Social intranets for business provide a modern framework for employees to do their jobs efficiently and encourage engagement and communication in both the physical and digital workplace. The success of an intranet determines the success level of client service.
- Increase employee engagement
- Support organisational change
- Facilitate collaboration
- Encourage innovation
- Improve processes
- Improve customer service
- Manage and evaluate risk
- Provide useful information across the organisation
- Reduce organisational costs
Since intranets are such an important internal and external organisational asset, choosing the right one is a critical decision. How do you select an intranet solution that aligns with your organisation’s strategic goals and that has the ability to achieve all the benefits listed above?
Elcom’s Intranet Evaluation Guide has been designed to help you choose the right intranet by outlining the six key elements of making an intranet decision, ensuring you find an intranet that meets your organisation’s needs. We’ll provide a useful checklist, questions to consider and tips and tricks that will make your intranet evaluation and decision process as simple as possible.
The guide follows six key elements:
- Foundations & Strategy
- Determine Intranet Capabilities
- Assess Potential Solutions
- Decision Making
- Technical Perspective
- Tips & Evaluation
This article will outline the first and second elements to help you get started on your intranet decision. The complete and free Intranet Evaluation Guide can be downloaded here.
1. Foundations & Strategy
Before you can properly evaluate different intranet solutions you’ll require an understanding of what your employees and stakeholders need from an intranet platform as well as a strategy or business case to determine how an intranet will be used.
Understanding what features users need from an intranet will influence which vendors and solutions are worth your consideration. Some solutions may be a good fit for your budget but are lacking certain features required by your most important stakeholder; this is obviously not the best choice for your business (unless customisation is supported).
Understanding the needs of employees is just as important; they are the main users of your intranet and their feedback should inform your business decision. Hearing the opinions of your employees will ensure a strong operational focus which will lead to an intranet decision that can be seamlessly adopted by the workforce and which will see an improvement in employee morale and the running of business processes.
Many organisations base their intranet decision on the market leaders and the best technology available or they focus heavily on what their competitors are using. There’s not much point in signing on with an all bells and whistles complex solution if your employees only require basic features and functionality. As for following competitors, no organisation is identical so it’s best to do your own evaluation before jumping on board with any solution.
Developing a business case is recommended best practice when determining your organisation’s reasons for implementing a new intranet strategy. The business case describes in detail what your prospective intranet should deliver to users.
Our 6 step guide to building a business case for a social intranet provides a comprehensive methodology to understand your organisation, build a strategy and deliver a persuasive business case.
2. Determine Intranet Capabilities
The strategising stage should give you an idea of the key areas where your intranet should provide some value to users. This information will make the evaluation process much more straightforward.
Consider the following intranet features and capabilities, keeping in mind the priority features you identified in the first stage of the evaluation of an intranet for your business:
- Flexible homepage features - widgets, videos, news, strong design
- Search functionality - findability, integration with existing search
- Video content support - integration with a video platform
- Collaboration & social - comments, ratings, blogs, wikis, forums, workspaces, activity, polls
- Personalisation - targeted news, targeted content based on location and department
- Customisation - homepage editing
- Mobile - remote access, user experience
- Analytics - data-driven, user behaviour, engagement, integration with existing analytics
- Content management - forms, workflows, templates, content types, content lifecycle, archives
This list is only a sample of capabilities you might require of an intranet. Be sure to ask prospective vendors what they can offer your organisation so you end up with an intranet solution which not only improves the day-to-day workflow but encourages organisational growth and innovation.
In the next stages of our evaluation guide, we’ll go into more detail about how your organisation should assess possible intranet solutions and how to consolidate the information you have gathered about user requirements to make an informed and strategically-beneficial intranet decision.