Every day, we are introduced to new intranet platforms, and along with the brand new features and solutions. Opportunities to upgrade abound – but how much business sense does it even make? How can companies make well-informed decisions about if/when to upgrade after a release has been announced?
Given the competitive business benefits an intranet offers, the logical solution does seem to be upgrading as often as possible. However, upgrading does come with a hefty price tag and more importantly, quite a lot of disruption.
The answer for organizations lies in striking an efficient balance in order to truly leverage the benefits of an upgrade.
Let’s talk about various factors that indicate strongly that you do need to upgrade:
The whole point of an intranet is lost if it doesn’t garner adoption across your enterprise. You will need to look into how often your employees are logging onto the intranet and which features are getting used the most and which ones are being ignored. If user adoption continues to drop, it is an indication that perhaps the features you’ve included or obsolete and not serving the intended purpose. If this is the case, then an upgrade to including features that allow your employees to be more productive just might be on the cards.
Your employees are only going to want to use the intranet if it makes their work more efficient. If your intranet doesn’t allow for seamless navigation and doesn’t adequately provide the information your employees seek, then your intranet does require an upgrade. It’s vital that your intranet offers a clear path for finding information and is structured in a way that makes it conducive to getting things done, rather than follow a departmental structure, which does not contribute to productivity and may, in fact, hamper it.
A major factor for the success of an intranet lies in its ability to provide relevant content to the right users. The content made available on the intranet should be in tune with organizational needs, in terms of quality and structure. Users should easily be able to access the intranet and find the information they need seamlessly.
This requires that organizations perform exhaustive audits of the content they currently have on the intranet. Based on such an audit, they may proceed to cleaning, updating and reorganizing the content made available on the intranet. Organizing your content may even have to be an ongoing activity to ensure that you are providing the most updated and relevant information to users.
Not providing an effective search feature in your intranet is going to very likely cause your intranet to fail. The search feature enables employees to access relevant information related to the content or locate profiles of other employees at the organization, using specific keywords and phrases, groups, categories, filtering tagged content, and so on.
Optimizing search capabilities is vital to the success of your intranet. If your employees are struggling to find the information or updates they require, it will very quickly lead to reduced intranet usage and ultimately, drastically diminished adoption rates. According to a study by IDC, a knowledge worker spends about 2.5 hours per day, or roughly 30% of the workday, searching for information.
As technology evolves, it has increasingly worked towards making every interaction incredibly user friendly, and this applies particularly to the search function.
Whether it is a ecommerce site or a social platform or even the devices your employees use in the day-to-day life – all of these are built to make it incredibly easy to find information through search. It is therefore not surprising that your employees want to find that same standard of user-friendliness from the intranet, in order to ensure that their intranets are effective as a workplace technology.
A robust search feature will accomplish a variety of goals – giving the user exactly what they are looking for, providing accurate results, serve up relevant suggestions and more importantly, ‘speak’ to the user, by adapting to their vocabulary.
A key reason social tools are successful in garnering such high engagement rates is that they provide users with the ability to connect. Typically, intranet solutions have not taken this capability into context, forcing employees to stick to more traditional means of communication, such as email, to collaborate and communicate.
In order for your projects to be successful and for your organization to achieve, long term growth, it is vital that you facilitate a means of communicating and working together seamlessly. If your intranet solution does not offer your employees the facility to engage in teamwork, then it’s important to consider what features you would need to incorporate into your intranet to enable your employees to work together to achieve business goals.
This can be done by surveying your employees to understand if and how they are currently using the intranet to collaborate, and supplementing it with the required features.
If you are continuing to use a platform that is not supportive, you can quickly run into a variety of issues ranging from technical glitches to more serious security vulnerabilities.
If you are currently using a SharePoint platform that is no longer supported by Microsoft, then you’re missing out on the latest, robust features being introduced and as a result, your employees may not achieve as much productivity as you can from intranet usage.
It’s also fairly difficult to find outsourcing partners or the right staff to help with maintenance and supporting the platform. While lack of productivity is an important issue to consider, what should particularly be on the top of your mind is the possibility that your mission-critical tools and perhaps, your entire organization may be at risk due to the usage of an unsupported, outdated intranet.
Enterprises have been comparatively slow to adopting mobile across organizations, when you look at how rapidly the consumer world has realized the importance of delivering great mobile experiences. But, ensuring that your intranet maintains high rates of adoption and usage requires that you are offering well designed mobile experiences to users.
Unfortunately, if you are on an older version of SharePoint, your employees, especially those who are working remotely and may not have frequent desktop access, are most likely already suffering due to dismal or non-existent mobile experiences.
Enterprises must consider investing in developing custom adds or fully responsive mobile portals, in order to deliver important communications instantly, provide access to key information and provide engaging experiences across their mobile devices, all on the go.
When traditional intranet solutions fail the organizations, some teams turn to implementing their own solutions. This may seem like an effective workaround on the surface, but what it really does it create even more divisiveness and fragmentation, leading to dropping engagement and collaboration.
Each intranet is essentially going to be “stand-alone”, making it relevant for only one team, and therefore doing little to no good towards achieving overall business goals and growth.
Traditional intranets with their outdated features and complex processes have long been rejected by employees across enterprises of all sizes. But as organizations have figured out what makes intranets fail, they have also been able to make way for modern features around collaboration, employee engagement, social channel integration, communication and sharing, and others to swiftly take their place.
As important as these features are, in order to tie them all together, it is important to also have well-crafted design and a brilliant user experience. This enables employees to continue using the intranet to improve performance and productivity.
Allow your employees to add or remove features based on what they need. This ability to customize their intranet improves user experience and allows employees to get access to content that is most relevant to them. When your employees are able to use the intranet to address their needs in a personalized way, they would be more likely to continue using it regularly, thereby ensuring high adoption rates and strengthens organizational culture.
The consumer world is spearheaded by mobile at the moment. It’s vital that enterprises to work towards bringing that simplicity and ease of use to their employees by ensuring that the intranet is also designed for mobile. A modern intranet is one that features responsive design and facilitates easy intranet access across all smartphones and devices, anytime and anywhere.
The purpose of the intranet is to provide employees with the information they require in order to perform their work more efficiently. However, this purpose may sometimes get defeated due to the never ending scrolling and searching that it involves in finding the right information.
Integrating chatbots into your intranet, can change the status quo. By leveraging the power of a conversational user interface, chatbots can extract relevant information from the intranet and serve it up directly to the user via the chosen enterprise messaging app. It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s effective. The result is higher productivity and happier employees.
If you’re facing any challenges with your current intranet and looking to upgrade, feel free to get in touch with one of our Intranet experts for a free consultation. We’d love to give some personalized tips for solving your challenges.