Digital Workplace Insights

Overcoming email addiction once the new Intranet has launched

The ubiquitous nature of email is a challenge for any organization. It has become a staple technology in allowing teams to communicate from top to bottom. Email is also the root cause of maligned processes, fragmented communication and a key contributor in organizations becoming disconnected silos of conversation.

The approach for weaning people off Outlook and asking them to view the Intranet as a trusted source of truth requires proof. By highlighting the ease of accessing valued and timely content from the Intranet, opposed to hunting for answers in Outlook, will endorse the Intranet as a powerful asset over time.

There may also be a pragmatic argument for combining the two environments, but there are good reasons for leaving the Intranet and Outlook as separate environments. Both applications serve a different purpose. There are two components in overcoming email addiction and ensuring the new Intranet can experience positive adoption.

Operational Change

A new way of working requires a change in both thinking and practical application. Proven Intranet adoption can occur when the following are considered:

  • Intranet Influencers
    • The new Intranet will require influencers. These people will publicly discuss and demonstrate the use and merit of the Intranet to the rest of the organization
    • Influencers should represent all parts of the organization, so they can reach anyone across the enterprise no matter what department people are working in
    • Primarily, influencers will publicize the need for innovative change to occur within the organization. They will become visible champions for the new technology
  • Intranet Education
    • New technology can fail to cross the chasm of adoption due to a lack of education
    • It’s fundamental that everyone:
      • Understands the purpose of the Intranet
      • What it aims to deliver, and
      • How to use it
  • Intranet Training
    • Do you recall getting training in Outlook? Using the new Intranet should be as simple as email
    • The new Intranet should be intuitive and negate the need for the majority of end users to undertake training in using the Intranet (navigating, searching, downloading, commenting, etc.)
    • For key authors (those who will eventually train other authors) training is fundamental in managing and maintaining the new Intranet

The ubiquitous nature of email is a challenge for any organization.  The approach for weaning people off email and asking them to view the Intranet as a trusted source of truth requires proof.

Technological Change

Email is the world’s first social network. Receiving email is a form of social currency. The frequency of your inbox activity creates a perception of your value within a team. Email has powerful network effects. Examples of the power of network effects are clearly evident in platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. An Intranet can compete with these network effects by ensuring the Intranet is front and center within your work network. Proven Intranet adoption can occur when the following are considered:

  • Search
    • For most organizations, Search quickly becomes the centerpiece of the new Intranet. Before Intranet search there was peer search (searching your PC) and shared drive search (searching the Z Drive). If you were lucky, you found what you were looking for. Searching the Intranet delivers documents, pages, people and conversations from across the enterprise. It’s the first time a unified search experience is delivered for staff to use
    • Search can fundamentally improve individual productivity by delivering what a user is looking for. Providing this experience will ensure users always return to the Intranet
  • Document Management
    • Through the migration of key documents from shared drives to the version controlled environment of the Intranet will force team members to:
      • Formally Check Out a document from the Intranet in order to append to an email (this action is performed from within Outlook)
      • Formally Check In a document to the Intranet when its received from another party (this action is performed within Outlook)
      • Use the document Share tools within the Intranet itself to send documents to other team members (thus removing the need for Outlook)
      • Comment on documents, where these comments are displayed for all users to see (based on security permissions of the end users)
  • Social Engagement
    • Ensuring that both Web Content & Documents displayed within the Intranet allow team members to both Like and Comment on them
    • Comments
      • Allow users to comment on all pages within the Intranet, as well as Documents
      • When a user leaves a comment, the author of the content will receive an email notification, e.g. ‘John commented on your page’. This forces the user to click through to the Intranet and view the comment left by other team members
    • Likes
      • Allowing users to like pages and documents within the Intranet will drive engagement as the author of the content will receive an email notification and push them through to view who liked their content
  • Daily and/or Weekly Digests
    • The Intranet can be configured to send a digest of what activity occurred during the day/week
    • This digest links to the actual content on the Intranet


The end goal should be less email. Reduce the need to send, reply, copy and append. Remove the silo effect within your organization and create a transparent and accessible working culture through the Intranet. A good Intranet delivers what email can’t; relevant answers for many, and not just answers for an audience of one.

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