The first intranets appeared in the 1990s when the networking of office computers allowed for rudimentary digital collaboration. These early versions only consisted of bare-bones hyperlinks that permitted very limited functionality. Wikis were the next evolutionary step in the intranet lifecycle but wikis alone did not meet all the needs of the average organization. The amount of employees that used the company intranet also remained relatively small.
Intranets nowadays, known as employee engagement intranets or social intranets, are leaps and bounds ahead of their ancestors and continue to improve. The use of modern intranets is only expected to increase, maybe even until they replace the physical office completely.
Social intranets are vessels for collaboration and transparency. They make use of the global networking of computers by providing the workforce with the means to host and access company content and communicate with one another regardless of their geographic distance apart. The delay is taken out of work by giving every user on-demand access to the latest version of company property.
Modern intranets make the user experience unique by providing each employee with the ability to fill out an in-depth user profile. The details from each profile are used to customize the experience by displaying location- or department-specific news or allowing them to search for a colleague who has a particular skill set (such as spoken language or software expertise). The ability to quickly locate the right coworker is one of the many ways modern intranets serve as the central hub for collaboration.
Conversation threads also occur closer to the topic at hand. Microblogs and news posts can be commented on directly, giving a contributor the ability to add to the discussion where it occurs and for a viewer to see the conversation as it develops (if this sounds familiar, that is on purpose). Modern intranets keep the learning curve shallow with a time-tested design used by social media platforms with large user bases. Leveraging this familiarity prevents new intranet adopters from needing to spend hours acclimatizing to an over-engineered piece of visually unappealing software (this is probably familiar as well).
In addition to collaboration power, content access and increased transparency, modern intranets have a unifying effect on the workforce by providing the entire user base with the same universal productivity tool. This keeps different departments more rhythmically aligned and gives the company culture a way to spread to the end user, thus helping reinforce its values.
The advantages of modern intranets are appealing to employers and employees. Adopting a modern intranet can reduce expenditures on office space, materials and lessen the time to onboard and train new employees. Intranets leverage the habits of the times by basing their interaction schema on popular mobile apps. Most of all, modern intranets make users' lives easier. Below are some of the main attributes of modern intranets discussed in greater detail:
Personalized and Easy to Use
The style of modern intranets is modeled after popular social media applications. The familiar design reduces the learning curve for new users. Navigation and general use is also recognizable and intuitive. Newsfeeds and blogs are common staples of modern intranets and new users will recognize their appearance and function. Interactions with these features are also modeled after social media platforms. Users can like and comment on news articles and blog posts.
One important component which can't be overlooked is personalization.
Newsfeeds in particular are an especially powerful feature that can be customized according to a user's details (such as location, role and working language) or preferences (such as favorite publications, departments or topics). This important feature allows the user to stay up to date on issues that are important to them.
Personalization also permits the user to spend their time more effectively as they will have the most relevant data at their fingertips.
Integrated and Customized
A good intranet adapts to your needs and not the other way around. The tools and applications you use in your workflow can be integrated into a modern intranet to provide a consolidated productivity portal. Jumping around your workstation's desktop should be kept to an appropriate minimum.
Your company theme should be represented in a modern intranet. This includes displaying your logo, incorporating the company's color palette and other style choices. Having these options allows you to make the intranet truly yours as opposed to adopting a bland carbon copy stock model.
Mobile and Empowering
Users feel a sense of belonging when they work in collaborative environments where they are able to contribute their opinions. Digital communication channels should be as accessible as possible to serve this end. Instances of the intranet can be installed on almost any computer workstation or mobile device. Even if an employee doesn't regularly use a computer in their workday, they can still access the intranet from their personal phone and stay up to date on the latest company news. Company intranets that are not usable on mobile devices are restricted in their collaborative and communicative capacity. The best modern intranets let employees log on from their phones and tablets.
Mobile access allows for easy communication between users in different timezones. You don't need to lug around your laptop to read messages when you have mobile access. The ability to complete a quick task (responding to a comment for example) is more convenient on a phone or tablet than on a laptop. Empowering employees is a virtuous cycle as when they feel more engaged, they are more satisfied and therefore more productive (which in turn increases engagement). The company's brand is also reinforced with the use of intranets as they provide an avenue for culture and values to radiate throughout the workforce.
Modern intranets increase productivity, unify hosted content and empower the employee base. Ease of use and familiarity make intranets a useful mechanism for effective collaboration.
Linchpin Hey - Our Cloud Based Social Intranet
Linchpin Hey is our social intranet solution for the cloud. Linchpin Hey heavily focuses on the social part of intranets and aims to improve interactions within your company. Social features help you to grow together as a team and as a unit. You can test drive Linchpin Hey in your browser of choice for free anytime you like!
Linchpin Intranet Suite - The Powerful Intranet For Confluence
The Linchpin Intranet Suite is our full-fledged social intranet solution based on Confluence and available for Atlassian Data Center. The Linchpin Intranet Suite provides you with meaningful tools to improve cooperation and information flow in your company. You can test the Linchpin Intranet Suite anytime in your browser for free!