Employees using intranet

5 Key Ingredients of a Modern Intranet

In the past, the main goal of intranets was to provide information and documents from the management and HR to the employees. They usually worked one way, so employees could get the information they needed, but communication in the other direction was not possible. They were mainly boring static internal websites.

Things have changed, technology evolved, and companies started using intranets in many different ways. These days, intranets are much more important to gain competitive advantage and help companies to achieve various goals, for example:

  • enable employees to share their knowledge,
  • improve internal communication between teams and departments,
  • quickly distribute essential information employees need,
  • support the company culture,
  • support business activities and processes,
  • increase employees’ effectiveness via, for example, gamification,
  • provide a self-service area for employees,
  • decrease the volume of requests in, for example, IT support and HR,
  • make work more fun.

To achieve these goals, you will need one crucial thing: up-to-date, engaging, and inspiring content available to all employees, wherever they are. And for providing the content as well as interactivity, utilizing a modern Content Management System is essential.

1. Interactivity Is the Key

Modern intranets need to work both ways. There are no questions about it. Employees should be enabled not only to search for and retrieve information but also to share it and get things done. Intranets have to support business processes.

The most straightforward example is creating tickets or issues, for IT matters and also for any other purpose like requesting a graphic design, updating a web page, or helping with legal documents, translations, etc.

All those options need interactive forms with validation, and a means to assign people or teams to it, set a priority, status, and support further communication in case of questions.

Often, file-sharing is also needed to make it possible to get things done in one place without using separate shared drives (“I have no access to that drive”) or sending files via email (“the file is too big”).

Many companies also provide a feedback form to measure the quality of the work results provided by a given team. Collecting such feedback also needs to be appropriately designed and generate meaningful reports.

Another excellent example of a modern facility many companies implement in their intranets is “360 Degree Feedback” where employees receive valuable anonymous feedback from the people they work with - their managers, peers, and direct reports.

2. Flexibility and Speed Is What You Need

Often, intranets need to be integrated with the company’s other systems to make sure employees can achieve what they need to in one place, without switching from one system to the other, opening tens of windows, and manually copying and merging information from here to there.

Connecting different systems is the most challenging and time-consuming part of almost every web project, so make sure that the CMS you choose offers rich APIs for integration purposes. In the end, this will save you time, money, and nerves.

Intranet users, just like internet users, want information quickly. Typically, they are impatient and get irritated easily. That’s why your intranet must not be slow. If you ignore this point, people will use it only if they have no other choice, and not because this is their preferred way to get involved. If pages on your intranet load longer than 2 or 3 seconds, you should definitely improve the delivery speed.

3. Content Editing Tools Should Be Easy to Handle and Pleasure to Use

From what we saw in the past, the number-one reason why intranets are outdated and neglected is that the content editing interface is hard to learn and complicated to use. There are many forms to fill out, options to change, and publishers never know whether their final work will look right when a page goes live. So, with time, intranet pages are updated less and less often and then forgotten.

Quite often, companies have specialized teams of web publishers who go through extensive training, lasting days, to learn how to use a CMS. In our opinion this is not the optimal set-up. The content editing tools should be so easy and intuitive to use that everyone can get familiar with them quickly and use them with pleasure. This way, content can be published by employees feeling responsible for the content they created.

4. A Fast and Accurate Internal Search Is Essential

Another feature that is usually hugely underestimated is the search engine. Assuming a search engine is even integrated and available, the search results produced by most legacy intranets are next to useless when it comes to finding people and resources due to the ancient technology behind them.

Because of that, employees end up going through dozens of pages returned by the search engine, which results in growing frustration and a vast amount of time wasted. That, in turn, results in people abandoning intranets and trying to get at the information in other ways, usually by calling their colleagues and wasting their time, too.

5. Your Intranet Should Be Mobile

Nowadays, almost all companies have mobile employees who travel a lot, to meet their peers or clients in other locations. Opening a laptop each time they need to do something on an intranet is not very convenient.

There are over 3.9 billion unique mobile internet users worldwide, representing around 51 percent of the global population (Statista, 2019). Over half of the population consumes content on their mobile phones, so when you serve your internal content, make sure you remember the trend. Make sure your intranet is available and optimized for mobile use, too.

Scrivito Can Be the Backbone of Your Intranet

To sum up, the essential ingredients and characteristics of a future-proof intranet are:

  • Easy implementation of interactive mechanisms to support complex business processes, so your intranet works both ways.
  • Flexibility and high speed, so your intranet is a default, one-stop-shop, to get information and get things done in your company.
  • Content editing needs to be easy to learn and pleasure to use, so the employees create content eagerly and keep it fresh all the time.
  • Fast, reliable, and accurate search engine so your employees don’t waste their and their peers’ time to retrieve information.
  • Mobile support enabling your employees to look up important information whenever and wherever they need it, without using only their computers.

The good news is that Scrivito is designed with all the points in mind:

  • It is easy to create interactive digital projects and find experienced developers to build it up. Scrivito uses the most popular and supported technologies: Javascript, React, and AWS.
  • You can integrate all your systems by means of a well-documented API - Scrivito is a headless/ decoupled CMS. You can also deliver your digital assets to end users quickly, from servers located close to your users, thanks to a world-class, global CDN.
  • You can learn how to use Scrivito in 10 minutes, thanks to the intuitive WYSIWYG editor. Full editor training takes less than 4 hours.
  • All indexing and searching is performed by a fast and reliable Elasticsearch cluster. Indexing is done on the fly whenever content is changed or published.
  • To make sure your content does not break on any device, editors can switch between edit and preview modes with one click. Pages can be edited and previewed in several sizes: desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile. This helps with making pages look great on all devices before they are published.

Request a Consultation

If you are looking for a CMS, we can help, from strategy to development. Request a consultation to find out more about Scrivito and why it is the ideal solution for building and running your web projects.

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