I kind of like status update boards as a concept for an Intranet much more than a “portal” or “brochure website”. For example customer I have been working recently has intranet that is default starting page on the corporate machines. On this particular “static” website by far the most popular page on that Intranet is lunch menu, then on distant followers pages like password for guest WIFI etc…
Another customer I have uses SharePoint as Intranet. This portal is maintained by corporate communication with standard marketing jargon. Neither of these Intranets gives employees any way to interact except perhaps a comment field in the news. I have never really been big fan of Intranet sites. Even though back in 2001-2003 I was building Intranet / KM product. My disbelieve for Intranets is mostly because they simply don’t seem to work as intended. I think where Intranets go wrong is when they start to listen requirements from all stakeholders. Then they end up something that is completely unusable Microsoft Sharepoint solution. Just because “Intranet of course has to have granular rights and it should be configurable in the browser”.
But I do think Intranets could work if Intranet would be thought as flat organization instead of rigid departments and groups. Don’t get me wrong, I think security should be there but why not having it like a social network. One service that I am looking forward to test it is Facebook at Work.
This “facebook wall” where people could post whatever they want it would make the site more alive and certainly more relevant. Perhaps by default employee is subscribed to all departments but on time s/he could filter her feed list with only things that she thinks is interesting to her personally and professionally.
There are few other functionalities in Intranets that are must have features like a file share and knowledge base. With knowledge base I mean what HR writes like guides etc. that is occationaly visited. Often this is regarded as wiki or simple pages. Then there is also file share that is a place to share docs. Usually, these are made way too complicated (I am thinking you Sharepoint!) because that is what is “requirement” but really it does not need to be like that?