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August 19, 2010 5:48 PM   Subscribe

Intranet sunset advice? Looking for advice, plans, stories etc from anybody who has shut down an intranet.

In my new role at work, I'm responsible for retiring our old, local, crappy intranet - which is still being used by some pockets of the business - to moving completely into our slightly snazzier, jazzier global intranet, which we are half on at the moment.

Much of the content is old and outdated, but some of it is not, and some of it will need to find a new home on the worldwide intranet, internal wikis, etc. I work for a huge multinational company, so we are talking about a couple of thousand pages, gigs worth of local content, and >150 local owners here that need to be dealt with.

I have a few ideas of what I want/need to do, but I would really appreciate some sage wisdom from any web/content administrators of their own experiences doing this. I'm not so interested in technical aspects, I'm more concerned with logistics, timeframes, and making the user-experience as good as it can be given the circumstances.

Thanks Mefites,

posted by smoke to Technology (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I've done this twice:

A few tips:

-Give every one as much notice as possible, people are slow to change habits.

-Speak to dept. heads IN PERSON about the changes. It makes it easier to say 'I told you so' later instead of being buried in a pile of emails.

-Static HTML pages explaining where there page has gone, not just a auto re-direct

-Tell everyone to update their bookmarks, people forget if you dont

-Get the whole thing (if possible) running on an old server and keep it online as legacy for a few months. That way if anything WAS missed, you the IT guy can go fetch it. I've recovered months of magazine stories forgotten about on an old FTP

- Prune. Prune. Prune. - Old wikis are troves of outdated info. Get the dept. heads together and use the wikis table of contents function to show the pages. Axe anything thats old and merge anything you can. I've cut 9,000 wiki entries out this way and nobody ever noticed.

- Hope that halps.
posted by bobby_newmark at 5:53 PM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Send a survey to [whoever] asking what people still use on the intranet.

Change it over a piece at a time, deal with the changes and upsets and whatnot, and then start the next changeover the next week.

And back up all the old static content to tape, and possibly on a DVD created for distribution to anyone who wants the old one for something.
posted by gjc at 6:54 PM on August 19, 2010

Best answer: I've done this three or four times now. Good advice from both bobby_newmark and gjc. I would second gjc's advice about the backup. People have a visceral reaction to the idea of deleting content; they can always imagine scenarios where they need that page or document that no one has looked at in six months. If you archive it with a predictable SLA ("I can get anything you want back in 24 hours"), everyone gets a lot more comfortable with the idea of sunsetting. I have yet to have a user actually request us to pull a backup tape and blow it back up for them, but if they do, the tapes are vaulted for them. In hind sight, the pruning approach hasn't been worth the effort for me -- not enough savings to justify the effort. If/when I have to do this again, I'll opt for three "here is what is going to happen" communications over a couple of months, then just archive everything.
posted by kovacs at 7:15 PM on August 19, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks all, very much appreciate the advice.
posted by smoke at 4:11 PM on August 23, 2010

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