's winners, the average organization has 37,500 employees
. Even so, fairly small companies like Kaupthing Bank with 3,200 employees can still win. Good user experience doesn't require size or humongous budgets; it requires talent and emphasis on meeting the users' needs.
One of the strongest trends over the years that we've run this design competition is that intranet teams have been getting bigger. As the following chart shows, when we started honoring intranet projects in 2001, the average winning team had 6 members; today, the average team size is 14.
The long-term trend is toward bigger intranet teams, with a growth rate of 12% per year.
Still, what holds for company size also holds for the size of teams: You don't have to be big to win. This year's winners include one team with 5 members and another team with 6 members. In earlier years, we've honored winners with 1- or 2-person teams.
Even this year's average team size of 14 is fairly small when it comes to providing a key work tool for organizations with 37,500 employees on average. One way to leverage intranet staff is to call on external resources as appropriate. Today, the predominant approach to running intranet design projects is to engage one or more consultants and external agencies to contribute parts — and only parts — of the design, while keeping overall control inside the company itself.