How an Intranet Can Make Your Organisation Stronger
An intranet keeps members of an organisation informed. What they need to be informed about is up to them – and that’s the beauty of an intranet. A well-designed intranet makes members of an organisation self-sufficient by giving them access to data that helps them do their jobs better.
But an intranet is more than just a place where people read company announcements. It’s also a knowledge hub, where people find tools and best practices, learn, find people, explore new ideas and form new relationships.
In this post we’ll look at the advantages an intranet brings, and how to keep it dynamic over time. But first, let’s talk about what should an intranet have.
What should an intranet have?
Intranet has come a long way from its early days of simple HTML pages with announcements. Today, it is part of a broader social networking system. A common mistake made when starting with intranet is to want it to do everything and lose sight of what is important for your organisation. So it’s important when starting out to define what you need the intranet to do. For example:
- I want to find latest news and events within the organisation;
- I want a place to easily locate policies, procedures, forms and templates relevant to me;
- I want to be able to perform searches across all information sources, both inside and outside the intranet;
- I want to be able to collaborate with my team to work on projects and activities;
- I want to be able to submit and discuss ideas and innovations;
- I want to be able to share information and be notified, like on Facebook.
The list above requires many different technological concepts to deliver the intranet capabilities desired. It includes web content management, search engines, collaboration networks, document management and enterprise social networking.
Depending on your users and budget, it could make sense to leave out collaboration and enterprise social networking in the first stage of roll out.
Good command of the technological concepts is needed to plan, design, build/configure, roll out, training, and for governance.
Lack of experience could make your implementation a costly learning exercise. Expert consultation from the early planning stage will save time and money.
How an intranet can benefit your business
The intranet should ultimately be adding value to the business, just like everything else a business does. If the value to business is not measurable, we should ask ourselves why we are doing it.
Below are key metric areas that can be used to measure an intranet’s business value.
Savings. How much time have we saved? Time saved on waiting for other people to provide information. Time saved in searching for information.
Efficiency. Is more new business generated from being proactive and quick to respond? An intranet should eliminate or minimise risks, because response times are faster and staff can be more proactive. Users can collect and report on data and improve processes more easily.
Knowledge retention. The intranet should store knowledge that is independent of people or teams, knowledge that stays with the organisation when people move on. Opportunities are created by having this knowledge available to everyone.
Innovation. People will have more time to explore innovative ideas, thanks to the time savings an intranet delivers. Opportunities are created by innovative thinking.
Reinvigorating your organisation via intranet
An intranet links members within an organisation; often it’s the browser default homepage, seen by everyone when they log in to the net. Although seen by everyone, content is produced by a team, often from HR, Marketing, or Corporate Communications.
If the intranet is to be a way for people to find out about their organisation, it must be representative of the real-life problems an organisation faces, as well as its achievements.
You need regular feedback on the intranet, especially at the start. Is it making a difference to employees’ lives? Is its style too formal? Too casual? Is it addressing issues or candy-coating them?
Intranets take us beyond email newsletters
A company may store its media kit online in the intranet, its HR policies and frequently used document templates. No one should be using an out of date letterhead when they have access to the intranet.
Multiple employees can access the same digital reference databases through the intranet, as well as exchanging internal emails and messaging.
Meeting times can be reduced with the intranet since issues can be resolved in an intranet discussion group. Successful project workflows can be recorded to be used again for future projects.
Then there’s the social side of things: birthdays, barbecues and lunchtime soccer fixtures can be added to the intranet.
Sustaining interest in the intranet
To sustain interest in the intranet, senior management have to buy in. It must be regarded as a touchstone for the company’s policies, projects and reference data.
Encourage senior management to communicate announcements through the intranet so that it becomes ‘required reading’ for all staff.
Employees stop using an intranet if it’s hard to use or when data and information are out of date. If it doesn’t help staff do their jobs, they will revert to the old ways of working.
To highlight the intranet’s possibilities, ask staff to work through a model project. Have someone well-versed in the system to guide them through, ensuring that they use all the features from the start: calendars, chat, document searches, group discussions.
Taking the first step to your intranet
Perhaps this has inspired you to search out the possibilities of an intranet for your business, one tailored to suit your industry or profession. If so, the norbrik Intranet Package comes with pre-developed components for cost and time savings.
Based on the new, improved SharePoint platform, the norbrik template can incorporate your branding and comes with knowledge transfer and user guides. A built-in Calendar flags key company events and project deadlines.
norbrik’s Intranet Package is the most elegant way to coordinate your staff and, most importantly, keep them informed. After all, the key to good business decisions is communication.