Digital workplace is both an essential goal and a crucial strategy for engaging and supporting employees as companies transform into digital businesses. The demand for high performance teams is a crucial factor playing into today’s workplace dynamics.
This development is influencing changes in how employees engage with each other, including their use of communications and collaboration tools in both physical and virtual workplaces.
According to Forrester, 73% of workers regularly turn to corporate intranets for accessing the information they need at work. Despite intranets being the gateway of information and collaboration, they still are expensive endeavors. Making the best use of the investment made and driving adoption is the key to any intranet success.
Intranets are widely valued for:
- Streamlining business procedures and driving operational efficiencies.
- Reducing expenses of internal business functions.
- Enhancing communications and collaboration between employees, managers, suppliers and partners.
As with any basic business system, an intranet must deliver measurable performance and remain responsible to the investment. With time, intranets tend to lose relevancy and the content appears stale and isolated. There is constant need for the intranets to be modernized and upgraded with new features.
Whether you are planning to upgrade your old intranet or implementing a new intranet solution, here are important features to should look for:
10 key features of a modern Intranet:
1) Timely & Relevant Content Provision Capabilities
Early intranets were largely measured on their information uptake. But for modern intranets, time and relevancy matters the most – an intranet can not be an information dumping yard. Relevant and duly updated content is instrumental in aiding business functions.
Hence, every information pertaining to the current dynamics of an organization should be kept current in the intranet portal. Using smart tools like content manager, updating and publishing relevant content is made easy.
Following best practices and getting constant feedback from employees can further ensure that the content being uploaded is valuable and relevant.
2) People & Culture Centric
Being a central repository, intranets have become the cultural communication hub transmitting company culture. Putting people and culture at the heart of an intranet can increase intranet adoption rates.
Here are some of the features to be considered for your intranet:
- Push notifications to its users about important and relevant updates, news, announcements.
- Highlighting people engagement and add theme to reflect organization.
- Channel to update rewards, recognitions, work anniversaries and birthday wishes.
- Ways to connect people, and to ‘Know your Team’ & enhance people search.
3) Engaging Mobile Experience
Today’s mobile-driven culture which has brought simplicity and ease of intranet accessibility to employees. Implementing responsive design enables efficient intranet access on smartphones and various other devices, resulting in a consistently great user experience.
With the mobile intranet, employees can log-in from anywhere, which results in more timely action. It gives employees a more convenient way to consume information and interact effectively.
With the increasing popularity of social media, organizations are also slowly getting influenced with social sharing and networking inside the digital workplace. Using well-designed intranets with different widgets including social features like post, share, like, etc., employees can interface with individuals and engage with the right content. Employees can create groups and exchange information at no additional cost.
Posting messages through forums, tagging content, sharing ideas and working on projects through discussion groups are just some of the common ways in which a social intranet can aid communication and function within an organization.
Integrating enterprise social network like Yammer surfaces on intranet via embedded feeds, likes, and comments on articles and all personal stories like birthdays, anniversaries etc., can give extra mileage to your intranet adoption.
5) Personalization and ease of access
Poor user experience is the most common reason behind the failure of intranet adoption. Increase user experience by tailoring content to user needs and communicate in a more personal way. Personalize content according to the administration or location, job role, type, specific personal or professional interests, or even how active they are on social media sites. Making your employees engage based on a personal connect boosts overall adoption and reinforces organizational culture.
Previously, content managers often had to rely on IT departments to get relevant posts updated on intranet. Using features like workbench or CMS instead will give them an instant capability to make changes to the existing content and add new ones in a quick span.
6) Findability & Search
Information discovery is a kingpin of daily business processes. If your social intranet software doesn’t have a powerful search, your employees will be wasting precious time in searching content.
Enlisting the support of a powerful search engine with segmented results by type can help people search faster. Adding relevant items can drive people to navigate better towards what they are looking for. Proper segregation of content and improved navigation will make intranets easy to use and make information discovery as simple as possible.
The search feature helps employees pull information related to content or people by searching through specific keywords or phrases, categories, filtering the tagged content, etc. Enterprise search maximizes productivity.
A well-designed search feature also enables employees to find items stored on the intranet even when they don’t know exactly what they are looking for. The search feature can also prompt suggested content that is relevant to each individual and draw a user’s attention to recent updates.
7) Move to Cloud
Due to compliance issues, company policy, and various other reasons, organizations choose on-premise intranet. They set up intranet on their own server and design according to their interests. It requires slightly more work for organizations to manage and maintain the server and intranet.
Gartner says ‘If you’re a Microsoft shop, you will be moving to Office 365 in the future. The questions to ask are, Which Parts? When? In what Orders?’
Moving to Cloud has so many advantages like:
- Cost Savings
- Cloud-only Capabilities
- Utilizing AI features like NLU/NLP & Machine Learning
Data is stored in the distributed cloud server and large data centers owned by key players in the industry like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, or Rackspace.These servers are managed and maintained with all the latest security features by the providers.
Intranet can be accessed from any location simply by just entering the URL on any modern browser without making any changes to the intranet site.
8) Stunning Design & UX
The visual framework of your organization intranet is one of the most important focus points, it can dramatically affect the user experience.
How your organization’s intranet is organized will directly impact how your employees use it.
Your intranet’s UI must be as streamlined as possible to improve its performance. On a basic level, a UI can be defined as the parts of your intranet that identify with its functionality like buttons, drop-down menus, general design, and layouts. A well designed UX will increase productivity and motivate employees to use the intranet with greater enthusiasm.
9) Analyze and Improve
Measuring activities of users across the intranet and analyzing and drafting reports, can give you insights into what aspects of the intranet your employees are engaging with more. With this detail, you can focus and improve on the right areas.
Here are some useful insights of SharePoint intranet:
- One solution to measure analytics across all SharePoint sites.
- Measure adoption of intranet and extranet sites.
- Identify most and least popular sites within SharePoint.
- Identify document generation & usage trends.
- Identify most active users and departments.
- Analyze search effectiveness and improve results.
- Improve information architecture of sites.
With Seek, you can get detailed reports on usage, site and page popularity, most downloaded documents, most active users, search keyword analysis and more. You will own all the analytics data on Microsoft Azure.
10) AI & Bots
The intranet is all about finding content that people need in order to execute work quickly and efficiently. Combing through ever growing knowledge libraries, to find correct and relevant information seems to be a tough task for any employee.
Integrating chatbots into your intranet can quickly help extract the relevant information using the power of a conversational user interface. Chabots extract information from the intranet and present it directly on the chosen enterprise messaging app.
The conversational UI of a chatbot helps employees get access to the information within the same messaging channel and help take further actions easily.
Chatbot can find answers to user questions by searching the entire Knowledge Base, Intranet, CRM, ERP etc. They help increase employee engagement in terms of, utilizing the intranet more often and subsequently boosting adoption rates.
Here are some ways chatbot can revolutionize intranet
- The Power of “Push” and “Pull” feature: Chatbots can push latest updates to the user, without the user having to manually check the intranet.
- Hassle-free Access to Information
- Quick Suggestions
- Easy Updating
- Faster Access and Sharing of Data
Chatbots will be the most trusted approach to increase productivity and employee’s work efficiency.
Driving adoption is the ultimate goal of any intranet. Keeping your content fresh, relevant, dynamic and consumable makes it a hit show. Often, we find organizations treating intranet as a project with a start and end date, but in reality, it is expected to be a dynamic and evolving space.
Using the above stated features, organizations can boost adoption and add to the purpose of the intranet in an organisation. Leveraging the power of AI is bound to crack open the toughest of the intranet adoption barriers.
Turn your shiniest tech stack additions to boost your intranet adoption and increase your employee engagement by leaps and bounds.