The Intranet is changing. The Millennial generation now forms a significant part of the workforce, many barely remember life before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and they would be totally lost without their smartphone. As a result, the future Intranet needs to bring people together in a social environment, encourage interaction, enable collaboration and deliver a personalised news feed that delivers relevant, on demand, sound bites via any platform.
Out with the old
Many Intranets adopt a prescriptive, top down approach and were not designed to support a mobile workforce which uses smartphones and tablets extensively. Despite external websites receiving massive investment to become dynamic, mobile responsive shop windows which harness the power of HTML5, the humble Intranet remains a relic from days gone by.
Why change is needed
Consider how we communicate with friends, colleagues and companies in our personal lives today. We expect everything to be instant. Even a delay of couple of hours might be enough to miss the moment and make your interaction irrelevant - it's the same within your organisation. If you stumbled across something you needed to share on your company intranet right now how long would it take? If it's longer than 10 minutes you've already lost some impact, if it takes longer than 24 hrs you might as well not bother.
As far back as 2015, Google reported that more searches were now taking place on mobile devices than on traditional desktop computers in 10 countries. This is significant because it means we're becoming a 'mobile first' world. Forget making your website mobile friendly - why not design for the mobile and make it desktop friendly?
Many organisations still operate static, non responsive intranets which are inaccessible to mobile workers and only the privileged few can edit and upload content. With little or no social capabilities, is it often impossible to know what, if any, impact your Intranet has on your workforce or indeed whether colleagues visit your intranet at all.
To overcome the limitations presented by traditional Intranets a large portion of workers are turning to shadow IT solutions, such as Facebook or Whatsapp groups, to support collaboration and enable social interaction. Many CIO's are aware of massive issues presented by shadow IT and the problems created by silo working. Prioritising investment on something that is viewed as an internal tool can be difficult but could arguably be your most important investment when it comes to enabling the digital workplace.
In with the new
The Intranet is not dead; indeed the opposite is true. There are certain functions that an Intranet can deliver which are still relevant to modern organisations. Think how difficult it is to keep everyone on the same page. This is especially true when some of your employees are not in head office and do not have access to corporate IT. This is why we have helped many of our customers to design and build a branded employee portal to manage and share all kinds of content, from documents to videos. We use Google Sites or LumSites, the mobile, social and smart Intranet recommended by Google for G Suite customers who wants to bring all their business content in a central hub.
Whatever, you decide to implement, here are 5 things you should consider before approaching a new Intranet project:
- Seamless integration using your corporate identity/email address
- Ability to deliver a personalised news feed
- Open to all employees to post and collaborate internally
- Support the use of mobile devices with 24/7 access to post, comment, interact
- Search that spans across content, documents and people