Modern intranets have a huge amount of potential to make your workforce more productive, saving time and money. From working with our dynamic user-base of Unily clients, we see more and more people using their intranet to streamline business processes and simplify task completion, using a variety of techniques.
We’ve put together 6 of our favorite ways your intranet software can help to send your productivity stratospheric, helping to squeeze even more out of your intranet investment.
#1. Centralize digital workplace tools
This is a simple one and something that should be replicated on any intranet solution. With employees using a huge range of tools to complete daily tasks such as Salesforce, Expensify, Workday, SAP and hundreds more, your intranet can act as the starting place. By providing a directory of approved applications where users can bookmark their favorites, you not only cut time searching but also give users confidence that the applications they’re using are advocated and up to date.
#2. Simplify business processes
Whether it’s sending a document for review, completing the latest health and safety form, signing up for an all company meeting or something more specific, your intranet can be a powerful tool to streamline business processes. How you manage this within your intranet depends entirely on what you’re looking to do but the simplest ways are through approval processes and workflows which are built into your intranet software.
Here’s some examples:
- Most intranet solutions have the ability to use digital forms across the intranet, allowing people to complete data there and then rather than having to print something out. Use case examples could be embedding a form directly onto an event page, or replacing an HR policy PDF with a new form accessible from the HR site. Form submission data then sits straight in your intranet, allowing editors to review and take action as necessary.
- Another simple example is streamlining a content approval process, such as a new blog post. A content writer can complete their content within the portal, send the content for approval, which then generates a notification for their manager to approve the piece. The writer would then receive a notification when the piece has been approved or published.
- Intranets such as Unily gives teams the ability to create flexible sites and pages made up of widgets, boxes, text and images. An easy way to simplify business processes is to use these sites to make your intranet more task focused. For example, you could have a central page for common requests and tasks that employees complete on a day-to-day basis such as submitting an expense report, requesting a company car or booking a holiday. (Learn how Affinity Water manage this on their intranet here.)These can easily be pulled together using modern intranet software, helping to cut time employees spend searching for day-to-day tools.
#3. Reduce search time
People are usually navigators or searchers, and your intranet needs to cater for both. The center of your intranet should be a well organized navigation, with drop downs leading to further organized sites. If content is hidden within links within pages, employees will spend excess time looking for the information they need.
A solid navigation also needs to be supported by an intelligent global search that brings back a range of content based on keywords. This is how the majority of modern apps and search engines work and it’s what your employees will be familiar with.
Unily allows employees to search by a keyword such as ‘Vacation’, which then brings back relevant documents, Sites, people, articles, blogs and more in an organized pane. This advanced functionality has made Information Architecture planning easier, as a solid Search is always there to support.
#4. Streamline task management
Taking productivity to the next level, an intelligent intranet solution is one that can integrate with the tools your employees are already using to manage tasks, such as Salesforce or Workday. Look at how you can integrate these systems deeper into your intranet, enabling people to undertake activities without switching context between systems. For example, personalized tasks and activities from Workday could be displayed in a feed within the intranet, combined with other personalized tasks from Salesforce or Expensify.
Users could then review all tasks across all digital workplace systems that they need to complete, allowing them to take action directly within the intranet. These integrations can often be set up in a fairly lightweight way using a pluggable connector framework with product specific APIs, safe-proofing the setup if either your intranet solution or the external application go through updates.
#5. Bring people together in online spaces
If your teams work across time zones and departments, it’s essential to provide an adequate place for them to collaborate online. Your intranet software should enable them to quickly set up online pages that bring together knowledge management, task management, social conversations, people and more. By bringing this information together, you’re cutting down the time spent searching through email threads for attachments and actions, helping people to get on with the work that really matters.
#6. Simplify knowledge management
In a global organization, knowledge management can often be complex, with a variety of options for storing and sharing content. We’ve seen productivity increase across our clients’ portals as these disperse tools are consolidated and integrated within the intranet. Taking Office 365 as an example, use your intranet to advocate which tools should be used and when. From a central document repository, allow users to search between security-trimmed OneDrive, SharePoint and Delve documents. This will pull back documents private to them, that have been shared with them or that sit within SharePoint Sites they have access to.
To simplify this process further, enable users to upload documents from within the central repository, simply choosing where they want the document to sit. By bringing this functionality together in a central place, enhanced with better search functionality, you can cut down time users spend searching for items which should be at their fingertips.
Knowledge management can be enhanced further by surfacing relevant knowledge around the intranet. For example, allow HR policies to sit directly on the HR Site, dynamically rolled up by Tag or by Folder. By allowing documents to be quickly and easily rolled up around the intranet, dynamically updated, you can make it easier than ever for users to find the documents they’re looking for, improving productivity.
How do you implement this in your business?
When considering the next phase of your digital workplace, don’t let communications take over the requirements gathering. Modern intranet software should do so much more to help streamline processes and make people more productive. The important thing to keep in mind is how to do this in the right way for your own organization. Intranet software such as Unily can often be a good place to start, allowing you to use out-of-the-box functionality to quickly streamline some simple processes.
When considering further integrations and configurations with external systems, it’s imperative to do this in a way that will be flexible in the future. For example, see how you can bring external data into your intranet using an extendable connector framework utilizing application data feeds or APIs. This keeps your implementation flexible and un-customized, catering for the future as your business moves on and benefit from continuous updated from an evergreen intranet platform.