Enterprise Intranet

With the new world of work on the horizon, competitive enterprises are in a race to review their digital infrastructure to ensure employees have the tools and communications channels needed to thrive in their next chapter. Throughout the pandemic, modern intranets - or employee experience platforms as they are increasingly referred to - emerged as an essential technology that can keep employees connected and underpin more agile ways of working. As leaders recalibrate their strategies and assess their digital workplaces, the value of a modern enterprise intranet cannot be overlooked.

What is an enterprise intranet?

Over the last year, intranet technology has experienced a rise in visibility. Where previously the enterprise intranet may have been considered a supplementary technology, in the hybrid era it has become essential to managing the challenges associated with a disconnected workforce.

Enterprise intranets vs SME intranets

For global enterprises and SMEs alike, connecting people throughout hybrid work has been the key to sustaining success. For SMEs, the intranet provides a valuable lifeline for collaboration and knowledge sharing. Channels for file sharing and unified search centers help employees find the information and documents employees need instantly, breaking down siloes within organizations that may typically have relied on face-to-face interactions. Where third-party collaboration systems, like Dropbox, for example, may be able to ‘get the job done’ for SMEs, they inevitably lead to information siloes that put a greater strain on employee productivity as they search for resources.

For enterprises, the intranet forms a go-to hub for everyone. User targeting ensures that content and communications remain highly relevant for individuals, regardless of role or location. Social feeds and familiar features like commenting, @tagging and #hashtags help to build an inclusive culture that encourages everyone to make their voice heard across their organization. Departments with colleagues spread across the world can rely on dedicated team sites for sharing updates. Third-party integrations allow organizations to get the most from existing investments by seamlessly bringing them into the intranet.

For sprawling global enterprises, intranets represent the opportunity to consolidate channels, technology, and conversations into one platform, making it easy for employees to access everything they need.

Women working remotely on intranet software

Blogs

7 key features of a Fortune 500 enterprise intranet

Enterprise-scale clients have enterprise-scale challenges when it comes to transforming the digital employee experience. For those enterprises operating at the forefront of business success, what are the most important components of a modern employee experience platform and how do they meet the needs of the modern, hybrid workforce?

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Shedding the traditional intranet’s reputation

While legacy platforms were often difficult to navigate and lacked two-way communications channels, their modern successors are equipped with the capabilities needed to enhance employee experience with a single tool.

The enterprise intranet can be thought of as a platform designed to provide your employees with the same kind of top-tier digital experience that they’ve grown accustomed to as consumers. Just like shoppers enjoy personalized product recommendations and an omnichannel buying experience, your employees have now come to expect targeted communications that they can access anytime and anywhere. An enterprise intranet is the platform you need to deliver this consumer-grade digital experience and in turn, improve engagement and performance throughout your organization.

Neon arrow sign

Blogs

6 reasons employee engagement is slumping and how to fix it

Employee happiness and engagement is undoubtedly one of the biggest business priorities, but it can be difficult to measure exactly how engaged your employees are – particularly with the added barrier of remote working. Now that businesses are beginning to plan for a post-pandemic future, it’s important to identify the reasons your employee engagement may have taken a hit this past year and know how to make the changes necessary to remedy it.

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Why do you need an enterprise intranet?

With many budgets still tight following the COVID-19 pandemic, every leader wants to feel confident that their digital investments will deliver an impressive ROI. So, when it comes to launching an enterprise intranet, what kind of benefits can you expect your organization to reap?

There's a multitude of compelling reasons why introducing an enterprise intranet will improve your bottom line. Top advantages associated with an enterprise platform include:

#1. Enhance productivity

As the pace of change continues to accelerate, your employees are going to need to work better and faster to ensure your enterprise stays competitive. What can leaders do to plant the seeds for next-level productivity?

An enterprise intranet serves as your workplace’s go-to hub for the tools, resources, and information employees need to do their best work. A unified search experience ensures key knowledge remains at every user’s fingertips, while seamless integrations reduce the sense of distraction that comes with application-switching.

Curious to see an enterprise intranet’s productivity-enhancing work in action? After launching their platform, Shell reaped a productivity saving of over $41m annually thanks to their new intranet’s ease of access and unparalleled functionality.

Case Studies

Shell powers employee experience with a Unily intranet

Discover how Shell is transforming employee experience for 82k employees with Unily, driving savings of over $42m a year in productivity gains.

Download case study

#2. Improve collaboration

Collaboration in the hybrid era can be challenging. Your people might not be able to tap their colleagues on the shoulder and ask them a pressing question about a project that they’re working on.

However, with an enterprise intranet, you can recreate the experience that colleagues get when they’re working side-by-side. People directories make it easy for employees to pinpoint peers with niche expertise and initiate cross-functional collaboration. Your employees can also leverage team sites and departmental pages to update teammates within their specific business function.

Wacker collaboration intranet case study

Case Studies

WACKER: enhancing collaboration with a user-centric intranet

From scientists to engineers, WACKER’s workforce is comprised of experts that have set the enterprise apart as a pioneer of modern chemistry for more than 100 years. To pave the way for the next century of innovative work, WACKER replaced their SharePoint intranet with GLOBE; a user-centric employee experience platform that reimagines collaboration across the enterprise and its extended network of partners.

Download case study

#3. Cultivate connectivity

While remote work has been shown to enhance productivity, it often comes with an increased sense of isolation. More than 50% of employees are struggling to feel connected to their colleagues and their organizational culture while working away from the office.

Rather than letting loneliness set in, your enterprise intranet makes it easier than ever to build meaningful relationships with colleagues near and far. Employees can chat with their peers via social networking functionality, like content updates to show their support, and leverage user profiles to learn more about their colleague’s interests and identities.

#4. Level up communication

Your enterprise intranet can fully transform your employee messaging strategy. A next-generation platform provides internal communicators with an array of internal communications tools that will drive enterprise-wide engagement, including social networking functionality, discussion forums, user-generated content, email newsletter creation, and so much more.

#5. Build valuable knowledge bases

Enterprise intranets are most effective when used to empower employees, be that with powerful tools, connection opportunities, or by providing access to information that people need to do their best work. As more employees around the world rely on technology, particularly intranets, to support their work in a hybrid age, enterprise search engine intranets have become key to maintaining knowledge bases that give access to everything you need in one place.

With targeted search experiences that surface results relevant to individual users and deep integrations that enable people to instantly search across all your tools and knowledge bases, enterprises can now provide Google-like search experiences to employees. As well as boosting productivity by streamlining access, these tools increase engagement with the intranet via consumer-grade UX, and help to maintain knowledge bases that employees can benefit from for years to come.

Employee using his company's digital workplace search experience

Blogs

Achieving a “Google-like” enterprise search experience in your digital workplace

In this blog we explore the benefits of a “Google-like” search experience for your digital workplace by taking full advantage of Unily’s brand-new search center. Deliver rapid access to information for your people through our exceptionally engaging and highly accessible digital experience platform.

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#6. Give leaders a platform

Particularly during times of change and challenge, employees look to leadership messaging to understand the direction that their enterprise is heading in and what they can expect for the future. In a chapter of work in which disruption is already a hallmark, your employees need leadership communications now more than ever.

Your enterprise intranet can give every member of your C-suite a platform that they can leverage to speak directly to your people. From blog posts written by your CEO to video updates with the entire senior leadership team, take advantage of your enterprise intranet to strengthen relationships between stakeholders and employees.

Employees using healthcare intranet to improve leadership communications

Blogs

3 internal communications tools used for Cardinal Health's leadership comms

For many internal communicators, 2020’s disruptions may have felt like the moment you’ve been training for. With the need for updated information at an all-time high, Cardinal Health's internal communications team has risen to the challenge by crafting innovative strategies that build connections between leaders and employees when it’s needed most.

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#7. Upgrade onboarding

Onboarding is one of the most pivotal parts of the employee lifecycle. However, many workers believe their enterprise’s approach is lacking, with just 12% of employees noting that their organization excels at onboarding.

Your enterprise intranet is here to help change this. Sidestep the miscommunication and silos that typically occur during an employee’s first weeks on the job and upgrade their experience with a platform that will guide them throughout their journey with your organization. Develop a preboarding portal so new hires start off strong, and centralize learning and training resources on your intranet to give everyone the information they need.

What to look for in your enterprise intranet

Deciding you want to launch an enterprise intranet is just the beginning. The next step to debuting a top-performing platform is understanding what features and functionalities you need to look out for to ensure your intranet is a success. Some top priorities include:

#1. Seamless integrations

Eliminate time spent switching between applications by uniting all of your workplace tools into a single pane of glass experience that drives efficiency and user satisfaction simultaneously. Your enterprise intranet should have an integrations framework that brings together all the content, information, and tools your people need to do their best work.

Employee on her company intranet exploring new plug and play features

Blogs

Introducing plug and play intranet integrations with Unily's Feature Store

With the introduction of the all-new intranet Feature Store, Unily takes the pain out of the complex integration process, so you can enjoy the productivity gains of a connected digital workplace without any of the resource-intensive development.

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#2. Mobile accessibility

Every employee should be able to access your enterprise intranet, whether they’re working from their home office or based on the shop floor. Next-generation platforms take mobile experience one step further with offline reading capabilities that allow employees to stay updated at all times and native push notifications to cut through the noise.

'Discover the power of a mobile intranet' - Unily guide flat pages

Guides

Discover the power of a mobile intranet

2.7 billion people work away from a desk. That’s 80% of the global working population. These employees need more from their organizations, from their technology, and from the employee experience. This in-depth guide details everything your enterprise needs to deliver a consumer-grade mobile experience that connects and engages everyone from head office to frontline.

Download guide

#3. Real-time analytics

How can you know what content is resonating and which messages are in need of an upgrade? By choosing an enterprise intranet with built-in analytics, you’ll be able to measure success, learn what employees care about, and leverage these insights to finetune your messaging strategy.

#4. Social networking functionality

Your employees may not have a chance to work with everyone at your organization, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get to know them. Advanced social features such as liking, commenting, and reacting enable employees to interact with colleagues in every role and region.

Business social network consultants in a meeting

Blogs

4 tips to get the most out of your enterprise social network

If implemented and maintained effectively, the value of an enterprise social network can be huge for a global organisation. It provides new ways to communicate, collaborate and bring people from disparate parts of the business together.

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#5. Ongoing innovation

Your enterprise intranet needs to evolve to thrive. Rather than a stagnant offering, your platform should come with built-in agility and an ongoing commitment to innovation. Make sure your intranet software includes an evergreen roadmap that ensures that your platform stays up to date with the latest features. To take iteration to the next level, look for a vendor with an ideation portal that encourages customers to share their insights and shape the progression of the product.

#6. Superior security

With an average cost of 8.6m, no enterprise can afford a security breach. To prevent the unthinkable from happening, make sure your enterprise intranet has both ISO and SOC-2 certifications, which ensure that the systems and processes that are implemented offer the greatest level of protection from external threats.

Best intranet software guide pages

Guides

How to decide what intranet software is best for you

There is little doubt of the benefits of modern intranet software over an aging, static legacy intranet. But with so many options out there, how do you know where to start? Download our comprehensive guide today to understand the questions you should be asking before deciding upon intranet software.

Download guide

Common challenges and best practices for launching an enterprise intranet

Launching an intranet is not an overnight process. Without proper planning and a considered launch strategy that reflects the wants and needs of their workforces, enterprises can encounter any number of issues that limit the impact of the platform. Common enterprise intranet launch challenges include:

  • Struggling to drive adoption across departments
  • Frontline workers, in particular, representing a large adoption hurdle
  • Maintaining consistent usage post-launch, following an initial spike
  • Employees being unsure of an intranet’s use cases and best practices for its use
  • Users seeing the intranet as ‘just another tool’ or feeling attached to legacy systems
  • Migrating data and users from one system to another requiring significant resources
  • Governance seeming daunting without a proper strategy
  • Balancing stakeholder buy-in with implementing user feedback

To overcome these pain points, what can organizations do to ensure the launch of an enterprise intranet is an all-around success? Keep the following best practices in mind for a seamless intranet launch experience:

#1. Conduct employee research

Your employees are going to have different needs and priorities depending on the role they play within your enterprise. Instead of making assumptions about what your users might be looking for in their workplace technology, don’t be afraid to ask them.

Generally, the most successful platforms are driven by employee research. To ensure your intranet is user-centric, carve out some time to uncover what your people are really looking for in their digital workplace. While it might not be possible to interview every team member within your enterprise, consider creating personas or breaking down your organization into sub-audiences for a more balanced perspective.

Blogs

4 ways to use intranet feedback forms to engage employees

Two-way communications will be a hallmark of the new employee-employer relationship. Feedback has always been crucial, and it will only become more important as organizations refine their strategy for success in the new world of work. But how can you make sure every employee’s voice gets heard and how is your competition already ahead?

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#2. Get leadership buy-in

Leadership sets the tone for every element of your workplace, and your technology is no exception. If you want to create a platform that your people will use, you need to make sure leadership is onboard from the very beginning. Consider choosing an executive sponsor with high visibility, such as a member of the C-suite, and engaging them throughout the design and launch of your enterprise intranet.

#3. Solidify your governance strategy

Given that poor governance is the top reason why intranets fail, it should be evident that the right platform management strategy is essential. When it comes to devising your approach to intranet governance, there are several considerations to prioritize, including choosing a content management model that works for you and implementing freshness dating to prevent your messages from becoming stale.

Team leader managing her company intranet software

Blogs

How to succeed at intranet governance

The top reason intranets fail isn’t technical or functional. According to Gartner research, it’s poor governance that is most likely to prevent your platform from achieving full efficacy. With your intranet poised to play a crucial role in the new world of work, what does it take to create a governance approach that will set you up for success? We spoke to Mario Fantozzi, Principle Onboarding consultant at Unily to find out.

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#4. Create a robust launch campaign

If you want your people to take full advantage of your enterprise intranet, it’s important to get the word out. Start to build buzz several weeks before your platform’s debut by creating a comprehensive launch campaign. You might wish to include a welcome video that showcases how your enterprise intranet works, explainer content on specific features, and an interactive challenge like an intranet scavenger hunt to encourage employees to start exploring your new platform.

Podcasts

Life after intranet launch

The first step always seems the biggest, but there’s still a long road ahead. Episode 6 of the Unily podcast sees our very own expert in life after launch, Customer Success Manager Sanika Gentles, join Paul Seda, Kaitlin Auriemma, and Matthew Boyd to talk about the key drivers of your employee experience platform’s success; now, and long into the future.

Watch now

#5. Develop feedback channels

Even the best intranets will fail without ongoing iteration. After you launch your platform, make sure employees have opportunities to share their thoughts about your new workplace technology. Consider including a feedback form on your enterprise intranet’s homepage so users can easily add their insights. Take advantage of pulse surveys for more information on specific topics, such as how supported employees feel at work or what they think of your onboarding experience.

Intranet launch guide pages

Guides

10 essentials for staging the ultimate intranet launch

Launch activities are an essential part of maximizing returns on an intranet investment. Planning an effective launch gets new sites buzzing from day one, resulting in faster adoption and increased engagement. Whether there’s budget available – or just manpower and internal communications – the key to a successful intranet launch is having a solid plan backed by reams of enthusiasm.

Download guide

Enterprise intranets in the hybrid era

Intranets have been upgraded from nice-to-have to need-to-have status in the hybrid era. Now that your employees are dispersed, your platform has the potential to replace your corporate office as your new digital headquarters.

As the center of digital workplaces, intranets played a particularly crucial role when employees transitioned to remote working. Our own data illustrates how heavily leaders relied on their platforms to keep employees connected and updated throughout the pandemic. Articles that mentioned COVID-19 were viewed over 3.1m times in 2020, with an additional 722k views for wellbeing content.

This reliance on the enterprise intranet will continue in the new, hybridized world of work. The digitalization of your corporate headquarters comes with several distinct advantages. Unlike your brick-and-mortar flagship, your workforce can access their digital headquarters anytime and anywhere. It will also help you save on real estate costs while supporting the hybridized blend of remote and office working that the majority of employees look favorably towards.

On-demand

Creating a culture of belonging in the hybrid workplace

The future of work is hybrid – but what does this mean when it comes to workplace culture? We’ve partnered with strategy consulting firm Gagen MacDonald to bring you actionable ways to build a culture of belonging in a hybrid world. How can you use a powerful tool – technology – to bridge culture gaps and establish a culture of inclusivity?

Watch on-demand

On-premise vs cloud-based vs hybrid intranets

There are three broad categories that enterprises can use to aid intranet vendor selection, and each come with their own benefits and drawbacks. To make things easy for your digital transformation, consider the pros and cons of each before you begin to build out your platform.

Chess pieces facing off in preparation for debate

Blogs

Build vs buy: has the war been won?

While the benefits of an intranet are essentially common knowledge, opinions on the best implementation path have posed a longstanding dilemma. Enterprises seeking to implement a new solution have traditionally been faced with two choices: build a custom-made portal or buy an Out-of-the-Box intranet product.

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On-premise intranets

On-premise intranets are systems built, developed, and housed internally. The platform itself, as well any associated servers and repositories, are supplied in-house. This type of intranet architecture proved more popular in the early 2000s as intranet software first developed.

Pros:

  • On-premise intranets offer enterprises complete control over their platforms
  • This means that any developments, such as third-party integrations, are possible – so long as you have the time, expertise, and resources
  • On-premise solutions keep all of your data within the confines of your enterprise, offering the strict governance and security that some highly regulated organizations demand

Cons:

  • Custom development can be extremely costly, as all the associated costs are yours and yours alone
  • Scalability is not as easy simple as with other solutions. As your enterprise grows, so does your maintenance and server costs
  • Ideation and development of new features falls to you. Where SAAS users benefit from customer community-driven feedback, on-premise solutions put all the onus on your people to grow

Cloud-based intranets

Cloud software has become the engine on which work runs. The SAAS industry has grown to encompass almost all of the tools we rely on to get work done, particularly in the era of hybrid work. Cloud-based intranets provide enterprises with an Out-of-the-Box platform and off-site data housing at the price of regular subscription costs.

Pros:

  • Cloud-based intranets benefit from evergreen product roadmaps, meaning new features can be developed and rolled out to an entire customer base
  • Cloud solutions outsource security, server hosting, and development to the vendor, meaning that your platform is managed by specialist experts
  • Cloud-based intranets offer unparalleled scalability, allowing enterprises to grow and succeed freely

Cons:

  • Cloud-based intranets operate on a SAAS model, so you rely on your vendor for updates, custom development, and security
  • When you choose an Out-of-the-Box platform, you are essentially working with another person’s toolkit. Any custom developments must be achieved with their existing architecture.

Hybrid intranets

Hybrid intranets combine elements of both on-premise and cloud-based platforms. This allows enterprises to outsource some of the required maintenance and upkeep while retaining closer control of their intranet’s roadmap.

Pros:

  • Enterprises can relinquish the costs of server hosting and security but remain in control of the development and future of their intranet
  • Enterprises can hit the ground running with the building blocks of their platform already laid out, similar to an IAAS model

Cons:

  • Custom development and its associated costs still fall on your enterprise
  • Though offering more granular control than a cloud-based platform, you still rely on the underlying framework provided by your vendor
  • Finding talent with the right expertise can be difficult and more costly, as you require people with extensive knowledge of both your system and your vendor’s infrastructure

Best intranet software guide pages

Guides

How to decide what intranet software is best for you

There is little doubt of the benefits of modern intranet software over an aging, static legacy intranet. But with so many options out there, how do you know where to start? Download our comprehensive guide today to understand the questions you should be asking before deciding upon intranet software.

Download guide

The truth is, this war has already been won, Where each of these options have their merits, it is clear that the market has already decided on the best solution. Cloud-based intranets have risen to prominence and continue to grow in popularity with enterprises around the world.

Gartner predict that 41% of the global enterprise workload was run on public cloud platforms in 2020, while just 22% will rely on hybrid cloud adoption. Further data cited by Forbes suggests only 27% of workloads were on-premise, spelling a 10% drop in just one year.

Launch your enterprise intranet to level up employee experience

An enterprise intranet will be a prerequisite for a compelling employee experience in the new world of work. If you’re looking to enhance productivity and cultivate connectivity in your next chapter, get in touch with our digital workplace experts to begin your intranet launch journey.

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