• Efthimis Tzourdas

10 Myths about corporate intranets

Updated: Dec 10, 2021

Intranets are an important tool in the quiver of internal communications and human resources (HR) departments, as they are a central hub of information, communication and cooperation of employees.

There have always been intra-company frictions about whether to adopt such nodes in the daily lives of organizations.

Below we will debunk some myths developed around these tools:

1. Intranets are only meant for banks and multinationals

It is true that for many years there was a perception that only very large companies need a central hub of internal information and communication. This is of course not the case, since internal communication has emerged as a major factor of satisfaction and motivation of employees. At the same time, a corporate hub decisively strengthens the corporate culture.

2. Intranets are very expensive and require a significant hardware infrastructure

Before cloud usage spread, intranets did require significant technological infrastructure, but today the extensive use of the cloud,as well as the existence of tools such as the Microsoft 365 platform, enable businesses of all sizes to acquire intranets at a particularly low cost, without any limitations in functionality.

3. Intranets operate only within the company's network

The rapid increase in the use of mobile devices by employees who are often outside the company (vendors, frontline workers, etc.) has created the need for intranets to appear on the screens of these devices. The pandemic has catapulted this need, so intranets now also utilize collaboration platforms used by companies such as Microsoft Teams.

4. Intranets are unnecessary, since employees are informed by email and sms

In the modern working reality, the deluge of information and stimuli imposes multichannel communication and information. Employees must have the opportunity, especially in the post-Covid era, to be informed in the way they want and at the pace that suits everyone.

5. Intranets are boring, thus discouraging their widespread adoption

Another myth based on the experience of interaction with legacy applications, with an antiquated design, strict structure, and delivery of the same content to all users. Modern intranets have an attractive design that refers to external websites, modern architecture and support audience targeting, i.e. they show different content to different groups of users, depending on the criteria set during the set up (geographical, roles, sections).

6. Employee productivity sinks due to the need to connect and switch between other corporate applications and intranet

In an effort to cover as many needs as possible, companies adopt many different digital tools (e.g. questionnaire forms, training systems, goal tracking tools, etc.). Unfortunately, however, this tactic has the opposite effects, since the successive switching of applications (app switching) , disrupts the work rate and costs in productivity. Modern intranets with their inclusion in collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams, enable them to become the central points of contact of employees with the digital workplace, bringing together all the necessary actions and applications in one place. In that way employees remain "connected", “on the flow” and their productivity takes off.

7. Intranets are addressed only to the senior executives of organizations

Intranets are a powerful tool for internal communication and diffusion of corporate culture. Once the right content creation team is set up and selected, the result will be an attractive portal for all employees. At the same time, modern intranets have sophisticated tools for measuring adoption (adoption analytics indicators). So weaknesses are easily identified and can be corrected immediately. Finally, many intranets include ideation tools, i.e. tools for intra-corporate discussion and promotion of ideas from all departments of an organization, like Valo Ideas. Companies such as Audi save large amounts of money every year from the realization of staff ideas, since no one knows better the problems of an organization than the employees themselves.

8. Daily IT engagement is essential

Modern intranets greatly simplify content creation. Page templates enable users without IT skills to create and publish content, with the same corporate branding, for their colleagues. Thus, intranets remain up to date and attractive and increasingly accepted and adopted by users. At the same time, content creators can belong to any department. The IT department has the minimum possible engagement after the initial configuration and installation.

9. Intranets take a long time to set up

Of course, the creation of a corporate portal is a complex task. Careful planning is required. The adoption of an agile project management combined with the right choice of the implementation team are crucial . Modern design tools enable the delivery of the basic backbone in a short period of time. There is also the possibility of choosing an OOTB (Out Of The Box) intranet, such as the intranet of Valo Solutions with implementation within a few weeks.

10. Users never find what they are looking for

One of the most common reasons for the failure of an intranet is the problematic function of the search. The average employee according to studies spends 1 hour a day searching or recreating information! Great care is needed in planning and selecting the resources to be included in the search. Incorrect or zero search results cause frustration among users resulting in a continuous decrease in visits to the node and a gradual reduction of user adoption. Modern intranets now use advanced search methods that utilize AI, such as those based on Microsoft Graph, so finding information and documents is done with speed and accuracy.

In conclusion, intranets not only remain important tools for internal communications and human resources departments, but their role has been significantly strengthened. The evolution of cloud architecture and the development of modern tools, make their use and updating completely user-employee friendly. The needs of the modern digital workplace, as they were shaped in the pandemic, highlighted their importance as central hubs of cooperation. At the same time, they also act as a business-employee link in the new hybrid work environment that has emerged.

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