The modern intranet is now mission-critical for today’s digital workplace. Benefits such as improved internal communication and enhanced employee efficiency have seen an explosion in intranet adoption by companies worldwide.
If you are considering jumping on the bandwagon, this blog will help answer the why, what, and how questions to guide your selection. We look at corporate intranet solutions to suit organizations of all shapes, sizes, and sectors.
Why Do I Need A Modern Company Intranet?
The answer varies from company to company. However, it’s the first step in deciding whether or not to go ahead. And it will guide what kind of solution you choose and what features to activate.
Kick off by asking what problem you are trying to solve. For most companies, modern intranets are introduced in response to an issue, problem, or pain point. The essential starting point is understanding why an intranet platform is required. Otherwise, how will you know whether yours is a success.
Here are some of the top reasons we’ve heard from our customers, regardless of their size.
With a mix of remote, hybrid, and office-based staff, internal communications in the modern digital workplace is challenging. Keeping everyone up-to-date with the company mission through traditional channels like printed newsletters and town halls doesn’t cut it anymore.
If employee communications are a problem, an intranet solution is the way to go. Under one virtual roof are all the tools you need to power up your internal communications and promote a powerful company culture. Choose from instant messaging, interactive blogs, and media-rich newsfeeds. And encourage employees to use #channels, notifications, and alerts for more targeted comms that hit the mark.
Use your intranet portal to update, inform and engage with the entire organization, including remote and hybrid workers.
We Need To Improve Collaboration
Departments are often isolated, with only email chains connecting employees. And remote working has only made it worse. Team or departmental silos can be a problem with information going unshared.
Use your intranet site to develop a creative and collaborative environment that brings departments and locations together. Project or team spaces and document collaboration using embedded Google Workspace or Microsoft Office apps break down information silos. At the same time, in-built instant messaging tools, forums, and blogs create lively spaces for team collaboration.
File Storage And Sharing Is A Challenge
Do your people find it hard to locate company policies, data, and information? Many employees are buried under a mountain of paperwork or complicated email threads. Or perhaps your company has outgrown Dropbox and other file-sharing platforms.
Knowledge management is a problem in businesses of all sizes. Change is needed if employees struggle to locate information and data to do their jobs.
Company intranets simplify document and file storage, making sharing information internally and externally easier. Furthermore, with unlimited files and folders, a company intranet is fit for purpose no matter the organization’s size.
Our Employees Are Disengaged
Gallup reports that global employee engagement levels are low, and younger employees are the least engaged. The evidence is clear. Employee engagement significantly impacts team morale, productivity, recruitment, and retention. And engaged employees are less likely to take time off with absenteeism or a duvet day.
Turn that around with an intranet platform that connects workers, and engage employees professionally and personally. Use the software to connect other departments, keep employees in touch with management, build company culture, and give staff a channel for direct feedback.
Productivity Needs A Boost
Improving productivity is every organization’s goal. You may be too dependent on paper or email-based systems. Perhaps your processes are painfully and, more importantly, expensively slow.
Company intranet software automates admin tasks, including timesheets, vacation requests, approval forms, and sales and purchase orders. It’s a more streamlined process and eliminates the potential for information to get lost.
Moreover, intranet technology puts the tools employees need at their fingertips. Essential features include the company calendar, document management system, shared project workspace, and employee directories. The platform also allows easy access to third-party tools like Salesforce.
We Need Better Connection To Our Remote Workforce
With mobile devices driving digital transformation, employees need to be able to find information and tools fast. If you employ remote workers or staff are out delivering services or generating sales, a modern intranet is the solution you need. It helps you maintain connections, oversight, and internal communications with the entire workforce, whether in-office or on the go.
With the right intranet software, frontline workers can access company news, information, tools, and resources while out and about. They can also complete processes in the field, providing more responsive and enhanced customer service.
What Type Of New Company Intranet Do I Need?
So, now you’ve identified a business case for a corporate intranet and the issues you want to address. The next step is to decide what type of company intranet you need to achieve your goals.
When it comes to a modern intranet, what options are available? There are two primary choices:
- on-premise bespoke platform built on-site
- cloud-based company intranet.
On the face of it, this is a good option. You end up with an intranet site that perfectly matches your requirements.
However, the truth is that developing a modern intranet from scratch is not for the faint-hearted. It involves downloading software such as SharePoint or WordPress and creating your own intranet platform hosted on the company server. It also involves having the technical know-how and the ability to navigate through the software.
Furthermore, the software hasn’t always been developed to create intranet platforms. WordPress, for example, is more often used as a web creation or blogging tool. Many businesses have discovered that add-ons and plug-ins are required to get the functionality they need.
And once you have managed to find your way through the software, you need to test the company intranet. You want confirmation it does what you require and meets the needs of intranet users.
The bottom line is you’re looking at a process that takes several months and a considerable investment of time and resources.
And don’t forget the ongoing costs associated with hosting a company intranet on your server and the space needed to house it.
Cloud-Hosted Company Intranet Software
While an on-site company intranet has benefits, cloud-based ones are perfect if you want immediate implementation with minimal fuss.
A cloud-hosted company intranet is quick and easy to setup, fully customizable, and affordable. And that’s a major benefit for any organization. They require no change to your on-site infrastructure and are perfect for small businesses without IT staff.
What’s more, your company intranet comes thoroughly tested and piloted. You can be confident that the software is fully functional and reflects the latest intranet best practices.
In addition, the cloud SaaS provider takes care of all updates, backups, and ongoing security. The provider is also responsible for server management and maintenance, making it a more straightforward option for many businesses.
Company Intranet, Extranet, Or Portal: What’s The Difference?
You may have also heard about extranets and portals in the context of company intranets. So let’s clear up any confusion.
An intranet is an internal website. It’s accessible only to employees and contains various internal communication tools, features, and services to support staff in their daily work.
By contrast, extranets provide limited access to the network for selected external partners. It could be customers, suppliers, or clients.
If your business shares information with clients and customers – perhaps you’re a graphic design company or a firm of accountants – extranets streamline communication and simplify collaboration.
A portal is a gateway that allows your company intranet or extranet to interact with enterprise systems and apps. These often include existing systems like CRM software or HR apps. Employees only need one login to access all the tools required for their work.
What About Intranet Content?
There are plenty of things to consider when it comes to intranet content, features, and tools. Here are some of the critical considerations.
Data scandals happen all too often. Confidence in the security and integrity of company information or personal data is more vital than ever.
With a modern intranet platform, you have peace of mind. The latest web standard security measures protect your data. The SaaS provider is responsible for all security, from firewalls to data encryption and SSL technology.
This saves you from one major headache. And it frees you up to get on with important stuff. This could be crucial if you’re more interested in fishing than phishing.
Internal security threats are just as big an issue as external ones. And security is often a concern when companies look at cloud-based solutions.
A good company intranet allows you to set user permission rights by job roles, teams, or departments. In this way, you limit access to intranet pages so that staff can only view information relevant to their job.
You want your company intranet to improve productivity, right? Search functionality and overall site navigation are top of the list of features to get right.
Drive intranet adoption and employee satisfaction with a site that’s easy to get around. And have an advanced search to improve information discovery.
Social Intranet Or Not?
A social intranet will be hugely popular and will play a significant role in improving employee engagement. Team chat, activity walls, employee directory, #channels, follow-me, and other tools ensure employees interact, building a strong company culture.
Your organization’s needs and workers’ preferences will determine the social intranet features needed to enhance the employee experience.
Cloud-based solutions are completely customizable. However, companies opting for a bespoke company intranet will need to design a user-friendly one. Thankfully, SaaS solutions use pre-tested business templates that allow you to develop unique intranet pages.
Furthermore, every organization expands and evolves over time. Needs change. Files grow. Users adapt. Make sure you select a solution that allows even a tech novice to add pages and modules. Software that is unengaging and hard to find your way around is counter-productive. It often results in decreased output and poor user engagement.
Before reading on, watch the short video below about MyHub’s intranet platforms – and how they might be the perfect solution for your company.
Check out our comprehensive Intranet Design Guide for detailed guidance. You’ll find plenty of intranet examples to spark your thinking. Here’s a quick summary of the latest best practices to get you started.
As the gateway to your entire site, the intranet homepage is crucial. It needs to pack a punch, encouraging employees to dive straight in.
Give it visual appeal with lots of color, bright images, graphics, or videos. Make sure you include links to the most popular tools, such as the employee recognition program, internal job board, employee directory, and employee communication apps. And new employees will appreciate information on company values and company culture.
However, try not to overdo it. A simple, uncluttered design works best. Rather than cramming in every possible feature, you want workers to find what they need quickly. That said, ensure the search function is visible on every intranet page.
And for more intranet examples, you can check out this real-world selection from MyHub customers. From homepages to workflows, forums, and chat, we have an intranet example relevant to every digital workplace.
How Do I Start My Intranet Project?
Getting stuck into the ‘how do I begin’ part can be overwhelming. However, we make that task a bit easier with a handy checklist. An intranet strategy will help you plan and prepare for a successful implementation. Here’s what you need to consider.
What Are The Costs?
While cloud-based solutions are affordable for small businesses, cost structures vary. Talk to possible vendors about how their fees are structured. Is there a per-user, monthly or one-time cost? Some providers include technical support and customization features, while others don’t. Be clear about the charges from the start to avoid any nasty surprises down the line.
Likewise, if you go down the do-it-yourself route, ensure you do a thorough cost analysis. That includes add-ons and plug-ins, external resources, server maintenance, and security.
Determine The Possible ROI
Think about how a company intranet will positively impact your bottom line. These will be the vital success measures for your intranet website.
Forbes recently highlighted the positive benefits of engaged employees. Employee engagement improves the customer experience. And it encourages innovation and creativity in the workforce. Furthermore, it improves productivity by 17 percent and customer ratings by ten percent. Crucially, in the context of the Great Resignation, it helps your recruitment and retention.
So, the company intranet’s ROI is considerable from enhanced employee engagement alone. However, don’t forget to add in savings on distribution, paper costs, employee retention, and streamlined business processes.
Take A Test Drive
The best way to find out if the company intranet solution is a good match for you is to test it out. Many vendors of cloud-based solutions offer free trial periods or demos. This is a real opportunity to get your hands dirty and check out whether it’s what you’re looking for. So, take advantage and test the product and individual features.
Why not select a representative sample of employees to pilot the product and provide feedback before rolling it out to the entire company? Doing so gives you confidence that the intranet website will engage employees and meet your needs.
There are many things to consider and information to take on board when selecting intranet software. Let’s summarize the issues from the perspective of small and larger businesses.
Businesses with small numbers of employees need an easy-to-setup solution that’s also straightforward to manage. With fewer personnel and no internal IT resource to fall back on, the small company intranet should be simple to deploy. That way, the benefits are maximized from the outset. The provider should be willing to offer help and advice with any implementation or operational issues if needed.
A cost-effective company intranet is also a priority for small businesses. When resources are tight, cost certainty around monthly budgets is essential.
Moreover, small companies often employ freelance staff or contractors and are likely to have workers on the road drumming up new business. In today’s digital workplace, a platform that provides remote access and ensures connectivity for employees, whatever their location, is a must-have.
So, what’s the best option for small businesses? A SaaS, cloud-based corporate intranet ticks all the boxes, including the following priority areas:
Simple To Setup
Pre-built templates make for a straightforward setup. A simple five-step site builder process ensures the modern intranet is up and running in no time without any great technical know-how. It’s so easy that pretty much anyone, including the office technophobe, can do the job.
Another significant advantage is that the modern intranet doesn’t require extensive piloting or testing. The provider has already covered that when developing the software. Instead, you can dive straight in from day one.
Easy To Manage
An intranet that is super easy to manage is another priority for time- and resource-limited small businesses. And once again, the SaaS cloud option comes out on top with its intuitive administration tools.
Whether managing users, setting access rights, content creation, or editing existing intranet pages, it’s all straightforward. And it frees up staff to get on with other business-critical tasks.
Set Monthly Fee With Unlimited Data And Users
Transparency around costs is vital to small businesses. And that’s exactly what you get with a SaaS provider.
There’s no chance of unexpected costs as the competitive charges are clear from the outset. Budgeting and managing cash flow then become so much easier for small businesses.
Furthermore, the SaaS company intranet is capable of growing alongside your business. With unlimited data and users already built in, your platform is future-proofed, leaving plenty of scope for growth.
Mobile Optimized For Remote Access
The foundation of many small businesses is a workforce of freelancers, contractors, or remote workers. The SaaS company intranet will help frontline workers with internal communication, project management, and collaboration under one virtual roof.
Optimized for smaller mobile screens and with all the functionality of the full site, workers are productive and connected no matter the location.
Full Support Service
It’s reassuring for small companies to know that help and expertise are readily available. With comprehensive FAQs, explainer videos, and detailed guides, SaaS providers offer a helping hand at every step.
Corporate Intranet For Larger Companies: Issues To Consider
For larger companies, the driving force is usually an organizational pain point or problem that needs to be addressed.
Bigger companies may well have the internal IT resources and budget to develop an intranet website from scratch. However, that takes time – usually several months at best. In the meantime, the pain point will continue to fester. Not many businesses can afford to wait that long before implementing a solution.
With a SaaS cloud option, all the hard work has already been done. The functionality is tried and tested. And the tools and features you need are already there, just waiting for your customization and unique stamp.
Furthermore, larger companies are just as keen on cost-effective, easy-to-deploy, and manage solutions.
A SaaS company intranet satisfies all your needs.
SaaS Cloud Intranet Solution
Whether you are a large or small organization, building an intranet is only the start. You need to review and analyze your company’s needs regularly so the platform evolves alongside.
Choose a partner that’s in it for the long haul. Your vendor should be available to support you as your operation grows.
Selecting the best company intranet for your digital workplace is daunting, regardless of the size of your business. However, with a software partner like MyHub, you’ll achieve your goals in no time.