We have come a long way from the first intranet software solutions we were introduced to over two decades ago, which were essentially static websites which allowed employees to access information from a centralized point. Intranets, at this point, were nothing more than a HTML page on a web server which linked to internal resources. Back in 1996, Frontier Technologies pioneered entry into the intranet market by introducing “Intranet Genie”. This product was considered revolutionary in its own right – it supported document sharing, conversation among employees, electronic messaging, and a plethora of other tools that enabled better communication. Of course, larger organizations quickly took notice and recognized the importance of integrating intranets into their businesses. They wanted to jump on the intranet bandwagon, but were met with a few hiccups along the way.
Previously, intranets were operated by only one person who sent out all the information but it wasn’t customized to an employee’s individual needs and relevance. This centralized approach made the whole system ineffective and did not do much to enhance overall work productivity.
Over the last decade however, intranets have transformed dramatically. Businesses are now adopting a decentralized approach to share content, through which both employee collaboration and engagement has improved tremendously.
Intranet design varies from one company to another, based on the organization’s structure, requirements, and size. Companies all over the world are constantly trying to improve their internal communication through intranets for active engagement with their employees or franchisees.
We have done a deep dive of the best intranets we have encountered, in order to understand what features have contributed to their success. Let’s take a look:
- The supermarket way of self-service relies heavily on the store design which helps people find the products and pick them easily. Similarly, for a successful self-service BI roll-out, you’ll need to invest in people & processes that provide the right data models and the tools to query them.
- The store design alone isn’t good enough. The many store managers and stockists make sure the products are available on the shelves. The BI equivalent of this – jobs and data mashups that bring data from different sources together. Make sure you have people monitoring these so that your users always find what they want.
- The supermarket’s job doesn’t end when the items are on the shelf. There are people available to assist when you shop. You can always ask a friendly person where to find an item; they also assist you with bulky items and items on the top rack that are difficult to reach. In a similar way it is important to make sure you have help at hand for your self-service BI users and the ability to handle any complex reporting needs.
- Not everyone likes to look around and use the self-service. The people that regularly do their groceries in-store may want a home delivery once in a while too. Make sure your self-service BI implementation can still cater to canned reports and alerts.
- The supermarkets also cater to the smartphone generation that prefers using their phone to click and collect. Make sure you let them use your self-service BI platform on their phone!
They Make Employees Happy!
“ When employees are happy, they are your best ambassadors ‘’ – James Sinegal
Meaningful communication between management and employees is extremely important. Internal communication plays a critical role in global organizations in ensuring a successful work output. While knowledge sharing is the first step, enabling timely access to this knowledge and to the right people is vital in determining company’s commercial success. A successful intranet is one that can make this possible.
Modern intranets also help employers determine an employee’s engagement level with the intranet. This data allows employers to understand how they can motivate employees to keep coming back to the organization’s intranet and improve overall interactivity.
A well-networked intranet is also a perfect place to give recognition to employees who have accomplished their respective goals. Rewarding them on the company’s intranet can motivate and encourage employees to work harder and increase their productivity and engagement. By incorporating social intranets, collaboration between employees and their co-workers will become hassle free, making them happier and less stressful.
Did you know: By changing the tone of its newsletter to a playful one, Domino’s increased its intranet site visitors from 2500 a week to 25000 in the same period! ( Source: PR Daily )
They Are Constantly Improved
Successful intranets continually evolve according to the needs of the organization. The usage of the intranet decreases over time if it is not revised and redesigned according to the user needs. Outdated content should be removed on a regular basis and necessary updates should be made. The security for confidential data can be improved as well by keeping the interface updated on a regular basis.
Also, successful intranets have a purpose driven presentation and organization of content. As the organization grows bigger, the amount of content to be shared on the intranet also increases. Proper organization of data with a touch of personalization, customized to the employee’s needs, enhances overall user engagement.
They Are Now Evolving to Feature Conversational Interfaces
A common problem faced by several organizations is the low adoption rate of a newly launched intranet. Successful intranets deal with this issue by integrating them with intelligent chatbots. A chatbot acts as a persona/avatar who exists solely to assist and support employees in a timely manner. Rapid innovation has now introduced to the world chatbots that offer natural language interaction and an astounding degree of personalization. They can even foster bonds with the user, just like a human would! Because a chatbot knows who it is conversing with, it can quickly fetch user specific content, making the conversation extremely relevant.
Users can also add Bot as a contact in other chat applications like Slack, Facebook Messenger or even using SMS. Infact, when you integrate SMS service with your intranet, employees won’t even require internet to talk to the Bot.
Chatbots also hardly require any special training, making their adoption rate rather high!
They Are an Employee’s Best Friend
Imagine the number of HR related tasks employees are encumbered with on a regular basis. The HR department is constantly bombarded with requests for leaves, or leave balance, updating employee personal information, scheduling training sessions, accessing rewards data and various other labor-intensive tasks. These tasks are not only time-consuming, but also cause unnecessary administrative hassle for both the HR department and the concerned employees.
Equipping employees with self-service option can reduce time spent on HR administration, and instead free up resources and time for more important activities. Successful intranets make self-service possible for employees, thereby minimizing time spent and eliminating hassle for both parties. It also helps improve data accuracy and increases employee engagement across your organization.
Self-service option can be enabled for various tasks such as:
- Employee leave application process and management
- Reviewing deliveries and orders for the day
- Providing IT support to users
- Performance reviews
- FAQs for starters
Did you know : Microsoft Teams now allows you to communicate with chatbots. These chatbots once launched, can interact with the entire team by becoming one among them. Source : ( PCWorld )
Finally, Successful Intranets Are Always Measured
Measuring the success of an intranet can get tricky for any organization. It is challenging to determine the metrics that matter most when trying to calculate an intranet’s success. However, this step is extremely crucial in justifying the sheer existence of the intranet and also to analyze budgets.
Typically, organizations evaluate several metrics such as clickstreams, page views, number of visitors, average session length, etc., to arrive at the ROI. Understanding how much business value your organization can derive from leveraging intranets will help you strategize your approach better.
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