In today’s busy world, intranets are becoming increasingly necessary to stay organized and efficient within your organization. Asking the question “should we have an intranet?” is becoming similar to asking “should we use computers?” The question is no longer “if” you should implement an intranet; the question is now “how.” And the reason for this shift is due to the immense benefits that intranets offer the members of the organization they are implemented in.
These benefits can be boiled down into a single word – Collaboration.
Intranets allow teams to work together better without having to be together physically or meet together as frequently. The larger a company grows, the more difficult it is to retain a culture of collaboration. This is where intranets come in as a key tool in the digital workplace to enable teams to stay tightly knit even as they expand their footprint across a town, region, country, etc.
If you or your organization is considering an intranet, read on for the 6 benefits that most intranets solutions have to offer!
1. Content Management
This feature is probably the most frequently stated benefit of an intranet. In fact, intranets are often considered to be synonymous with CMS (Content Management System). Content most often includes documents, but can be any kind of electronically stored content – videos, images, calendars, task lists, forms, blueprints, web pages, frequently asked questions, process documentation, etc. Although the term “content management” seems to be a bit of a buzzword these days, this feature is a massive benefit because it allows intranet users to have one place where they can store, find, and use any content that they have created or that their coworkers have created. Most intranets allow “co-authoring” of content – a faster way to develop documents and other content as a team without having to email attachments.
2. Business Collaboration
“Social” – it’s still a dirty word in many organizations. But social collaboration within a business can offer a significant boost to productivity, to knowledge sharing, and to flattening an organization so that senior leaders can learn more from front-line employees faster than ever before. Intranets offer one place for all of these things to occur, leading to greater efficiency and the ability to work together better.
You may have heard that the average worker spends 20% of their time looking for the info they need to get their job done (if there are 1,000 employees in your organization, you’re probably spending over $10 million each year on people searching for stuff!) Intranets are an important part of the solution to this problem. Not only do they enable employees to search all of the content stored in the intranet, they can also sync with other data systems, enabling employees to have one place to search for everything.
4. Online Forms and Business Process
In addition to storing content of all types, intranets also deliver specialized and flexible process automation tools. As one example, processes can be attached to certain kinds of documents in order to ensure that they pass through a specific approval process. Processes can also be linked to online forms to alert employees, escalate issues, or handle routing requests. Generally, these features are a rapid way that businesses can set up processes that are unique to them, without requiring an off-the-shelf app and/or custom application development.
5. Business Intelligence
Many intranets are now adding business intelligence (BI) features. BI enables organizations to summarize data from multiple source systems into a single tool for dashboards, reports, key performance indicators (KPIs) and other analytical features. This means fewer places that employees have to go to find the information that they’re looking for, and more collaboration around improving business metrics.
6. Sites and Portals
Everything in an intranet is part of a site. Most intranets enable businesses to wrap any of the items mentioned above into customized sites or portals. Different departments (such as HR, IT, sales, etc.) may have their own site. Sites may also be formed around cross-team topics and communities (such as project management, KPIs, employee training, etc.). Imagine an HR site that includes PTO templates, expense reimbursement forms, frequently asked benefit questions, key contact numbers for issue resolution, a calendar of employee training events … and you get the idea of what can be included in a site. This feature helps maintain organization so that everything stored in the intranet has its proper place.
What do you think?
Are these benefits appealing to you/your organization? How is your organization using (or hoping to use) an intranet? Share your thoughts below.