How to Bring Your Intranet Into the 21st Century And Why You Want To
There are many online and cloud-based solutions being implemented by companies these days. This can make an internal intranet network feel redundant, clunky, and dated.
However, it’s important to consider how your intranet can serve your company. Here is a quick rundown of how an intranet works, why it’s beneficial, and how you can upgrade your current setup to serve a cutting-edge, 21st-century operation.
What Is an Intranet?
Before breaking down the benefits and modern aspects of an intranet, it’s important to differentiate what, exactly, a modern intranet network is.
Internet and Intranet, What’s the Difference?
Both internet and intranet are digital spaces that specialize in the transfer and communication of data. However, the similarities tend to stop there.
The common term internet refers to a public digital forum that anyone can use to access, upload, and download information
An intranet is a much smaller, privatized space. While it functions in many ways like the internet, an intranet is exclusive to a company or organization. It requires credentialed logins, is only available to company personnel, and contains internally-facing data.
If internet and intranet were a retail store, the former would be the customer-facing elements like the customer service counter or the shopping space. The latter would be the stockroom, back office, and other employee-exclusive areas of the workspace.
The Evolution of the Intranet
Intranets have been a common corporate tool for over two decades. Originally an intranet system’s job was simple. It helped with storing and distributing documents. Full stop.
However, as with all tech-related items, over time, the concept of the intranet has continued to develop. It has branched out to cover more company-related activities, most of which revolve around that basic need to share information.
For instance, modern corporations use their intranet to share documentation, as always. However, they can also use it to propagate digital items like upgrades and org charts throughout an organization’s internal system.
In a sense, a modern intranet serves as a sort of town square or a central hub for a company’s digital activity. It has become the private, employee-only center of digital operations.
Why Is Intranet Helpful?
When used correctly, an intranet allows a company to tap into several powerful benefits, including:
- A more developed and identifiable company culture as cultivated and represented in your unique intranet network;
- An easier way to grant and revoke employee permissions and access to sensitive company information;
- A greater sense of visibility and transparency across various verticals in your organization — i.e. avoiding information silos;
- Improved collaboration with a central system in place that anyone with access can search and utilize;
- Greater productivity through less need for unnecessary questions, communications, or the repeated sending of documentation;
- Providing a centralized internal space in a remote or hybrid workplace for your team to operate within, regardless of their location.
- The ability to secure and oversee your company’s sensitive documentation and other data.
There are many reasons to continue to have an intranet in any sizable organization. However, if you do so, you want to go about setting it up and maintaining it the right way.
How to Upgrade Your Intranet
It’s not hard to see the potential benefits of a good intranet system. Nevertheless, as with all tech, there are downsides to an intranet as well. A few of the biggest concerns to keep in mind include:
- A company-exclusive network can make inter-company collaboration difficult at times;
- It’s easy to suffer from a low adoption rate in an already overly complex, tech-driven work environment;
- Updates and IT administration can be a chore;
- Cybersecurity is a concern, especially when an intranet system operates on dated software, which is common.
The good news is you can address these issues and still capitalize on the benefits of intranet in your business. Here are a few areas that you want your IT to focus on if you want your intranet network to help rather than hinder your business:
Do your best to integrate your intranet system with your company communication tool of choice.
Integrate Elsewhere, Too
Communication is key. However, any other apps that can integrate with your intranet can also reduce time spent switching between apps and rectifying or copying data.
Reduce Extraneous Applications
The modern worker is inundated with apps. Whenever possible, simplify your work apps and keep your team running on a lean and mean tech stack.
It’s easy for an intranet system to get cluttered with information. Make sure it’s easy to search for the latest version of a document or update.
Set strict rules for how your employees are to manage updates as well as the disposal or categorization of old documents. Also, make it clear that it’s important for those with unique information to upload it to your intranet system. This will avoid information bottlenecks in your network.
Create an Adoption and Maintenance System
Consider how you’ll encourage your employees to adopt your intranet and how you’ll train them. Also, set up a system to garner feedback and update the network as you go along.
Consider Both UX and Analytics
Along with these basic intranet capabilities, you want to keep things in mind like user experience and analytics. The former can help your employees buy into using your intranet network. The latter can help you maintain a solid idea of how effective your system is and where it can be improved.
There are many factors to keep in mind when considering an intranet solution. You may be dealing with an existing but outdated and insecure option. You may be thinking of migrating from third-party-owned cloud-based SaaS platforms so that you can operate from an internally grounded network.
Regardless of whether you’re updating the old or building the new, there are many ways that you can benefit from setting up a good intranet network for your company. The important thing is that you take each step of the process carefully.
From cybersecurity to employee buy-in to updates and user experience, make sure to think the process through beforehand. If you can do that, you can establish an intranet network that is a genuine benefit to your company’s internal operations.