November 14, 2018

Intranets: Beyond Just Driving Internal Communication

Intranets have been popular for a very long time. In their nascent stage, these were just repositories of company processes and documentation related to it. Over the years, intranets have evolved to integrate with enterprise systems in the organization and serve live data to users. Modern intranet platforms provide advanced capabilities which achieve much more than traditional intranets. Further, most capabilities do not need intervention from IT, thereby reducing time to market content within the enterprise immensely. These key factors have led to the rise in increased uptake of intranet solutions.

By integrating to a variety of different systems within the enterprise, it provides employees one-stop access to the data that they may be seeking, like their leave and attendance management, payroll and tax related information, insurance documentation, timesheets, access to different knowledge-bases within the organization etc. Employees can log-in to their personal spaces via the company intranet and help themselves to a wide gamut of information.

Today’s intranets have much more functionality and resemble visually appealing websites that can be used for a lot more than just employee communication. These next-gen intranets are used extensively to drive business growth, which is the core objective of any top management function. Organizations are using the intranet as a tool to engage with employees, and drive organizational performance in ways hitherto unthought of.

Here are 5 ways in which you can use your intranets to drive business growth

1. Collaboration across extended teams made easy

As a company grows, it becomes increasingly more difficult for people within project teams to work together as they may be located in different offices and might be working in different time-zones. A tool like SharePoint or custom-made collaboration tools offer a flexible environment within an intranet platform which end users can access as well. This provides capabilities like app sharing and instant messaging that enable all stakeholders to collaborate in real time.

2. Workflow automation made easy

SharePoint-created intranets can help develop workflows, automate daily tasks, and enable you to make quicker and better decisions. Custom workflows can be built specifically to reduce time taken on repetitive processes. As you automate daily workflows, it avoids unnecessary people intervention, ensures zero manual errors, and increases the overall efficiency of your system. Once you put your operational tasks in auto-pilot, employees can be productive and achieve higher goals beyond merely managing administrative tasks.

3. Communication made easy

Intranets can add significant value in expanding reach and speeding up employee communication within the organization. Whether it is a corporate news, an HR update, or internal employee communication among employees, you can use your intranet to get this done. Content authoring, editing and review processes are often complex, especially in large organizations. Intranets don’t just increase the reach of the communications, they can also be used effectively to automate the communication process. Employees can create profiles, join groups, and update the status of the tasks they are working on. This helps management keep track of what is going on and plan the next steps in the project. It is also easy for you to share project updates with relevant teams, or to all your employees.

4. Managing documents can be easy

Many documents are shared across projects. With the right tools, you can enable access to documents to relevant people via the intranet. This way, you have a single version of the truth and different team members do not need to sift through email chains to find the document that they are looking for. Sensitive information can be stored securely and made accessible to the relevant employees, as defined by the administrator. Your offices may be located in different regions and you may be operating in different time-zones, but by making document sharing available to your teams, they can be on top of their projects at all times. Further, you can also collaborate with your colleagues using mobile devices. Relevant project team members can access documents anywhere with specified access levels.

5. Controlling projects made easy

One of the most widely used features of an intranet is project management and tools like SharePoint do that very effectively. You can have complete control over a project from start to finish. You can assign specific tasks to employees, track progress, and produce effective results. With a little expertise and some smart coding, advanced implementations of intranets such as project management are of immense value. Project management, powered by an efficient tool, offers deep insights for project managers, since they can handle multiple projects and can now make smart decisions.