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Rise of the Modern Intranet: Becoming a Workplace Hero
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Rise of the Modern Intranet: Becoming a Workplace Hero

What makes a modern intranet, modern?

Does the term “intranet” conjure up nightmares of cluttered file sharing or a never-ending page of links that make it impossible to find what you need? According to Forrester, this poor user experience and lack of employee-centric functionality found in most intranets has led many employees to rank it as their least loved workplace tool. 

However, intranets are still very critical to employee success, and therefore vital to the business. But in order to benefit both the workforce and business, these intranets need to be transformed into modern intranets.

Intranets: Workplace Hero or Employee Nightmare? 

Intranets first came on the scene as a way for companies to host information for their employees privately. To fulfill this need, traditional intranets provided basic web content management functionality. However, as technology evolved, they quickly became, as Gartner puts it, “static websites in a dynamic world.”

This raises the question: Why bother with intranets at all?

Let’s check the stats. A modern intranet can: 

In short, a modern intranet is a powerful tool that, when used correctly, can exponentially improve employee experience (EX).

Today’s employees demand timely delivery of relevant content via their preferred consumption channels — web, mobile, or expressed in the context of other essential enterprise applications. Forrester’s Employee Experience Index reveals a correlation between technology satisfaction and employee engagement: employees who are the most engaged in their workplace are also highly satisfied with their collaboration tools and their ability to access the information they need to do their jobs. 

Especially in light of the recent shift towards remote work, intranet tools are becoming key drivers for communication, culture, and collaboration for teams that might not be meeting face-to-face anymore. Modernize intranet solutions to be a tool that employees actually want to use. 

So What Makes a Modern Intranet Modern

What distinguishes a modern intranet solution from a traditional, outdated one? (Other than, of course, the very clever and innovative name.)

A robust, technical foundation combined with an employee-first strategy sets apart a modern intranet from its more traditional counterpart. Along with new features that satisfy employee needs, the modern intranet should: 

  • Integrate and aggregate applications and tools, empowering employees to do all their work and find relevant information through a single hub. 
  • Personalize and target information based on employee role, location, or preferences
  • Be easily accessed and used by in-office, remote, and deskless employees 
  • Drive corporate culture by delivering consistent employee communications in one location
  • Optimize business operations by digitizing manual processes and resolving employee needs quickly 

Ultimately, for an intranet to help increase employee productivity and impact the bottom line, it must leverage enhanced technical capabilities to improve employee experiences. 

Giving Your Intranet a Boost 

With this understanding of modern intranets, your next question might be, “how do I apply this to my existing, outdated intranet?”

To build an effective backbone for your overall employee experience strategy, bring together stakeholders from IT, Legal, HR, and other necessary parties to answer the following questions to clarify the intranet’s purpose.

  • What are the key organizational drivers for employees? 
  • What does success look like for employees? 
  • How does employee success fit into the overall organization’s success? 
  • How do people prefer to conduct their work? 
  • What are employees’ biggest frustrations in their daily work experience? 

The answers to these questions will help you create a foundation that will not only guide the design and functionality of the intranet, but also clarify what metrics to track to determine success and identify areas of improvement. 

Intranets do not need to continue to be an unloved tool in your technology stack. Learn what it’ll take to modernize your intranet in order to boost employee productivity, increase collaboration, and optimize business operations. 

Best Practices for Building a Modern Intranet

From our decade of experience helping enterprises modernize and transform their intranet solutions, we’ve put together a collection of best practices here.

Download the Guide  
Originally published
September 14, 2020
 last updated
January 4, 2021
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