What is an intranet? Which needs should it satisfy? Is an intranet also a digital workplace? There are countless opinions and definitions surrounding this topic. In my job as a consultant that is the difficulty I encounter most often, since such an ambiguous definition leaves room for the most varied expectations being linked to the concept intranet. The new intranet has become an all-in-one and is supposed to offer solutions for internal communication, comments and likes (social), process management, HR services, collaboration based on a DMS system, and also provides workflows and forms. Naturally, it must still be easy to navigate. Does this ring a bell?
If such expectations develop towards the new intranet, three results are sure to happen:
- The project will be very complex, involving too many players and overwhelming many of the participants.
- Due to the lack of focus, the expectations of the users are not met and the GoLive leaves them disappointed and frustrated
- The development and maintenance of such a monolithic application is expensive and cumbersome.
A modern intranet has a clear focus. It helps the employee, according to their specific role, with the completion of daily tasks and to treat customers with the interest of the company in mind. The intranet therefore concentrates on:
- Communication in the company: internal communication of the vision, mission, strategy and culture
- Search: A central search option to find co-workers and knowledge
- Integration: Embedding of notifications and information from external systems
- Social: Posts, reactions, comments
The clear focus of an intranet also helps to precisely define the responsibilities and tasks of the various stakeholders. We often witness situations, in which the departments of internal communication, HR and IT mutually obstruct each other’s work. The reason can usually be found in the blurry boundaries between intranet, collaboration and other business applications.
Step by step
It is true that the intranet, collaboration platforms and other business applications are somewhat intertwined. However, this does not mean that everything has to be created, migrated and implemented at the same time. In the scope of the modernisation of the digital workspace, it is worthwhile to take a ‘step by step’ approach. Integrations should be loosely coupled. That way, the system remains flexible and changes can be made quickly.
So as not to create false expectations, we recommend a way of communicating that is clear, transparent and tailored to the target group, right from the start. Ideally, such communication takes places over the new intranet as soon as possible, so that the employees can experience the first new features as quickly as possible and can immediately give feedback.
The more clearly the initial scope of the intranet is defined, the better the results will be.