With an increased number of remote workers and a vast choice of digital tools available for use, it’s getting more challenging to unite your enterprise's people, technology, and knowledge. If your organization relies on a multi-platform approach, you become more vulnerable to silos and the likelihood for miscommunication skyrockets. What does it take to sidestep segmentation and make technology the productivity enabler it has always been intended to be? Savvy leaders are increasingly looking to modern intranet software to unlock their workforce's fullest potential.
Reinvent your intranet for the employee experience era.
An intranet is essentially a private network of users given access to a select set of tools and enterprise technology. It is a secure way of sharing information and data between users that, in a business setting, allows your employees to easily and safely collaborate and interact from one central system.
It can help to think of intranets as an internal website, reserved only for members of your organization.
There are three main components of an intranet: Hardware, the platform itself, and the applications.
Intranet hardware refers to the servers upon which the rest of the intranet software, applications, and data is held. There are various approaches to intranet hardware, such as on-premise or cloud-based solutions, or a hybrid of the two. Regardless of the chosen hardware, these servers typically allow users entry to the intranet by accessing a portal and entering their login details.
An on-premise solution (where the intranet platform is entirely hosted on a server at the business’ own site) are generally managed, updated, backed up and so on by on site staff. However, due to the complexity of maintenance, all but the largest businesses, or those not constrained by industry standards, are moving away from this model. Instead businesses are opting for a cloud-based intranet or a combination of the two, known as hybrid.
As workforces become more mobile, cloud-based intranet software is providing enterprises with the technology to communicate, collaborate and drive productivity effectively. Unily's award-winning cloud intranet combines beautiful design with unparalleled functionality to deliver a best-in-class digital workplace solution that empowers employees to work smarter, wherever they might be.
An intranet platform is the piece, or collection, of software from which everything else in an intranet hangs and interacts. The best platforms bring together communications tools, collaboration apps and data bases to work seamlessly with each other, tailored to a business’ specific needs. The intranet platform is essentially the framework that the rest of the intranet is built on. For instance, Unily’s platform enables clients to create unique intranets that exactly meet their requirements through unrestricted configuration and customization.
Finally, the applications used within an intranet are basically the different digital tools built into the platform that enable users to do things like collaborate on documents or share communications to the rest of your organization. These are the computing tools that employees use to do their work, communicate and collaborate with each other and store and retrieve information. Think the Microsoft 365 suite or G-Suite of tools.
These are the programs and tools that employees use on a daily basis to get work done, that within your intranet store and share data and work with each other behind-the-scenes to deliver seamless digital experiences. Getting all of these elements to work together is only half the story of creating an effective intranet system. For the intranet to truly work for a business, employees need to buy into it, which is only possible if it is relevant, reliable and easy to use.
With plug and play installation and a host of pre-configured integrations, Unily's powerful integrations framework makes it simple to bring your existing enterprise technology into a single pane of glass experience.
Whether you're launching your first intranet solution or redesigning a legacy platform, there are a host of priorities that leaders must weigh throughout the design process. To streamline your to-do list and ensure your forthcoming solution truly delivers, keep the following must-haves on your radar:
Whether fully cloud-based or through a hybrid build, the scalability and flexibility that the cloud offers make it the go-to choice for a next-generation intranet.
A cloud intranet provides employees with secure access to all the tools and resources they need to work anywhere, at any time, from any device. As our workforces become more mobile, cloud-based intranets are providing enterprises with the technology to communicate, collaborate, and drive productivity effectively.
Today's modern enterprise is globally dispersed, with employees spread across various sites and locations. Your company intranet must be flexible to accommodate users in head office, those working remotely, and colleagues on the frontline. Each of these employees will need different things from your platform, and while desktop access may suffice for office workers, those working on the move or the frontline will require mobile-first design to ensure they are kept in the loop and made to feel a valued member of your organization. Push notifications, offline reading, and intuitive and seamless UX extend your full intranet to mobile users, ensuring your entire workforce remains connected.
The key to an engaging and lively platform is giving users the opportunity to make their voice heard and shape the digital experience themselves. Content and communications go a long way towards this, but nothing can match the interactions and connections that a social intranet creates. Whether its an all company feed where users can stay up to date with news across your organization or private feeds for teams and departments to collaborate together on projects, enterprise social features empower people to get involved in valuable conversations on your platform.
You should expect your platform to meet the highest benchmarks for data control and security, adopting internationally recognized standards for the management of Business Information Security with both ISO27001 and SOC 2 accreditation.
Security runs deeper than just technology and platforms. Being able to effectively manage who has access to what in your enterprise portal ensures secure content stays that way. Group users into easily managed security groups and then set their access rights across your entire portal for both viewing and editing different content.
Your solution should have a powerful integrations framework that makes it quick and easy to pull your existing enterprise technology through into your intranet. Third-party applications should be integrated seamlessly into your platform, reducing the need for users to switch between multiple systems to leverage tools and find information, ultimately boosting employee productivity. You should also prioritize a unified search experience that makes it easy for users to get their eyes on crucial information near instantaneously.
One of the keys to ensuring high adoption is designing your intranet to be as intuitive and familiar for your users as possible. Having to train for and learn a new platform is often detrimental to adoption as it places a wall between your users and your technology. A platform that is easy to use straight from the start invites all your people to incorporate it into their work processes, allowing your platform to become a go-to hub for employee needs.
Focus on designing and building out your intranet to be as straightforward for your users as possible, so that when it comes time to launch you need not worry about adoption or retraining people to use your platform.
3 insights for launching an intranet with superior UX
In an age when employee experience reigns supreme, launching an intranet with user-centered design has never been more critical. Leaders mistakenly believe that the key to designing unparalleled workplace technology lies in eye-catching graphics or cutting-edge features. The simple truth is that a superior UX comes down to discovering what matters most to end-users.
Communications for global enterprises can be tricky when users from various countries and regions use your platform. To maximize reach and engagement, you need an intranet that is convenient, relevant, and tailored for your users, so ensuring that your platform is available in their preferred language can make a big difference towards upping participation levels. Look for AI-powered multilingual translation to slash the time and resources needed to publish your content in various languages.
The only way to continue to derive ongoing value from your intranet is to ensure that you maintain an agile approach to development and adapt your platform in-line with the evolving needs of your organization. Track and measure the use and engagement with your intranet to better understand the trends and needs of your users, allowing you to make informed decisions on the future direction of your platform.
An analytics dashboard lets you keep track of the performance of your intranet with ease. Either use a preconfigured dashboard or build your own custom dashboards to report on the metrics and data you value. Benchmark your success against other enterprises of similar size or industry to see how your intranet's performance stacks up.
The first step to digital transformation starts with finding the best intranet software for your organization. If you're still working on making your own selection and beginning your design process, check out our guides and blog content on launching your intranet solution. For those eager to get started, reach out to our digital workplace experts to begin your intranet journey.
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.