When you think “corporate intranet” you’re probably picturing a jumbled mess of pages and broken links: a poorly maintained document repository that no one visits or uses, populated with content that’s hard to find and well past its prime. The kind of intranet that would, sooner or later, turn into a ghost town. And deservedly so.
But that was then, this is now. Corporate intranets have changed significantly in the past ten years. Now they’re sleek, sophisticated, collaborative platforms that have the potential to transform the way we work.
Let’s take a look at how the corporate intranet has adapted with the times, and why your company needs one.
Behold, the modern intranet
Modern corporate intranets have replaced the image in your head of that ugly cluttered intranet. They’re designed to be intuitive, easily navigable, and perhaps most importantly, easy to implement and use. They’re snappier and they take into account the way we work.
The modern corporate intranet is typically a turnkey intranet, meaning you don’t have to spend time or resources building it from scratch (or maintaining it). On top of that, this intranet can do a whole lot more with less.
The modern intranet functions less like a document or content repository and much more like a collaborative platform that connects teams across locations. In this regard it’s the perfect solution for the remote worker.
It also provides a space for discussion, reading about company events and news, and gives people a way to put a face to a name.
In other words, a modern corporate intranet gives your employees a central place to gather online to discuss projects, find information, and connect.
Does my organization need one?
This one’s tough to answer because it’s based on what your organization’s looking for in a corporate intranet. If you need a tool that simply centralizes files and information, sure, an intranet will do that. If you’re looking for a chat tool, an intranet is also a good choice. But you probably won’t be getting the most out of what it has to offer.
On the other hand, if you want all that plus a way to connect your people, promote your culture, and increase employee engagement, then a corporate intranet will probably serve you well.
A general rule of thumb when deciding if a corporate intranet is right for your company: Companies that are a) too small (fewer than 20 employees) or b) too large (more than 5,000) probably aren’t going to benefit from an engagement-focused turnkey intranet. Smaller companies might not have the resources or need for an intranet, especially if the business is in its early stages. Larger companies, on the other hand, will usually want to custom-build their intranet from scratch so that they can integrate all of their proprietary tools.
Let’s take a look at some other reasons you should consider a corporate intranet.
Benefits of a corporate intranet
You’re providing your teams with a way to connect; not just a place to store and find information. A well-designed corporate intranet connects teams in many ways:
- They offer a place for people, especially remote employees, to “congregate” and share ideas
- It’s where discussions take place. This can mean projects, event planning, and team collaboration
- A company-wide news feed keeps employees coming back to check in and find out what’s happening
- A shared calendar of company events
- An org chart gives each employee a way to find out who does what
The modern corporate intranet is all about two-way communication. Unlike older intranets that functioned primarily as a means for storing information, modern intranets are more interactive, giving your people a way to share, comment, and contribute.
A corporate intranet provides more open lines of communication and a new way of building company culture from the ground up.
But does my company need a corporate intranet?!
I applaud your persistence. To answer this question, think about your organization's priorities. Do you want to emphasize your culture, increase engagement, open up communication, centralize files and information, and connect your people? If your answer is “yes, of course!” then a corporate intranet will definitely fit the bill.
Now that you picture something more modern and up-to-date when you think of “corporate intranet”, it’s time to decide which one is right for your organization. There are a lot of options out there, so be ready to shop around a bit. Before you do so, though, you'll want to figure out which features you need, which features you don’t need, and of course which intranet fits your budget.