Choosing the best intranet solution for your business

Long gone are the days when the word ‘intranet’ conjured images of a static, text-heavy, top-down communication vehicle. The best intranet software now acts as the nervous system of an organization – allowing the head and the limbs to communicate with ease, unrestricted by size, global spread or choice of device. But the choice of intranet service providers is vast and it is tricky at first glance to differentiate between them. So what needs to be considered when shopping for the best intranet solution for your business?

All intranet solutions are NOT created equal

Whether you are updating an existing system, rebranding or starting from scratch, you need the best intranet solution that offers the best possible ROI with minimum disruption during the implementation phase. So what benefits can your organization expect from your new intranet software?

  • Streamlined business practices: Easy surfacing of all critical knowledge and policies.
  • Innovation and idea generation: Pooling new ideas and solutions from your in-house experts across the organization.
  • Agility, adaptability and responsiveness: With your frontline empowered to share their knowledge and experience, a business can respond quickly to external market forces.
  • Sociability: Adding a social element to offer a healthier work/life balance, as well as engaging your home-based or non-desk workers, will create a positive experience. Studies prove that happy employees are more productive, creative and motivated.
  • Greater sense of community: Making it easier to find a colleague through their specialism, role or location with a sophisticated people directory and profile search.
  • Enhanced collaboration: Breaking down silos and providing a forum for teams to share information and work together irrespective of location.
  • Improved productivity: With all your critical business apps and tools and resources located in one central hub, everything your employee needs is at their fingertips. 

Aside from the benefits listed above, what further aspects need to be taken into account when sourcing the best intranet solution?

Creating the best intranet software for you - what you should consider

#1. Will the intranet grow with the business?

Is the business intranet software flexible enough to grow with your business? The ability to keep your employees up to speed as your business expands and becomes more complex is crucial. A flexible platform will be scalable and grow organically with your organization without the need for further technological development and the resulting disruption and cost. As a guide, make a note of the other clients hosted by your potential software provider to ensure they have the requisite experience in dealing with an enterprise of your scale.

#2. How to ensure continued success post-launch?

You’ve found your perfect (software) partner, they’ve understood your business’s unique needs and have designed an intranet that’s as functional as it is visually appealing – but this alone will not guarantee a high level of onboarding nor continued engagement.

Time-pressure is an unavoidable workplace companion and as a result, employees can be resistant to new systems and software. Staff with less technical ability or confidence may also be wary. This is where on-going support and expertise from an experienced intranet solutions provider comes in. The launch of your intranet should form the start, not the end, of a relationship with your intranet provider.

A dedicated success manager for your platform backed by a specialist technical and support team, will provide on-going analysis and performance review, identify areas that need improvement and plan for the future, ensuring your intranet stays fresh and dynamic.

#3. Speaking their language – multilingual translation

One of the aims of your intranet is to overcome the traditional barriers to communicating across the breadth of your organization. Not only should it make content and communication flow irrespective of location and device but ideally it will do so in your employees’ native language. Choose an intranet software provider with experience in translating content for a global audience and avoid embarrassing ‘lost in translation’ incidents which risk alienating your target audience. It’s no longer enough simply to reach your distant employees – to keep them engaged and motivated, you need to speak their language. Does your chosen provider utilize Artificial Intelligence to bolster their translation service? As AI gains prominence, natural language processing will become key to delivering a seamless multilingual platform and is also a good indicator of how innovative your provider is. 

#4. Easy like Sunday morning – painless integration

Many of the intranet software providers promote a one-size-fits-all solution but this type of broad approach will not cater for your company’s unique offering. Look for intranet solutions that offer a customized platform which is independent of any other applications and that will integrate seamlessly with your existing systems such as Office 365. It should also have the capacity to assimilate the third party applications your staff may already be using such as Dropbox or Chatter as well as your existing search engine.

In terms of data storage and security, whilst most organizations have adopted the cloud, this may not suit all, so the technology behind the platform should be adaptable enough to provide on-site or hybrid based architectural solutions.

#5. Power to the People – tools to create, share and collaborate

The best intranet software incorporates intuitive, user-friendly tools that encourage even the most technology-shy employees to get involved. Intuitive Pages, Grids and Widgets structures eliminate the need for complex coding and will motivate your staff to create their own content, whether it’s a headline banner announcing a new success or a push notification to alert their peers to an upcoming social event. If it’s easy to use, your adoption figures will soar. Look for an intranet solution with intuitive Content Management Systems (CMS) that permits use by non-technical users. Empowering the teams closest to the everyday operations of your people - Internal Communications, Knowledge Management and Human Resources - to take ownership of your platform allows you to achieve a solution that is more intimately tailored to user needs. The result? Adoption, adoption, adoption.

#6. Stress-free IT

The role of IT is changing. Security and overall transformation strategy are dominating the focus of the IT department, leaving little room for overseeing what is often seen as an internal communications project. Thus, a key consideration when adopting any new software is the potential strain it will place on your IT department. Critical or time-sensitive content needs to be shared without placing an extra burden on the IT team which can cause unnecessary delay, particularly if an employee is based remotely. Finding an intranet solution with an intuitive CMS and inclusive service support will prevent bottlenecks and leave IT free to focus on big-picture innovation.

#7. Tailored content  

The way people prefer to receive content is as personal as the way they take their coffee. With a dynamic, intuitive intranet system, your employees can be reached through their chosen medium in the form of Blogs, Videos, News Announcements or Alerts. Not only can they choose how to engage with their company’s content but they can control what they receive as well. Nothing kills an adoption rate like having to trawl through non-targeted information - the best intranet software will allow your employees to determine the topics they want to see in their news feeds through a targeted homepage. And with an option to tag topics and assign audiences, your content will always reach a receptive party.

#8. Industry recognition 

The array of intranet solutions and service providers is bewildering and whilst they all promise to deliver the same value and service, the trick is knowing who to trust. This is where industry recognition can assist such as the ClearBox Intranet Report.

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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.

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