Why an Intranet?
So this begs the question, why bother with an intranet? Intranets can be used for many purposes but a brief definition could be ‘A communication platform that users within an organisation can share content and work collaboratively’. However, if organisations are not utilising intranets properly then what is the point of a company having one? This blog will explain just why intranets are important and why a company should aim to fully utilise and integrate their intranet with their workforce to their benefit.
What exactly is an intranet?
Intranets first emerged in the mid-1990’s in the form of static web pages for which companies saw as an opportunity to share information amongst users from a central location. An intranet is a contrast to the broad, open internet in that they are only accessible by computers or users that are connected to a shared network.
In the past, external users and computers could not access a company’s intranet. However, thanks to an improvement in technology and an increased trend in flexible working and many users working from home, users are now able to sign into their company’s intranet via their own login. Within an intranet, a user will be able to post content, share knowledge and communicate with other members of the shared network, with the organisation itself being able to micro-manage the intranet’s functions and availability.
But how can it help the organisation?
The definition of the intranet alone should provide some ideas for how it can help an organisation. We will look at five different ways in which an intranet can help and why they are important to the organisation.
1. Improving Collaboration
It is more common to find intranets amongst larger companies due to the need and requirement for the users. Especially amongst globalised organisations and those with remote employees or offices. By providing an intranet, companies also provide a channel for offices and users from across the organisation to communicate together and work collaboratively, no matter their location.
If a user wants to work with a specific role on a project but does not know who the correct person would be, a directory on the intranet would provide employee job titles, biographies and email addresses which would help direct the user to whom they are looking for. An intranet may also provide other tools that users can utilise to communicate with each other i.e. in-messaging and conference apps like Skype for Business, Yammer or Teams, for example.
2. Knowledge Management
Intranets enable the organisation to manage knowledge in two ways. Firstly, there may be tacit knowledge stored inside a user’s head that isn’t available in document format. These users will be able to post this information onto the intranet which will allow colleagues to learn from the contributor.
Secondly, when the information is stored in document format it can be difficult managing the information and organising it into easily accessible categories that everyone within the organisation can understand and find. By utilising Group Explorer, users can find information much easier by searching through Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Groups and other applications for specific groups or conversations. This can be particularly handy when a user has a file stored in a group but needs help looking for the group.
Categorising and tagging documents will make them easier to find and access for users. This is ideal for organisations with large repositories of information that needs to be retained, even when individuals leave the company.
3. Improved Employee Engagement
The previous two points lead into the result of this one, improved employee engagement. An intranet that provides directories to others in the company, a platform to communicate with colleagues and other social features along with a knowledge management system increases the engagement that employees are having with the company and their colleagues in locations throughout the world., A study by Forbes found that increased employee engagement can lead to a number of benefits such as happier employees, greater employee satisfaction and greater employee loyalty which lead towards greater employee productivity (1).
4. Consolidated work processes
It is rare to find the same work processes in every single office across a global organisation. Whilst there may be a structure to them, cultural differences and other factors can change the way that individuals work compared to their peers. It’s because of these differences that it can become confusing when individuals across the organisation collaborate on projects. An organisation’s intranet will provide the tools for a singular process meaning that there is no confusion about what resources to use and when. Activities can be centralised into the organisation’s digital workspace, reducing overheads and confusion whilst adding value to the process.
The intranet should be a digital copy of the organisation and what it represents. A digital workspace fully represents the company’s systems, its ethos and how its employees engage with one another. Features such as an employee social media platform (Yammer etc.), peer-to-peer recognition functions, open publishing rights for employees and a company guide or workbook with its values enable the company to empower its culture amongst its employees.
This is a summarised view of some of the benefits that an intranet provides an organisation and an explanation to exactly why companies should indeed bother with one. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of an intranet you can learn more by contacting us and speaking to one of our experts.
We also have a number of whitepaper’s available that may be able to help with any queries:
- - The 5C’s of a Successful Intranet – This whitepaper takes a closer look at the purpose of an intranet in our very own 5C’s proposition.
- - Building a new intranet? What you should think about before starting your project – This whitepaper highlights what factors should be considered before making an intranet investment.
- - Intranet User Adoption and Engagement – This whitepaper aims to give advice on how to plan a successful intranet adoption strategy.
Furthermore, if you are already aware of the benefits that an intranet can provide but think that your organisation isn’t using it to its full capabilities or it isn’t meeting the standards required, we introduce Atlas – The Intelligent Workspace. Atlas is an innovative and intelligent digital workspace that helps a company to facilitate its path to adopting a mature communication and collaboration infrastructure. It includes a number of functions that helps it to bridge an organisation’s digital world whilst delivering fast and successful value.