Contrary to popular belief, the intranet is not entirely obsolete. The average intranet needs a face lift, and a new technology platform, but the intranet is still seen as a critical communications and business process system in most organizations.
However, the intranet’s bad reputation is not entirely unfounded. CMS Wire says employees tend to shy away from their intranet because of the lack of employee training, poor user interfaces, and lack of updates. In essence, employees refuse to use the intranet because it isn’t modern. Today’s workplace is far more advanced than those even five or six years ago; intranet need to cater to more modern audiences.
Intranets must leap into the 21st century, and in particular, embrace mobile and social computing. Modernizing the intranet must be a top priority.
Many digital experts predict that organizations in the future will adopt a mobile-first approach. Various studies also show how mobile usage numbers are rising aggressively as compared to figures for desktop use.
With this in mind, it would be a wise decision for corporations to jump on the mobile bandwagon. Because the intranet should be used frequently by employees, it should be optimized for the devices employees use as well. This is especially important for remote employees, or professionals who travel a lot for business purposes. Mobile integration will provide employees a more convenient access to relevant information and interaction with co-workers.
Between 20-30% of intranets are already hosted in the cloud.And that number will skyrocket as more companies look to hosted solutions such as Office 365.
Cloud storage offers a more cost-effective solution for companies. Traditionally, those that have on-premise intranet have to set up their own server and intranet design. But moving the intranet to the cloud would result in less management and maintenance from a company’s end. This would also allow the intranet to be accessed from any location, which is another useful feature for remote employees.
Social media has transformed everyday life, permeating everything from how companies operate to how people communicate with each other. Therefore, it is not surprising that even the intranet can benefit from social components. Besides being an internal communications platform that allows for announcements and updates, a modern intranet system should also provide social features, such as posting, chatting, sharing, tagging, liking, and much more. IntranetBlog.com has highlighted, on more than one occasion, that a social intranet can improve the productivity of knowledge workers by 20 to 25% with instant messaging being the most preferred social communication tool.
Adding social intranet tools or widgets is not simply about keeping up with a trend, but rather, about promoting more collaboration among staff. With social features, employees can share what they’re currently working on, and others may join the conversation, give advice or offer feedback. Even something as simple as integrating e-mail accounts to the company intranet can do a world of good for promoting open communication. This is especially vital in organizations that hold massive amounts of company, inventory, and user data, such as ecommerce companies.
Canada is home to a large ecommerce customer base, as referenced in Ayima’s white paper on the state of Canadian ecommerce. In fact, some 72% of millennials browse online with the intention of buying something, while 65% of 35-54 year-olds do the same. These numbers are only set to increase with the rise in adoption and acceptance of online retailers. With this in mind, the intranet is a good way to bridge online sales and information services throughout an ecommerce site; connectiong everything from publishing and document management to workflow and training.
Content and Code’s David Bowman also emphasizes the need for modern intranet systems to provide avenues for personalization. The concept of the intranet being one single thing to everyone does not apply anymore. Bowman explains that the intranet should be able to provide a tailored experience for each user based on his of her work, company role, and connections. Hence, intranet platforms should have options for customization and special features for those in specific positions. If people see information that’s relevant to them, they are more likely to keep using the intranet.
Employees will certainly find an intranet with an artificial intelligence assistant application more useful, because it can gather useful insights and create intelligent decisions that can help users streamline their tasks. With automated tasks and predicted searches, a person’s work efficiency may increase considerably. Of course, artificial intelligence will only be effective the more people use the intranet, since it will examine work patterns and gather data about users.
Employees demand a modern intranet. And many companies must adapt and evolve to keep pace with the rapid advance in web-based and intranet technology.