I'm going to go against the views of those that have reviewed this book before me and say it's a basic overview of corporate Intranets - in fact, it almost reads as a white paper given the ending of the book (more on that further in this review). If you're new to Intranets, the book should serve you as a good, if very expensive, primer. Those with more experience will find this book pretty basic. Indeed, if you're new to Intranets, much of the information in this book can be found online for free. The book covers: Six phases of Intranet evolution; Four purposes of the Intranet; How to find out what staff need; How to design the Intranet; How to deliver great content; Role of the Intranet team; How to plan improvements.
My issues with this book are as follows (in no particular order):
1. There is no mention of wiki type Intranets such as Confluence. How does the author propose that these types of Intranets are developed? The book was published in 2011 and wiki type Intranets have been around for quite a few years.
2. The author seems to focus his attention on large corporates that have an 'Intrnanet team' - it would have been nice to balance this out with advice for SMEs and those communication/marketing managers who are the Intranet team. And on this point, ideas of budgets would have been good - how much time should you spend on developing your Intranet? What costs are we (roughly) looking at? How do you work with other comms teams around the world? Should the Intranet be available in different languages to accommodate your international offices? None of these questions are covered.
3. The book lacks any substance - it's a series of generalist paragraphs covering a whole host of topics, which is why the author has managed to "cram all his knowledge and experience into a book of 110 pages". For example, there is a chapter on "How to find out what staff need" - within that chapter are sections on staff surveys and stakeholder surveys. However, they are covered by a paragraph each - there is no discussion of what questions to ask, or how to run the survey. This format of general paragraphs is standard throughout the book.
4. The book is essentially an expensive white paper with the author continually pointing out that more information on topic X, Y, Z can be found at (drum roll) his website. Go to his website and you'll find plenty of resources - they're just very expensive! For example, the Intranet Roadmap PDF will set you back USD120 (about £75) - but it does come as an A1 poster.
5. The last ten pages focus on Next Steps - again, just another blatant advert for the author's services. Plenty of toolkits and further reading - available at his website. And there's a nice page outlining his consulting company's services.
6. The chapter on "Great Content" covers a handful of potential content models - more can be found at the author's website. Yet, it would have been useful to have had a critique of the pros and cons of the most popular/main ones (in conjunction with the size of your business, your time available and their respective costs).
7. Finally, it's alluded that you can always buy the (much more expensive) counterpart to this book, where I'm sure more info is covered. Designing intranets - Creating sites that work
Overall, I'm really annoyed at having spent quite a bit of money for what essentially is a 110 page advert for the author's consulting services. I doubt I'll bother with the more expensive book - if it's anything like this one, it will be a basic overview. On my final point, I hope that Amazon introduces a system whereby people do not simply write gushing reviews of their mates' books. Those that have reviewed this book prior to me seem to have reviewed only this book and/or the author's other book.