We’ve all witnessed how companies have been transforming and adapting in the digital age, especially with the disruptions caused by the pandemic. Embracing online operations has opened up tremendous potential for businesses, but it’s not without its challenges and threats.
The need to store and manage vast amounts of data safely and efficiently has become crucial for companies operating online. Additionally, with remote work becoming more prevalent, effective communication and collaboration among team members have become pressing concerns.
So, what’s the cost-effective and sustainable solution to tackle these challenges head-on? The answer lies in having a robust and efficient Intranet within your company.
What is an Intranet?
An intranet is a private network designed for internal use within an organization. It can be used to share, and store company information and foster communication and collaboration.
To better understand Intranet, let’s quickly distinguish it from the Internet and Extranet:
Intranet vs. Extranet vs. Internet
A simple way to understand an intranet is to understand what is the difference between an intranet, extranet, and internet.
Intranet is only facing your enterprise and its members. Access to the information is limited to authorized personnel and requires authentication.
The intranet aims to facilitate internal communication and transmission of information. It also acts as a central repository for storing the company’s information, data, and documents.
On the other hand, the Internet is a global network accessible by anyone with an Internet connection, providing access to a vast array of public websites and resources and enabling people to communicate with each other.
Lastly, an extranet is an extension of an intranet. It is a controlled private network that allows access to selected external parties, such as partners or suppliers, for specific purposes like project collaboration.
Features and Benefits of Intranet
There are currently over 20 Intranet solution providers available across the market. Each with its own benefits.
Generally, an Intranet should provide these essential features.
Intranets enable employees to communicate more efficiently and effectively through various channels like discussion boards, instant messaging, blogs, and forums.
As improving communication is one of the key purposes of Intranet, most of the solutions provide means for staff to improve in networking and exchanging information.
An intranet allows employees to work together on projects with real-time changes reflected. It is a much more efficient way for team collaboration compared to older ways of using shared drives and email attachments for communication.
Intranet also allows you to share documents, spreadsheets, and other files easily. You can view the content at any time across different devices.
Some Intranet software emphasizes employee experience and collaboration, such as WorkVivo. It’s designed to encourage employee engagement and emotionally connect people together.
Intranets serve as a central hub for company news, announcements, policies, and procedures, making it easy for employees to access important information and be informed timely.
It can be a central repository for all your company’s important information and data, which includes your latest procedures, contracts, and policies as one single source of truth.
Intranets simplify document storage and management with version control, search capabilities, and access permissions.
Microsoft Sharepoint is a collaborative platform that simplifies data storage and management. Members inside and outside of the organization can collaborate through Sharepoint effectively and securely.
Intranets can be used to automate routine or repeatable tasks, such as submitting expense reports, requesting time off, and managing performance reviews.
Intranets facilitate the sharing of knowledge and expertise among employees, which can lead to improved productivity and innovation across the whole organization.
Training and Development
An intranet can host e-learning modules, training materials, and other resources, allowing employees to access and complete training at their convenience.
Cost and Time Savings
By reducing the need for printed materials, travel, and external training programs, intranets can help companies save money.
It can also greatly save time and money by reducing inefficient communication such as repeated calls and back-and-forth emails. With an intranet, members can update the status of their work on time. It’s also easier for other members to know which personnel to look for regarding certain tasks.
Members across different departments can search for the information they need easily through the intranet as all information is organized in one place.
At the same time, a sustainable intranet solution account for your future need by allowing scalability which helps you to save costs in the long run.
Intranets can be customized to suit the unique needs and preferences of individual users, increasing efficiency and satisfaction.
Foster Corporate Culture
Within the intranet, a company can build a strong corporate brand and culture with a consistent brand message. It can also enhance team participation by building a community and bringing people together through events and networking opportunities.
Integration with Other Systems
Intranets can integrate with other software applications, such as customer relationship management (CRM) and human resources management systems (HRMS), for seamless data sharing and workflow.
Intranets offer greater control over access to sensitive information, with customizable permission levels and security protocols.
Intranets enable organizations to quickly disseminate important news and updates, ensuring that all employees are informed and up-to-date.
Analytics and Reporting
Intranets can provide valuable insights into employee usage patterns, content popularity, and other metrics, enabling organizations to make data-driven decisions about their internal communications strategy.
Disadvantages of Intranet
Despite the numerous advantages, it’s essential to consider the downsides of implementing an Intranet as well.
An intranet must be managed with regular maintenance, and inspection checks to ensure it’s running properly and securely.
Technical Support for Initial Set-up
The initial set-up might take a certain amount of time and technical support to ensure it’s going to be sustainable in the long run without any data leaks.
At the same time, a smooth workflow and design are important to ensure adaptability and user experience.
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Which Companies Should or Should Not Use Intranet?
Intranets can be beneficial for a wide range of companies. However, the level of suitability depends on various factors.
Companies that should consider using intranets:
- Medium to Large Enterprises: Intranets are especially useful for medium to large companies with multiple departments, teams, and employees. It can also be helpful for small businesses that aim to scale up in the long run. They help these organizations manage communication, collaboration, and information-sharing at scale.
- Geographically Dispersed Teams: Companies with remote employees, satellite offices, or a global presence can benefit from intranets, as they provide a central platform for staying connected regardless of physical location.
- Information-Intensive Industries: Industries that handle a significant amount of information, such as healthcare, finance, and legal, can use intranets to organize and securely share sensitive data.
- Complex Workflows: Companies with intricate workflows and project management requirements can use intranets to streamline processes, coordinate tasks, and ensure everyone is on the same page.
- Employee Engagement Focus: Organizations that prioritize employee engagement, recognition, and internal culture can leverage intranets to create a sense of community and belonging among employees.
Companies that might not require intranets:
- Small Businesses with Simple Communication Needs: Small businesses with a limited number of employees and straightforward communication needs might find that traditional communication tools (emails, messaging apps) suffice without the need for a full-fledged intranet.
- Highly Agile and Informal Startups: Very small startups with a highly agile and informal structure might prefer lightweight communication tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams for their rapid communication needs.
- Low Technology Adoption: Companies with a workforce that has low technology adoption rates or limited access to digital tools might not see the full benefits of an intranet.
- Limited Budget Constraints: Intranet development and maintenance can involve costs. Companies with tight budgets might prioritize other areas over implementing an intranet.
- Short-Term or Temporary Projects: If an organization is involved in short-term projects without a consistent need for long-term internal communication and collaboration, investing in an intranet might not be necessary.
Ultimately, the decision to implement an intranet should be based on your specific needs, goals, and characteristics of the company. It’s important to assess your organization’s communication, collaboration, and information-sharing requirements to determine whether an intranet would be a valuable addition to your business operations.
DataSI’s Approach to Building an Effective Intranet
At DataSI, we understand that every company’s needs are unique, and that’s why we build customized Intranet platforms for our clients.
Our top recommendation is Microsoft SharePoint, a powerful platform that offers all the essential functions.
Based on market presence and user satisfaction rate, Microsoft SharePoint ranks top in terms of intranet services.
Seamless integration with Microsoft tools: SharePoint integrates easily with other Microsoft products like Office 365, Teams, and Power BI, creating a unified and familiar experience for users.
Scalability: SharePoint can be easily scaled to accommodate the needs of small businesses and large enterprises alike, making it a flexible solution for organizations of all sizes.
Customizable templates: SharePoint offers a variety of customizable templates for intranet sites, allowing organizations to create a branded and visually appealing environment.
Advanced document management: SharePoint provides robust document management capabilities, including version control, co-authoring, and powerful search functionality.
Workflow automation: allows organizations to create custom workflows for automating routine processes, such as document approvals and task assignments.
Access control: offers permission settings, enabling organizations to control who can access, edit, or delete specific content within the intranet.
Mobile accessibility: Intranets can be accessed from mobile devices, allowing employees to stay connected and productive on the go.
Data security and compliance: provides enterprise-grade security features and complies with a range of industry regulations, ensuring that sensitive data is protected.
Powerful search capabilities: SharePoint’s search functionality allows employees to easily find relevant content, documents, and resources within the intranet.
Social features: Social networking features such as discussion boards, blogs, and newsfeeds, help to foster employee engagement and collaboration.
Analytics and reporting: Offers built-in analytics tools to help organizations track user engagement, content usage, and other key metrics.
Extensibility: SharePoint can be extended with custom apps, web parts, and third-party add-ons, allowing organizations to tailor their intranet to meet specific requirements.
Support and resources: benefits from a large community of users, developers, and support resources, making it easier to find help and solutions to common challenges.
At DataSI, we possess the expertise to assist medium and large-sized enterprises in creating efficient and enduring SharePoint intranet solutions tailored precisely to their business needs.
Get in touch with us today and let’s build an Intranet that works for you!
Talk to us today
Find out how we can help your business to build a successful data strategy.