So, your organization is looking to invest in an intranet. Maybe you’ve never used one before, maybe you have one but it’s ancient, broken-down, and more of a hindrance than a help. Either way, there are probably needs that aren’t being met. Needs that most likely fall into one or more of the fundamental areas that intranets are known for strengthening: collaboration, communication, and information.
Then comes the choice—if you’re looking to dive into the world of intranets, do you just dip your toes in first with some collaboration software and a messaging app? Do you wade into the waters with a basic, bare-bones intranet that you have to customize with numerous add-ons and widgets the deeper you go? Or do you realize that your organization’s needs will best be met if you take the plunge and go with a fully modern intranet?
What’s a modern intranet, you ask? Well, it’s an all-in-one platform that covers all the intranet fundamentals and beyond, in one tidy package. But does that make it the right choice for your organization? While I can’t make that decision for you, I can definitely give you some help with it—by way of this handy breakdown I just happen to have put together on the pros and cons of a modern intranet.
1. A go-to place for documentation
Policies, procedures, HR forms, sales reports, white papers—the backbone feature of a modern intranet is how it can become the one-stop shop for all your organization’s important documents. No more digging through files for some most-likely outdated form or searching through your archived email folder for an attachment you forgot to download. Modern intranets are practically required to provide a central repository where the most current documentation can be easily managed, maintained, and accessed by anyone in your organization.
2. Connects people with people…and everything else
A searchable people directory, personalized profiles, team information—a modern intranet is going to provide a way for everyone in your organization to be connected, to learn who does what in other departments or other locations, and who best to reach out to in specific situations. And a solid modern intranet is also going to be compatible with (or be a hub for) any external sites or services your organization may use on a regular basis.
3. Encourages collaboration
A key component in a modern intranet is some type of collaboration feature. Whether it be group discussions, team chat rooms, or a shared workspace, these collaboration areas do away with the need for hard-to-manage email threads and attachments and allow users to interact dynamically, share files with ease, and get real-time results and feedback.
4. Improves company communication
Sending out email updates and company newsletters can be unreliable and futile, with no way of ever really knowing if they’ve been noticed, ignored, or just lost among the email threads filling up everyone’s inbox. Enter: news feeds. a modern intranet will have the capability to publish company news on the fly, push it to a selected audience, or promote it on a company-wide landing page. It gets the news you need to the people you want, whenever you want.
5. Drives employee engagement
Activity feeds, company updates and targeted content, likes and comments, customization and personal settings —a well-rounded modern intranet will include features that let its users get plugged into the company culture as well as have a voice and put their own stamp on something. Enabling people to get engaged on a personal level in the workplace is, as we’ve highlighted before, invaluable.
Contrary to the saying, the best things in life aren’t free—and neither are modern intranets. But they are a worthy investment (and by choosing a modern, turnkey intranet over a “build-as-you-go” intranet, you’ll actually avoid any future “hidden costs” like vendor fees and setup consultations).
With modern intranets you'll most likely be presented with a standard per user/per month subscription fee (usually equivalent to the cost of a deluxe specialty coffee), which would be billed in advance for a set period of time, just like a magazine subscription. On the upside, some modern intranets use a sliding scale subscription rate, where the bigger your organization, the lower your per user cost.
When it comes to a modern intranet, you’re usually looking at more than just a simple setup-and-launch. You’ve got to dedicate some serious time to importing your data and thinking about how you want to configure your settings. And your launch team will not only need time to get familiar with all the features of your new intranet, but they’ll also have to build up anticipation within the organization for its arrival. (Pro-tip: make this a snap by choosing an intranet that provides dedicated support and onboarding assistance).
3. Ongoing Management
Your intranet can’t manage itself and will need competent administrators and managers to keep it running smoothly day-to-day. It will also need dedicated individuals to ensure that content is always fresh, correct, and engaging. Choose people who are ill-suited or too busy with other tasks and your intranet will become a sinking ship. But choose the right team and you’ll be setting your sail for success.
Ultimately, the decision to go with a modern intranet should come down to what’s going to work best for your organization. But if you have the resources and can allocate the time and manpower for setup and management, then the drawbacks will be nothing compared to the benefits a modern intranet can provide.