Do You Really Need an Intranet?

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? This is a question still disputed by many in the world, similar to the question argued in the tech world: which came first, the intranet or the internet? Let’s be honest: neither of these questions really matter. There are for more relevant questions in the modern world, like whether an intranet is really necessary for your company.

The difference between an intranet and the internet might be technically complex, but conceptually it’s relatively simple. The internet is made up of innumerable networks around the world, while an intranet is a (hopefully) secure network portal that rests within a single organization. Every company in the world likely needs the internet to survive. Can they manage without an intranet too, or is it equally as important?

Is your company always on the same page?

It’s easier to convey a message to your employees if they are all in the same room. You know they heard it because you told it to them in person. The problem is, it’s just not possible to tell every single employee individually. The other options: a mass email, a post on the office bulletin board, or an announcement via the intranet. On an intranet, your employees will all be part of the same network- it can have almost the same effect as being in the same room.

They don’t even have to be in the office. According to a Forrester study, most of the global workforce is mobile, and they expect that number to see well over 100 million tablets in use by 2020. Employees are developing a reliance on mobility, and with a cloud-based intranet it will be like they are still in the office whether they are telecommuting from somewhere else in the world, are with a client, or are simply working from home.

As long as they are coming through the intranet portal, they are guaranteed to look at important messages rather than just letting them sit in their email inbox. Plus, with features like live chat they will feel connected and have an easier time getting hold of their employees.

Do your employees struggle to work together?

Communication is often key to proper collaboration between employees. Live chat goes a long way towards streamlining communication. Although smartphones have allowed us to discover when we have a new email quickly, there’s still the matter of opening the email client and responding in long form. With an intranet-based live chat, employees can talk to each other instantaneously.

This isn’t the only place email comes up lacking, either. The tried-and-true method of emailing a document or pieces of a project back and forth might work- but it sure isn’t efficient. An intranet is focused on keeping everything centralized so that employees don’t have to rely on one individual to gain access to group projects. After all, if one piece is missing, the entire project could go down. If all of your employees show up to work every day and are incredibly reliable, maybe this isn’t as big of an issue. However, with an intranet, you typically don’t have to worry about losing access to documents that are hidden away in an employees inbox or computer while they are home sick.

There are also plenty of built-in collaboration features that encourage teamwork and make working together easy. With a project management and collaboration software solution built on an intranet, employees can have access to tools like discussion forums and company wikis. Not only do these foster new ideas, but they allow for the easy communication of company policies and instructions towards new employees. New employees will almost always have to be trained, of course, but with this access to guides if they ever run into a problem a previous employee has had they will be able to find a solution.

Search and find

We already discussed not having documents locked away in employee emails. The intranet’s document management provides the solution to this problem. However, this same system also provides benefits like the reduction of paper waste, printing costs, and even the physical storage required to house corporate documents. This has the potential to eliminate the endless stream of physical copies of documents that pour out of the photocopier.

The true beauty of this centralized storage comes in the form of search. The best intranet software options will include a search built in which makes it infinitely easier to find documents and records. Anybody that used email before Gmail knows how big of a difference a search makes. The time saved from this function alone is often great enough to justify the use of an intranet.

In a dream world, everything within a company is perfectly accessible and easy to find. In the real world, though, having an intranet often makes it easier to stay organized and to help employees work together.