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How to Choose an Intranet – A Comprehensive Guide


Mohammed Umar

How to Choose an Intranet – A Comprehensive Guide

Businesses in the past, present, and future have and always will rely on effective communication and collaboration among employees. They are the cornerstones of an engaging work culture, fostering connection, empowerment, and engagement among employees. Modern intranets offer tools that address the comms-collab aspects of any organization, irrespective of the industry, and have become a centerpiece of today’s productive workplace. If you’re new to the concept of modern intranets or looking to upgrade your existing intranet, you’ve come to the right place.

By the end of this guide, you’ll have a better understanding of what an intranet is, why it is crucial for businesses, and how to choose one.

What is an Intranet and Why does your organization need one?

An intranet is a private network that serves as a centralized hub for internal communication, collaboration, and information sharing within an organization. These platforms provide employees with a secure and accessible space to connect with colleagues, access important documents and resources, and stay up to date with company news. But the intranets of today have come a long way from just being a tool to share company news or documents. They’re now a full-fledged digital workplace with exceptional capabilities and customizations. An intranet fosters communication, allows for knowledge sharing, and encourages teamwork – everything you need to build a positive work culture. They’re also accessible from anywhere at any time.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Intranet

Defining Strategy and Evaluating Current Digital Workplace

A successful intranet implementation begins with a clear strategy and a thorough evaluation of your organization’s current workplace. Before diving into selecting an intranet solution, it’s crucial to understand what kind of intranet you need and how it will fit in with your operations.

Start by assessing your organization’s goals, objectives, and unique requirements. Consider the size of your workforce, the nature of your industry, and the specific challenges you aim to address through an intranet. Define the desired outcomes and benefits you expect from implementing an intranet, whether it’s improved communication, enhanced collaboration, increased employee engagement or streamlined document management.

Once you have a clear understanding of your objectives, it’s time to evaluate your current digital workplace infrastructure.

How To Audit Your Current Systems?

Evaluate your DMS and assess its effectiveness in organizing and accessing critical documents and files. Consider the ease of use, search capabilities, and version control features. Look for any bottlenecks or inefficiencies in the current system that an intranet could make easier.

Next, examine your communication tools and channels. Assess the effectiveness of your current communication methods and determine if there are any gaps or redundancies that could be addressed through a centralized intranet platform.

How well your current tools promote employee engagement and organizational culture are other aspects worth consideration. Evaluate how you currently foster a sense of community and collaboration among your workforces. Assess the level of engagement and participation and identify any areas where an intranet could help.

Clearly assess the desired culture and compare it to the existing culture to identify gaps and areas for improvement. Evaluate the company’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion. Look for initiatives and programs in an intranet that encourage diversity and build a positive culture.

The goal should be to unify these disparate aspects of your digital workplace under a single platform.

Role Definition During Intranet Choosing

When it comes to choosing an intranet for your organization, it’s essential to involve key stakeholders from different departments to ensure that everyone’s needs and goals are met. Assigning clear roles and responsibilities to different teams can ease the decision-making process and lead to a more successful intranet implementation.

In the intranet selection process, your HR team can contribute by identifying features that support employee recognition, performance management, learning and development, and self-service HR functionalities. Their insights will help ensure that the intranet keeps employees happy and engaged.

Your IT team can provide valuable input on the compatibility of the intranet with existing IT infrastructure, security and privacy requirements, data storage and governance, and integrations. Involving IT from the beginning helps align the intranet choice with the organization’s technical capabilities and ensures a smooth implementation process. For instance, if your organization is already using Office 365, looking for intranets that readily integrate with your office applications like Teams and SharePoint can be a smart decision. No hassles of deployment and integration means you save a lot of time and effort.

The communications team can contribute by identifying features that offer targeted messaging, news and announcements, event management, and multimedia content publishing. Marketing heads can help in identifying intranets with good UI and branding capabilities. Department heads or functional leads can provide insights into the unique needs of their respective teams. They can identify features that cater to their specific workflows, collaboration requirements, and data management.

And finally, by involving the leadership team, you can align the intranet with the organization’s vision and strategic priorities, ensuring that it becomes a catalyst for driving organizational success. The result is an intranet that enhances communication, collaboration, and productivity throughout the organization, leading to improved business outcomes and a thriving digital workplace.

Defining Mobile and Frontline Requirements
Mobile and frontline workers are an integral part of an organization, and their unique requirements should be considered when designing an intranet. Here are the defining mobile and frontline requirements of an intranet, as well as an evaluation of how it can make a difference for these workers:
Mobile Requirements:

Responsive Design: The intranet should be optimized for mobile devices, ensuring that it can adapt to various screen sizes and resolutions. Native mobile apps are better

Offline Access: Mobile workers often operate in areas with limited or no internet connectivity. The intranet should have offline capabilities, allowing users to access important information while offline and immediately sync when online.

Mobile Collaboration: The intranet should provide mobile-friendly collaboration tools such as messaging, document sharing, and people directory, enabling mobile workers to collaborate with colleagues and access necessary resources on the go.

Frontline Requirements:

Simplified Interface: Frontline workers often have limited technology experience, so the intranet should have a user-friendly and intuitive interface, minimizing complexity and focusing on essential functions.

Access to Information: Frontline workers require quick access to relevant information, such as company policies, procedures, product/service updates, and customer data. The intranet should provide easy navigation and search capabilities to retrieve information efficiently.

Task Management: Frontline workers often have specific tasks and responsibilities. The intranet should offer task management features, enabling them to track, update, and prioritize tasks, ensuring better productivity and accountability.

Non- Functional Requirements

In addition to the functional requirements that define what an intranet should do, there are non-functional requirements that focus on how it should perform, deploy, and integrate. Implementation requirements involve factors that influence the deployment and set-up of the intranet. Security is a key consideration, as the intranet should adhere to industry best practices and employ robust measures to protect sensitive information from unauthorized access.

Integration requirements pertain to the intranet’s ability to seamlessly connect with existing systems and applications within the organization’s technology landscape. The intranet should support standard protocols and APIs, ensuring compatibility with various platforms and smooth data exchange across systems.

Data hosting is another checkbox you should tick before choosing an intranet. On SharePoint based intranets like PeopleOne, all your company data is hosted on your O365 tenant. Also, SharePoint-based intranets leverage the features and capabilities of SharePoint, including document management, version control, workflows, and integration with Microsoft Office applications.

Multilingual capabilities are essential for organizations with a diverse workforce or branches located in different regions around the world. This ensures that employees can access and understand the intranet content in their native language.

An intranet with basic analytics available within the application is a must have. Usage analytics from employees captured through likes, comments, and authoring determines employee’s content engagement levels, and this data helps in understanding what content and functionalities are resonating with users. You can access and alter your engagement strategies and make informed decisions rather than shooting in the dark.

Customization and Scalability

Every organization has unique requirements based on its industry, nature of work, and number of employees, and the intranet should be able to accommodate these specific needs.

Look for an intranet solution that offers a high degree of branding and flexibility, allowing you to customize the layout, features, and functionality according to your specific requirements. This customization may involve creating custom widgets, integrating industry-specific tools or applications, and designing workflows that align with your business processes.

As your business expands and the number of employees increases, the intranet should be able to handle the additional load without sacrificing performance. A scalable intranet solution can accommodate a growing user base, increased data volume, and higher demands on resources. This scalability ensures that your intranet remains responsive, efficient, and reliable as your business evolves.

Vendor Check

Choosing the right vendor for your intranet solution is a critical decision that can significantly impact the success of your digital workplace.

First, exploring different vendors and conducting thorough research is essential. Look beyond the usual and consider factors such as data security, product flexibility, ease of use, and implementation.

Next, examine the vendor’s portfolio and experience in delivering intranet solutions. Review case studies and client testimonials to gauge their credibility. This will help you assess whether the vendor has relevant experience in your industry or with organizations similar to yours.

Intranet technology is constantly evolving, and a vendor that regularly updates their product demonstrates their commitment to staying current with the latest trends and technologies. Look for vendors who consistently release new features, enhancements, and security updates to ensure that your intranet solution remains robust, secure, and aligned with future needs. Also look for a vendor with a reliable and responsive support team that can quickly address any issues or concerns.

Why PeopleOne

Choosing the right intranet platform is crucial for embracing a world-class digital employee experience, and PeopleOne is perfect. With its employee-centric approach, seamless integration of digital tools and platforms, and empowering employee self-service capabilities, PeopleOne provides a comprehensive solution for your organization to create a digital workplace that enhances communications, engagement, and overall organizational success.

We Care About Security

Built over SharePoint’s three levels of security i.e., user level, infra level and content level, PeopleOne is a fortress. PeopleOne’s authentication methods include Active Directory integration and multi-factor authentication, which means only authorized users can access the intranet. And all the data stored in SharePoint is encrypted at rest and in transit. Your intranet administrators will have granular control over user access. They can set permissions at the site, library, folder, and item level. This allows you to restrict access to sensitive information to only those who need it.

We Prioritize User Experience

PeopleOne’s super responsive design adapts to different screen sizes and provides a consistent experience for your employees irrespective of their device. Our robust SharePoint based search functionality delivers accurate results in no time. Our built-in gamification elements make the intranet experience more enjoyable.

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