Most organizations have some form of internal system connecting staff with information. An Intranet in its most rudimentary form can be viewed as a simple homepage with static links pointing to internal business systems and network drives. In its most sophisticated form, a real-time Intranet knows who you are, what information you will find the most relevant to assist you in completing a task and provides you with tools that make your job a little easier.
There’s no single intranet software product that will meet everyone’s requirements. That’s why it’s important to establish early on what your specific needs are as this will greatly assist you with identifying a solution that best represents the majority of your needs. Choosing an Intranet is an important decision, as it’s likely to live inside your organization for at least the next three to five years. Following are key reasons for why your organization needs an intranet.
If your organization is twenty people or so, it might be easy to hold a meeting and share with everyone the outcomes from a recent project, news regarding a new customer who has come on board, or changes to how customers will now be managed. Extrapolate that out to two hundred people, or twenty thousand people, and ensuring the correct information is communicated to everyone is now a challenge. A business Intranet ensures that key information occurring within the organization reaches everyone, no matter where they are located or what time zone they might be working in.
Keeping everyone on the same page is vital in communicating the goals of the organization, sharing successes, updating staff about important policy or procedural changes and allowing staff to access information from one secure location that supports them in performing their role. Without a corporate Intranet, staff rely on email to organize and interpret various forms of communication in an unstructured manner. And what about the people who weren’t CC’d? Do they know they’ve missed out on important changes in the business? A corporate Intranet ensures everyone is across all business communications.
Perhaps the most important question to ask is not ‘Why do we need an Intranet?’ but ‘When do we need an Intranet?’
Reduced work effort
Most organizations still rely on shared network drives and email for correspondence between various parties. A corporate Intranet goes along way in solving the inherent problems of working with shared drives and email. These include a reduction in the duplication of content, overcoming version control issues and having no ability to search across drives and staff member email accounts, just to name a few. Intranet software provides a centralized repository that enables your team members and you to publish content into a single location from where everyone can access, search and collaborate from.
Most Intranet software provides the ability for teams to collaborate together on projects. These environments within the Intranet are commonly referred to as workspaces, or collaboration hubs and are private and/or secure areas of the Intranet. Staff who create and manage these environments can often choose to invite other staff to join these Intranet spaces. Once inside the workspace, staff can collaboratively work together on projects, post documents and videos for sharing and feedback, take part in discussion forums about the project in one location, search across project resources and more.
Your knowledge defines your value
Most organizations create revenue through the application of their know-how. Professional services businesses sell their time to customers, while others sell a tangible product that has value because it solves a specific problem. The know-how embedded within the product comes from a group of people who applied their knowledge. An Intranet is fundamental to any organization that creates revenue through its knowledge. Capturing, categorizing and interpreting this knowledge allow it to be shared and absorbed by new staff as they join the team. The Intranet is where the know-how is typically stored, and overtime it becomes the trusted source of truth on how the organization delivers value for its customers.
Perhaps the most important question to ask is not ‘Why do we need an Intranet?’ but ‘When do we need an Intranet?’ As organizations grow, their ability to keep all the wheels moving depends on how well people across the organization understand what the goals are and what’s expected of them to reach these goals. Intranets fundamentally manage two key things; Communication and Information. How you communicate to staff about what’s happening in the organization ensures people are aligned with organizational goals. How your team accesses information to assist them with running the organization comes down to good information management and distribution.