How Affinity Water uses a single intranet page to transform everyday tasks

The modern intranet is gradually changing the way that employees go about their everyday tasks. With centralised access to forms, policies, documentation and resources, the intranet is now a place where work happens, rather than purely a hub for communication. However, for organisations with users based on the road, who are unfamiliar with how the intranet works, what is the most efficient way of navigating to each of these tools on a daily basis?

Affinity Water, the UK’s largest water supplier, required a new intranet solution to transform internal processes, improve internal communication and boost organisational productivity. Their new Unily intranet, named ‘the Wave’ does just that. Every employee, from the team in Head Office to the Engineers on the road now have a mobile-friendly intranet that provides anywhere, anytime access to essential resources.

Affinity Water wanted to encourage employees to use the Wave to carry out their daily tasks. To make this easy for users, they’ve created a simple yet hugely effective page named ‘I Want To…’ that brings everyday resources into a single place.

The page, which is available from the global navigation to ensure maximum accessibility, features a range of colour-coded boxes, with each colour based on the type of action required. Actions include:

  • Reporting an injury
  • Booking visitor parking
  • Ordering stationary
  • Booking travel
  • Submitting an HR form or policy
  • Accessing the IT Service Portal
  • Requesting a resource
  • Completing an HR Action

Each box then links to either a form on the intranet, a further information page, a document, an external application and more. Despite the search functionality on the intranet, it would take significantly longer for an engineer looking to report a major fault to access the correct form and have confidence that they’re completing the information in the right place. ‘I Want To…’ gives everyone the confidence that the information they’re seeing is the latest and greatest.

By pulling together these actions in a single place, the intranet team are making it easier than ever for employees to complete actions in the right place following the correct procedure. The added benefit for them is that this is also helping to drive adoption of the intranet by making it the only place where these activities can now take place.

In the near future, The Wave will take advantage of Unily’s built-in Analytics to improve and refine the ‘I Want To…’ site. By keeping an eye on search queries and the popularity of each item on the page, content editors can easily determine what other content to add, what to take off or what to demote to a subpage. Analytics will also help to determine the order of the boxes on the page so that regularly accessed links are towards the top of the page.

How was ‘I Want To…’ made?Affinity Water chose to use a Unily Site to create the ‘I Want To…’ page due to the simple functionality that Unily Sites offer. The intranet team at Affinity Water was able to quickly set up the page using drag and drop widgets, rich media and boxed, colour coding sections based on the action required. Drag and drop boxes and an intuitive content experience empowers any user in the business to manage and update the page, without any support from IT or development. As procedures change, ‘I Want To…’ can be updated with ease. This simple page has quickly transformed how their workforce access critical business resources that were previously a challenge to find.

The Affinity Water solution is based on Unily For those who aren’t familiar with Unily, it’s our cloud-based Intranet-as-a-Service product that helps organisations adopt leading collaboration functionality in weeks, instead of years. Our complete digital workplace solution integrates with Office 365, bringing all the different tools together into a seamless user interface, making the varying tools understandable for your users.

How can you maximise productivity on your own intranet?To emulate the tactics of Affinity Water to increase productivity on your own intranet, start by looking at the most important actions that your own employees undertake on a day to day basis. Start by initially linking to these core tools from a central place that’s easily accessible. This could be from a Site as Affinity Water have done or through Essential Links that could feature anywhere on the site. This will make your intranet the gateway for all digital workplace tools, helping to drive adoption. If linking to external systems, look at how these can be more deeply integrated with over time. For example, if your employees have a variety of tasks on different systems such as ServiceNow or Salesforce, you could look to surface all these tasks in a central place on the intranet. This will dramatically improve the ease of use of your digital workplace, while making your employees more efficient.

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