How to effectively connect the global organization with an intranet

As more and more employees need to work with colleagues across the globe, the advantages of a fully-featured intranet solution are clear: greater understanding, richer relationships and ultimately a more productive and effective workforce.

In today’s interconnected world, enterprise organizations span multiple countries, languages, and time zones throwing up communications and identity challenges when attempting to work seamlessly as a single global entity. A modern, global intranets bring companies closer together by bringing down barriers and enabling sharing on a whole new level. According to Information Age, 75% of wasted time and effort can be eliminated by adopting unified communications. In turn, that can reduce project times by up to 40%.

Four Common Challenges of the Global Workforce and How to Deal With Them

1. Disconnected teams that don’t know each other

We are all social animals and, although you can never beat face to face, it helps to see and know who you are working with. In the modern digital workplace it is more and more common to work closely with someone you have never met in person. Bring your organization closer together by providing and updating user profiles that highlight core information such as contact details, experience and skill-set and make them readily available to all.

Using a good headshot photo for Office 365, SharePoint and your corporate intranet directory can make conversations, emails and people directories much more personal. As a final point every modern laptop or device has a webcam, or camera, so why not use it for your next Skype for Business call?

2. A US or English language centered intranet

Your head office is important, it’s the hub of operations and typically where the key executives are based. However, too much focus on HQ can leave other offices out in the cold. It is essential to provide the same high-quality tools used at the home base to international colleagues. With a modern, fully-featured intranet solution, all of your users can be on a single global portal.

Creating a multi-lingual intranet experience is vital to bring everyone together with the added benefit of significant cost savings though the rationalization of multiple portals into one. Effective use of personalization features can ensure that relevant content is served up to employees based on role, country, business unit or other facets relevant to your own organization. Analytics can be used to determine which content is popular in each region so you can tailor authoring and content appropriately, maximizing value for employees.

3. Poor portal performance for international users

If your content has lightning fast load times head office but is significantly slower elsewhere, don’t expect offsite users to embrace the solutions provided. Employees will resent using the system and will often adopt alternatives instead, wasting the investments you have made.

Whereas traditional legacy solutions for these challenges have been expensive and required dedicated hardware, support and maintenance; modern cloud based intranets like Unily have developed innovative solutions to tackle these issues through the use of tools such as Azure Traffic Manager. Azure detects where users are and routes users to the content closest to them in addition to enabling intelligent caching.

4. Expensive and time consuming content translations

If the majority of your content is published in English, then converting it to other languages can be an expensive, time consuming and painful exercise. Getting out fresh content in a timely manner is essential for users to find value and adopt the platform.

Automated translation of content from one language to another is a great option. For example, the Bing Translate engine typically provides 95% accuracy and can be leveraged in solutions to provide instant dynamic translations, such as it has been in Unily. When 100% accuracy is absolutely required, for example for your CEO’s strategic briefing, then manual translations are recommended.


The power and benefits of a connected organization that can work as one are well documented. Harvard Business Review states that 71% of respondents in a survey said their use of a cloud based system has increased business agility.

A fully-featured intranet can help to create a connected workforce that works as well over great distances as working with your colleagues in the same building. BrightStarr has developed the Unily Intranet as a Service solution that solves many of the challenges experienced by corporations with an international presence. It does all this while delivering an award-winning user experience combined with a robust evergreen platform.

Unily is a best practice, but customizable, turnkey solution that can be deployed in a fraction of the time of a custom solution. Unily is a managed offering that includes SLA-backed support and regular free upgrades in response to changes in Office 365 and BrightStarr’s customer driven roadmap. The pricing is transparent, all-inclusive and fixed for the term of the contract providing predictable budget forecasts.

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