Why your Intranet should be more than just an information dumping ground

Is your intranet stuck in the past?

We’ve seen enormous changes in the physical workplace over the last decade. Workers no longer gather around the water cooler, and in-person meetings have become less frequent.

Organisations are growing and changing. They’re consolidating through mergers but are often more fractured as a result. Teams work across cities, countries and time zones, and they’re looking for new ways to work together and tap into corporate news and knowledge.

With the growth of global business and flexible working environments, online hangouts and real-time chats are the new ways we connect.

And if you don’t have the technology in place to facilitate these modern relationships, you’re going to create a disconnect that can threaten workplace innovation and growth.

The question is, in this new collaborative world of intranet technology and digital workplaces, are you being left behind?

Intranets are no longer just information networks

Alex Buchanan, Director for Digital Government here at Squiz, believes that the emergence of these digital workplaces is going to mean big things for your business.

“We’ve seen intranets transform from simple information networks into intricate digital workplaces,” Alex says.

“If you think about what a workplace is, it involves staff members coming together to collaborate, exchange information and make good decisions.

“If you have an organisation with thousands of staff in multiple cities and countries, it can be a real challenge to get together regularly with the people you need to work with.”

A digital workplace offers three key differences:

  1. Search that works

Your intranet should make it easy to find the people that you need, even if you don’t know who they are.

“In terms of sharing information and staying on top of what’s going on in the organisation, it’s important that we connect with people who have common business goals and interests to us.

“It might be that they work in the same subject area or are working toward a similar outcome or result. However, unless you know the person that you need to talk to and have already been introduced to them, finding them can be difficult.

“And in many cases, you’re not looking for a specific individual and instead are seeking someone with certain expertise or in a particular role. Someone that can help you solve a problem.

“By integrating with HR systems, creating staff profiles and establishing a searchable database of your employees, your intranet can work as a digital workplace to bridge that divide.

“Whether it’s to share knowledge or to help fix a problem, a good intranet should make it easy to find the person you need, and connect with them through whichever channel you prefer,” says Alex.

2. Connecting with people is effortless

Once you’ve found a person in the workplace that you want to connect with, you should be able to with ease.

Instant messaging services, such as Skype and Hipchat, integrated into your solution will create conversations that feel intuitive and unobtrusive.

Alex also believes that an intranet should make it simple for staff to use social media to engage with each other and share knowledge in real time.

“These days, social media is the number one source of external news for staff. It’s preferred because they get bite-sized updates about the topics they’re interested in, as events are unfolding. An intranet can share internal news this way too,” he says.

By providing social media tools to your users, you’re allowing your staff to connect with each other on a more engaging level.

“Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn make it easy for people to share tidbits of information, even if it’s something small like what they learned on a training course. In the same way, internal social allows staff to connect with other people in the organisation with the same interests.”

3. Information sharing is easy

An intranet should enable staff to make connections, collaborate effectively and bridge gaps in knowledge that have widened over the years.

This can set the stage for virtual communities to encourage the sharing of information and erase any barriers that may exist in your organisation. Key barriers are location, culture (particularly with mergers) and generational differences.

Alex has observed while working with our clients, that this type of collaboration has fostered an environment of education that was previously unheard of.

“At Geoscience Australia, the younger generation of scientists were struggling to get their ideas heard and weren’t being invited to participate in important discussions. After implementing their new intranet, everyone had a place to share ideas and contribute freely. This is leading to a two-way exchange of ideas that has been really positive for their organisation.”

Discover the positive impact new digital workplaces have made on other businesses

Alex recently spoke at this year’s Squiz Summit about how he has seen businesses flourish in the digital workplace.

“Digital workplaces encourage staff to actively engage in the managing of their intranet. In the long term, this leads to benefits such as innovation and productivity. But more immediately, it’s about culture and capability” he says.

By creating a workplace where ideas and discussion can flow freely, you’ll see a domino effect that will lead to less interruption and lost time, promoting efficiency and growth.

Intranets are now all about people

Your people are the core of your intranet, just as they are the heart of your organisation.

It’s vital that your intranet integrates with systems that support and nurture these workplace relationships – whether they be between people working next to each other, or on opposite sides of the globe.

So do a sense check today. Does your intranet allow for effortless search, share and connect?

Learn more about our intranet offerings at Squiz here.

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