Simple considerations go a long way when planning an intranet
According to a recent Nielson Normal Group report, website usability has improved dramatically over the past decade but over the same period, intranet usability may be slightly worse. The same report goes on to state that intranets should to have higher usability than websites because organisations have full control over the environment, know exactly who is using the system and how, and will also users are and will also benefit financially through improved productivity when improvements are made.
Intranets are important for sharing information within organisations. They are generally simple to setup can be low cost to run meaning that they can offer a good return on investment when properly maintained and utilised. With such a dramatic return on investments possible, it is important to ensure that your intranet is well planned and tailored to your needs.
To help with deciding how best to develop an intranet strategty for your organisation, we have provided our top 5 tips base on our experience with our clients over the past 10 years.
Consider the platform
While igroup are SharePoint specialists, we recognise taht there are other platforms available that can be adequate for different needs. The most important thing to think about when choosing a platform is to make sure you fully understand what it is that your organisation needs from its Intranet.
The requirements for a simple tool to share news and training guides are different to a more advanced platform that enables collaboration or includes functionality tied into other systems such as timesheet management or handling accounts and expenses.
Choosing a platform that supports your needs – ideally with minimal additional configuration – can help you achieve more of your goals.
Integrate it with working practices
Sadly, many company intranets become unused wastelands. Even if their functionality is great and they offer significant benefits to teams adoption can be poor. This is usually because the intranet does not fit into the usual working processes of staff and interrupts rather than supports them.
To avoid adoption due to inconvenience, you need to ensure that the intranet is embedded into their processes. With SharePoint, this is relatively straightforward as it can become the default document storage facility and is also attached to their existing Microsoft 365 account. An intranet that adds features in one place will simplify processes and attract users through greater the convenience it offers.
Get staff contributions
When staff contribute to their intranet, they will buy-in more to the service. This may include insight pieces that offer staff to share their expertise, but can also include more conversational content to help foster better team engagement. Encouraging contributions from across the organisation will often increase interaction through recommendations and commentary that benefits staff – particularly those working remotely.
Make it social
As an extension of staff contribution, we have found that intranets which integrate social features encourage greater levels of sharing and engagement.
Most staff will be familiar with the mechanics of social sharing from external networks like Facebook, and see the benefits of recommending useful content to their colleagues.
Adding social features is usually beneficial, but it can be important to add some form of moderation within comments to ensure that they remain on topic.
Businesses which keep momentum going with their intranets and include regular activity find that engagement remains higher in the long run.
Within any business it is a good idea to give kep staff responsibility for maintaining activity on the platform with regular additions such as new content and feedback systems to encourage staff to comment about how the intranet and wider workplace can be improved.