The evolution of the intranet
Technology has changed dramatically - almost comically - over the years. We’ve come a long way from the days of Pong, bagged car phones, and the Sony Walkman, and thankfully, that transformation is equally evident in business technology.
Just think about the intranet. Looking back at the earliest iterations of Lotus Notes sites, they’re relics by today’s standards, yet they were the epitome of advanced technology at the time, a revolutionary experience that integrated everything employees needed into a single location.
Early intranets gave employees clear reasons to visit - read email, find phone numbers, fill out forms, etc. But they also had a fatal flaw – one vendor controlled everything.
Over time, of course, the intranet has evolved significantly. New functionality has been added as advances in technology have allowed, and capabilities have expanded to meet user needs.
When done right, modern intranets serve as a hub for the communications and resources employees need to be productive.
This brings us to where we are today, with the modern intranet firmly established as the trusted anchor point to the digital workplace.
Oh wait... that isn’t true, though, is it?
The intranet has indeed come a long way. The best versions are beautifully designed, optimized for the user experience, and they deliver contemporary functionality like mobile accessibility, entry points to enterprise applications, social features, and more.
And yet they still haven’t earned a seat at the digital workplace table. Why?
Because the rest of technology has grown along with them. The digital workplace is cluttered with more applications than ever before. Digital friction is real and competition for the attention of employees is fierce, especially when you factor in platforms like MS Teams that are now trying to be the “one app to rule them all.”
The intranet has a lot of work to do if it’s going to stand a chance at being relevant in today’s digital workplace landscape. Thankfully, the path to success is easy if the goal of your intranet is clear.
Addressing the problems of today's intranet
The intranet is no longer the only game in town - and it’s certainly not the single source of information employees rely on. Instead, it’s competing with the explosion of other applications all vying for attention - apps that are filled with comments, content, social, IM, profiles, etc. Cool, fun, eye-catching stuff designed to pull people in and engage them so they can be the most relevant tool.
As a result, employees have splintered off in different directions to work in whichever apps are most convenient for them and the intranet becomes an afterthought.
So what can organizations do to create space for an intranet that adds value in the hearts and minds of employees?
It starts by accepting a few key realities:
The global intranet cannot be an IT led initiative or driven by one siloed business initiative. It has to be an employee-focused resource that’s dedicated to communicating to a wide audience versus, rather than an add-on to some other business application.
Intranet vendors are critical in helping deliver branded messages to the right audience at the right time, but they aren’t the only player you’ll need on your team, because even the most thoughtfully crafted, beautifully designed message will be a waste of time if no one goes to the intranet to see it.
The intranet is ideally positioned to delivers news and information while creating a foundation for organizational culture. But those considerations are rarely top of mind for employees, and they’ll never be enough to drive a sustaining level of traffic to the intranet. To give workers a reason to visit the site more often, it has to also deliver functionality and services that are top of mind, such as is system alerts for actions and information and the ability to get quick, personalized answers to top questions.
With that in mind, it's time to focus on the future...
Designing the intranet of tomorrow
Building an impactful site that fulfills a need for employees that can’t be met anywhere else requires diligent focus on solving their biggest challenge – too many places to go for tasks and information.
Check out these statistics:
68% of workers toggle between apps up to 10 times an hour
31% of workers said toggling causes them to lose their train of thought
53% of workers find navigating between apps more annoying than doing household chores
No wonder the intranet isn’t getting any love – employees are wasting all of their time logging in and out of disparate applications just trying to manage their daily work load.
But now imagine this...
Here’s an example of a modern intranet. It’s a branded, personalized site that delivers all the features and functionality you need to highlight your company’s unique culture, information, and processes. Cool, right? All intranets should look this good.
This image features an intranet built on using Igloo Software, Workgrid’s newest intranet partner, but the Workgrid Digital Assistant most other intranets.
But believe it or not, this intranet can be even better.
Instead of linking out to the resources employees need, this intranet can actually aggregate tasks and information from across the enterprise, delivering it in a personalized, contextual experience that eliminates digital friction and gives workers more time to focus on meaningful, high-value work. All it needs to accomplish this is the addition a digital assistant.
This is the kind of seamless, cohesive experience the intranet needs to deliver if it’s going to be a successful component of the digital workplace. Employees finally get a digital workplace resource that helps them be more productive and engaged, and you can make sure that the intranet you worked so hard to build gets the traffic and attention it deserves. It’s a win-win for everyone. Employees come for the notifications and stay for the news. What could be better than that?
What's your intranet strategy?
To deliver a modern, intelligent intranet, you need to think big – and certainly think beyond the intranet's historical function as a delivery mechanism for stylized communications. The intranet needs to be problem solvers; a resource employees can rely on to help them work more effectively.
Digital assistants can help them do that, providing additional functionality that reduces digital friction and context switching, guides employees’ attention to what’s important, and makes it easier to find information.
For a full overview of how the Workgrid digital assistant can help your intranet become a powerhouse in the digital workplace, request a demo today!