Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Posting Emails as Intranet news items - Just because you can doesn't mean you should !

I had an unusual incident happen the other day which reminded me of the need to keep content management training content and resources up to date.

In my organisation I have a group of about 30 employees across the business who are trained as content managers and have the ability to create, maintain and publish content to the Intranet. All of those people are also able to create and publish news items to the front page.

I always recommend that content managers create news items in HTML format using the templates and tools I have provided for them however it is also possible to publish items that have been created in Word, PDF and PowerPoint format.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a news item appear regarding some changes to IT services and was very surprised when I clicked link and after a short wait, Microsoft Outlook started to open.

One of the resourceful and obviously time poor content managers had published an email they had received from their manager as a news item to the front page of our Intranet. I quickly contacted the publisher and explained that there are many reasons why emails should not be published as news items.

The primary issue with this practice is that our email system runs on Microsoft Exchange. That means that all emails on desktops & notebooks require outlook to be running before they can be opened. That slows down access timed considerably for those in the office but for those in the field using VPN it frequently grinds to a halt.

The second reason is all the non essential texts contained in an email. Subject and date stamp details for a start, but there is also the addition of Email addresses for sender, receiver and all cced. This additional content is not aesthetically pleasing, not needed and not very secure.

Since this incident I have had to revisit our training and reference documentation and also the training provided for Intranet content managers. I never thought that I would have to not only provide details of what file types are suitable for publishing online but also what file types should not be used. Just proves that you never stop learning.

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