This article is the second in a two-part discussion on key company intranet features. Whether you are thinking about introducing a company intranet or are revamping an existing one, you will want to make sure that these essential features are included. In the first part of this discussion we looked at the following company intranet features:
- Cloud intranet
- Easy to set up
- Easy to manage
- Customizable pages
- Modules and business pages
- Custom business forms
We looked at each one of these features in detail and identified their importance in relation to improving your organization’s bottom line. In this second part, we will examine the following indispensable company intranet features:
- Simple user management
- Company and team news
- Advanced security
- File and document storage
- Social intranet
Simple User Management
A streamlined user management process that is straightforward and easy to implement is a must. Cloud-based intranets, such as MyHub’s, offer bulk user management tools that enable you to add, delete or disable users in just a few easy steps. There’s no need for a memo to the IT department to set the user up on the system nor the interminable wait while IT gets round to it! Instead, you’ll be able to do it yourself.
Off-the-shelf packages such as SharePoint often have a convoluted process for user management making it much more time consuming and difficult to navigate. What tends to happen in this situation is that the intranet administrator keeps putting it off, often resulting in significant delay in users being deleted in particular, which could compromise the security of important corporate information.
Company And Team News
One of the main benefits of a company intranet is improved communication across the organization. Company and team news features will be an important means to this end. An office intranet provides the opportunity for online newsletters, news pages, and blogs, or news feeds. These can all be customized by team function, geographic location or by similar job positions – whatever makes sense to your business.
Communication is one of the key drivers of employee engagement and so creating opportunities for increased communication via the intranet will have a positive knock-on effect on your employees. This will be felt even more so if you also give staff the opportunity to interact with and comment on the news items.
In addition, company intranet news feeds and newsletters will help to reduce the number of emails flying around the office which is another added bonus.
Ensuring security and data confidentiality is an essential element of any company intranet. There are two aspects to this. The first is that you will want to ensure that the right staff are accessing the right information. Ben in the Distribution Department does not need to access sensitive company pricing information. Similarly, Jenny in Marketing should not be able to view employees’ personnel files. Access to intranet content and pages can be controlled via permission rights with user names and passwords. These can be set by team function or job position – whatever is appropriate for your business.
The second aspect is that you will want to ensure that company information and data is safeguarded against hacking or interception and that your network is protected against computer viruses. The advantage of a cloud-based intranet is that these concerns are the responsibility of the hosting company. You will not have to worry about firewalls or securing your intranet servers. A hosted online intranet is subject to multiple layers of embedded security as well as a two-way SSL encrypted connection, automatic backups, and automated updates.
With an intranet hosted on a company network, all ongoing security and encryption issues, as well as backups and updates, will be your responsibility entirely. This may be a feasible option for larger companies with dedicated IT resources, but for small to medium sized enterprises, this could be a daunting prospect.
File And Document Storage
Most organizations find that their company intranet quickly becomes an indispensable tool for file and document storage. An online intranet provides for bulk uploading and downloading of documents, an unlimited number of files and folders and the ability to share documents internally and externally. This means that staff will be up able to access and download the most up-to-date versions of documents in an instant. This is a huge advantage over other document management tools such as Dropbox or Google Drive where uploading and downloading can waste precious time. In addition, these platforms are weak on search capabilities which means that staff can struggle to locate the right information.
The online intranet’s user-friendly customer interface coupled with advanced search options means that staff will be up and running very quickly and will easily be able to locate the information they require.
The opportunity for staff to work together on projects or tasks in a virtual project team is another important feature for a company intranet. Overcoming differences in location or time, the company intranet can enable employees to collaborate through team and company forums.
Whether it be to brainstorm ideas for a new company product or to collaborate on producing an employee wellbeing strategy, the online intranet will help to reduce the need to email updates and ideas across the organization. Team members will simply log into one central intranet location and can make their feedback or comments, share files, store conversations, and reference relevant data thereby promoting connectedness and efficiency.
Increasing the opportunities for collaboration across the organization is another key driver of employee engagement and will have a welcome effect in that area too.
Humans are essentially social beings. Enabling interaction between staff to share ideas, work together and give constructive feedback will improve productivity and also increase levels of employee engagement and well-being. User profiles, biographies, notifications and messaging are all company intranet features that will appeal to employees’ inherent social nature. Sharing knowledge and best practice on a social intranet will increase its value as more people access it and more importantly act on it. You will see a return on investment through these improved staff connections and relationships alone. And it is online platforms that offer the best social intranet applications and functionality.
Fit For Purpose
Introducing a company intranet is one of the most important business decisions you will make. Including the key company intranet features that we have identified in the specification for your intranet will ensure that it is fit for purpose from the outset.
The team at MyHub can help you implement the best company intranet for your business. Contact us today for a consultation.