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Intranet Organization: 
Strategies for managing change

Steven L. Telleen, Ph.D.

Chapter Outline


Existing books on Intranets focus either on architecting and installing the technology or providing a high level explanation of the benefits. In the former category are the "how-to" books for architecting and implementing servers, networks, software, HTML, CGI, Java and, maybe, page design. In the latter category are often overworked pronouncements about the benefits of (and dangers of not) participating, lists of potential projects to be undertaken, examples of uses today and, maybe, feature/function lists of tools. 

Talking to companies that have implemented Intranets, the toughest issues are not the technology but the people issues. What is missing entirely is a book that takes a thoughtful look at how an organization might transition to all these wonderful benefits, what it means in terms of organizational needs, role requirements and reskilling people and how the organizational strategy relates to the technology decisions. In other words, the critical stuff that links strategy and technology. 

This book is a "how-to" implement an organizational infrastructure that can exploit and grow with the fast changing technology. It is organized into nine chapters that walk through the organizational issues from philosophy to specific implementation. Along the way, we examine how Intranets relate to management philosophies, the roles and organizational forums required to maintain effective content, the logical architecture of content, issues and strategies for security and availability, implementation specifics, changes in work routines, the evolution of web-based applications and the future of Intranets. 

The technology is exciting, the tools more amazing everyday. But without an understanding of the organizational and management implications of this technology the implementer risks becoming part of the road rather than part of the steam-roller creating it. The good news is, if you are a manager or knowledge worker in the paper world, you already know 80% of what you need. This book is intended to help make the translation and fill in the gaps. Its goal is to provide both the understanding and practical guidance for implementing a successful Intranet infrastructure. 


The ideas in this book were developed over several years, with the support and contributions of many people. Some of the material, first published on the Amdahl Corporation web site, has been included and elaborated on here. Other material is completely new. New knowledge arises from the mixing of ideas, and I owe the mixing embodied in this book to many people, only some of whom are listed below. 

I owe my introduction to this technology to the original skunkworks team at Amdahl: Kinji Yamasaki, Ian Kluft, Jesse Mundis, Larry Davidson and Benay Dara-Abrams. I owe a special debt to Ian, who in the early days carried on a passionate email debate with me that helped articulate many of the early issues and key ideas. 

The members of the IntraNet Solutions Group at Amdahl followed me willingly through many trying times, often relying on sheer faith to keep going. They are the ones who tried out many of the ideas, brought back the modifications and elaborations, participated in the challenging and engaging discussions, and developed many of the details that made the ideas real. Thank you Jerry Straks, Joe Civello, Cheryl White, Cathi Starr-Young and Rich Schmieder. Your encouragement and contributions not only kept me going, but gave me the courage to publish these ideas in the first place. Bob Hudson and Russ Caple, who joined the team from DMR, also made significant contributions. 

The latest infusion of ideas came from the team at Intranet Partners. I can't even begin to describe the energy generated by an organization that was founded on the premise of collecting and mixing Intranet pioneers from different backgrounds and companies to generate the next wave of Intranet knowledge. Bart Meltzer has given me new insights with his practical understanding of how to apply one-to-one marketing techniques and personal profiling to Intranet brokering roles and the development of user-controlled, personal agents. Marty Kacin expanded my understanding of object technology and object design patterns and how they can enable and clarify many of the concepts I have been championing. Jonathan Lewis, whose experience applying Scenario Planning techniques to the development of Internet strategies at several large corporations has added a new dimension to my views on facilitating executive understanding and development of organizational goals. And, there were many others at Intranet Partners who contributed practical insights and new possibilities. 

Then there are all the people who provided the management support that allowed me to keep going. Linda Alepin at Amdahl was an early and enthusiastic supporter, especially during the tenuous times before Intranets became popular. Tama Olver, the CIO at Amdahl, sponsored our efforts to role out the official Intranet at Amdahl, and test many of our ideas on a corporate-wide scale. George Purnell, also at Amdahl, took us under his wing when we were in need of a home. Also thanks to Dan Mahoney who recruited the  team of pioneers at Intranet Partners that made every day a new learning experience. 

Also thanks to all those people I have not mentioned, but who listened and responded: clients and prospects, colleagues, conference attendees, writers and analysts, and the many people who have sent me email with their questions, comments, ideas and encouragement. 

Finally there is my family, Clare, Adam, Ashley and Jacob, who put up with all the weekends and evenings I spent on my computer writing and rewriting, and who allowed me to take the career risks necessary to get to the point that I had something to write about. And, thanks Clare for leaving me alone when I needed to be left alone and dragging me off to a movie or some other diversion when I needed a break. 

This book is dedicated to the late Olwen Williams, my major professor in graduate school, and the person who supported my eclectic interests, who expanded my horizons by introducing me to the work of Thomas Kuhn and Ludwig von Bertalanffy, and who encouraged me to learn computers. 

Chapter 1

Links to book references are provided with the permission of and in association with

Original Version: October, 1996
Last Updated: December, 1996
Copyright 1996 - Steven L. Telleen, Ph.D.

Some chapters in this book are based in part on work that the author wrote while an employee of the Amdahl Corporation. Those portions covered by the Amdahl Corporation Copyright are reprinted with the permission of the Amdahl Corporation.

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