Do you or your employees find yourselves avoiding your company’s “intranet” solution? Is your intranet solution just e-mail, a file store, a wiki, and an instant messaging tool? Do you not even know what your intranet solution is? These may all be signs that your intranet may be in need of an update. But don’t worry, admittance there’s a problem is the first step towards fixing it!
In this post, I’ll highlight some of the areas of legacy intranets that impede communication and collaboration and give some thoughts around how a modern intranet rectifies them and supports your company’s truly digital and connected workplace. See if you can identify with any of the experiences mentioned below.
- Outdated design and poor user experience – Users expect something as easy-to-use as an iPhone or as familiar as Facebook. Anything less leads to disuse.
- Modern intranets are designed using a human-centered design approach, putting the end user and her needs ahead of “strictly business” functional requirements. This ensures those functionalities are actually useful (maybe they are not) and obvious to users.
- Complex navigation and content structure – If it takes users too many clicks to get to useful content or if the content itself is organized in a confusing manner, this will lead to sad faces.
- Modern intranets organize content in a clear and simple manner (in case you are wondering, how content is organized is known as an information architecture), meaning that related pieces of content are grouped together logically and nothing is buried too far down into a deep dark place where nobody can find it. (We’ll go into more detail about building a clean information architecture in a future post)
- Information is difficult to find – Whether this is due to poor organization (see previous point) or poor search, if users can’t find what they are looking for… well I think you know what happens.
- Modern intranets utilize powerful search, taking advantage of a clean content structure to surface useful information quickly and at the right time, allowing users to find what they are looking for on the first try.
- Limited collaboration capabilities – Let’s face it: we are social creatures. Traditional intranet solutions provide almost no capabilities for users to connect and work together seamlessly. Furthermore, only about 15 percent of e-mails contain useful content, so maybe it’s time to open communication and embrace a social digital workplace.
- Modern intranets support social collaboration (via Facebook-style newsfeeds) which results in benefits such as direct communication among all levels of the corporate hierarchy (yes, you can talk directly to the CEO) and engagement with users of various cultures across the globe, leading to better decision making.
- Diverse and scattered intranet landscape – Having a lackluster intranet can lead individual teams or departments to create their own solutions. While this may be good for that group, it leads to fragmentation across the company and less engagement and collaboration, since many of these rogue solutions are essentially inaccessible “islands” that stand on their own and are only useful to one team.
- Modern intranets are centralized yet extensible enough to support various ways of working throughout your company. They also allow for better governance and improved collaboration since everyone is on the same platform (see the benefits of this in the previous point)
- Mobile support – Employees are more and more mobile, and time is ever-increasing in value. Unfortunately, traditional intranets are typically not made for easy use on a smartphone, nor are they even easily accessible (usually blocked behind firewalls or other complex IT barriers).
- Modern intranets not only reformat content to display on different screen sizes for easy readability, but also make it easy for IT to permit access to select content based on any security policies that may be in place. This really results in the perfect marriage of security and convenience.
If you were nodding your head on a few or more of these, you may be losing out on many of the benefits of improved communication and collaboration within your company that a modern intranet can provide.
But don’t worry! We know it may be overwhelming to figure out where or how to start, which is why we are here to help. We’ve done this for many other customers and would be happy to set up a free consulting session to help you take the first steps and understand your challenges. Get in touch with us, or see how we work and what makes us different.