Planning Your Intranet

What is it that you want your intranet to achieve?
The ideas below will get you thinking about
the aims and objectives of your intranet.

Planning Your Intranet

When planning your intranet, it’s important to think about the big picture. What is it that you want your intranet to achieve? Setting clear business objectives from the outset will ensure your intranet delivers what you need. The ideas below will get you thinking about the aims and objectives for your company intranet, let’s get started.

Identify The Intranet’s Purpose

If you are considering implementing a company intranet, you have probably already started thinking about objectives. Identifying how the intranet will enhance your business is the critical first step.

intranet design remote workingMost often, intranets are deployed in response to a range of organizational problems or issues.

  • So, what do you want your intranet to achieve?
  • And what organizational goals or pain points are you seeking to resolve with an intranet?

One way to find out what the issues are is to ask staff. Your employees are best placed to help you identify all the areas that your intranet needs to address.

Ask Your Employees

Staff surveys are an effective way to find out what’s important to your employees. Depending on the time and resources available, you can opt for a short pulse survey or a longer opinion-style questionnaire.

However, best practice suggests short surveys that take 5 minutes or less to complete are the best option.

The survey’s aim is to get a broad sense of workers’ priorities. Focus your questions on identifying time-consuming tasks and work processes, or organizational bottlenecks.

To make the task of analyzing the results easier, include closed questions or ones that use scales. On a scale of 1-5 type questions mean you can measure the strength of opinion, which can be crucial.

For honest, truthful responses, make sure workers are able to complete the survey anonymously. However, do collect data based on job roles and teams. That way you can quickly identify any common departmental or role-based issues. Keep open questions with free comments to a minimum as they can be a nightmare to analyze.

And if your survey throws up some issues that need clarification, then think about holding a staff focus group. These sessions with small representative groups of workers allow you to dig deeper into any issues. And cross-departmental representation ensures you get a 360-degree picture of the employee experience in your company. Focus groups are particularly useful if the survey identifies a team-wide problem.

For more guidance on how to set up an employee survey, check out our blog here.

Ask Your Stakeholders

Another way to identify the business objectives for your intranet is to involve stakeholders. If you are considering a portal or extranet option, then this step is essential.

information silosLook to set up interviews with a range of stakeholders. Use these to discuss information-sharing needs and how systems could be improved. Find out if there are any roadblocks that an intranet could eliminate. And discover whether there are any processes that could be automated on the intranet.

In our experience, many organizations face similar issues. And so when it comes to implementing an intranet, there are often common objectives.

The potential pain points we identify below will get you thinking about your intranet’s aims and objectives.

What Problems Will The Intranet Solve?

Once the intranet is up and running, businesses often report a number of positive spinoffs in several business areas. These include:

Internal Communications

Improving internal communications is the top priority for many organizations.

It’s essential to keep everyone up to speed on company news, project updates, and the latest industry developments.

With more employees than ever working remotely, businesses need to find new ways to open a dialog with the workforce. And when working in distributed teams, staff need to be able to communicate with each other in real-time.

Internal communications may be a perennial issue, but the intranet makes it a smoother, more engaging process for your employees.

Intranet news feeds, blogs, and company calendars are perfect tools to promote two-way conversations with workers. An intranet means that all news and updates are kept in one central location. And so, there is only one source of truth in the organization.

Internal CommunicationsPlus, the intranet will reduce your dependency on email as the primary means of communication. Instead, staff can use instant messaging to connect in real-time. The intranet’s team chat tool ensures employees are connected no matter the location. In fact, team chat is an excellent tool for quickly resolving queries and supports faster decision-making. 

And in the absence of the office water cooler, team chat is the perfect platform for those all-important casual conversations. For many staff working from home, social isolation can be a real problem. Team chat provides an outlet for staff to also connect on an informal basis.

Organizational Knowledge Management

Research tells us that the average employee spends a third of their day looking for information. And all that time wasted results in delayed projects, missed opportunities, plus a significant hit to productivity.

And it also leads to a frustrated and disengaged workforce, which in turn impacts staff retention rates.

The motivation for an intranet is often the need to capture and make available organizational know-how in an easy-to-find, online system.

The need could be an internal one so that your staff can readily locate critical company information. Or, it could be an external one – a place for your customers and partners to share data and knowledge with you.

Universal staff access makes the intranet your go-to knowledge management system. The intranet is a central hub for employees to work together, share files, communicate, source information, and get stuff done.

Organized in an intuitive, user-friendly interface, your workers and customers can easily create, manage, and distribute organizational knowledge.

An intranet means your business will no longer be waving goodbye to internal knowledge every time an employee leaves the organization. Instead, the intranet’s knowledge management system ensures all the accumulated knowledge and know-how remains accessible, giving you that competitive edge.

Team Collaboration

Teamwork and collaboration are at the heart of today’s winning organizations. After all, when it comes to solving a problem or finding a solution, two heads are better than one, right?

And yet for many businesses, information silos are a real problem. All of us have experienced it at one time or another. It’s that colleague in another team who is unable or unwilling to share information that would benefit other parts of the business. Duplication of effort, missed opportunities and an inability to react quickly are just some of the consequences.

So, if your goal is to support innovative thinking, foster creativity, and break down information silos, then an intranet is the answer.

The intranet has a range of tools designed to bring workers together in a shared culture of collaboration and joint working.

Project spaces allow staff to collaborate in access-restricted, private areas. Team members can exchange ideas and share information. And they can collaborate in real-time on files and documents using an embedded G Suite or Office 365 app.

Social intranet features are another great facilitator of inter-team collaboration. Follow-me functionality, site or team activity walls, notifications, and #channels on the team chat ensure staff connect, share, and engage. 

All that intranet-supported brainstorming, bouncing of ideas, and sharing of insights could well lead to that eureka moment. Breakthrough thinking and more agile business operations are often the result.

You’ll soon discover that the intranet makes solving problems and coming up with new ideas a whole lot easier. And the good news is it’s more rewarding and fun for your team members.

Increased Productivity And Reduced Organizational Costs

Besides staff spending less time sourcing information and documents, companies often report an intranet generates savings in printing and distribution costs.

Paper files are a thing of the past as the intranet becomes the repository for all company-wide knowledge.

Furthermore, the intranet will enhance your green credentials with increasingly environmentally aware customers.

The intranet’s digital solution is more eco-friendly. You will cut down on paper costs and reduce the time employees spend on locating data. Furthermore, digital storage systems don’t take up valuable physical space in the office, so it’s a win-win all round.

In another boost to productivity, many companies have automated their business processes on the intranet. Instead of paper forms, employees use online workflows. It might be applying for a vacation, ordering new supplies, or completing an annual performance review.

The intranet’s automated approval processes are faster and also more accurate. Forms are automatically routed to the manager for approval. Consequently, there is less chance of forms getting lost or information going astray.

And the manager doesn’t have to be in the office to complete the approvals process. The intranet means they can log on anytime, anywhere, and anyplace. It could be while working remotely, on their daily train commute, or while out of state at a conference.

Remote Working And Distributed Teams

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated what was already a growing trend.

The number of employees regularly working from home has grown 173 percent since 2005. And since the outbreak of Covid, Gallup reports up to 62 percent of US workers are working from home.

And all the evidence suggests that employees have enjoyed working from home. A survey from PwC discovered that 72 percent of office workers want to continue working from home at least two days a week.

Remote working is here to stay, and many commentators predict the future workplace is likely to be hybrid. A better work-life balance and less time spent commuting are big driving forces for employees. Meanwhile, employers have learned that staff can be productive even when working remotely. It seems likely distributed teams will be the next normal. Some staff will be working in the office, while others work from home.

These developments have meant companies are re-thinking their approach to the digital workplace. And a company intranet ticks several boxes all at once:

  • Connecting home and office-working staff in real-time
  • Supporting collaboration and joint working
  • Increasing efficiency and productivity with automated processes
  • Providing easy access to company knowledge
  • Offering gateway access to all the company’s enterprise systems, including CRM and HR software apps
  • Improving the all-round employee experience.

And in the context of remote working, an intranet decreases your reliance on technical staff. The software is easy to use and easy to manage. This means workers can hit the ground running and are less likely to need help from the technical team to resolve queries. 

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