What is an intranet and why do you need one?

Intranets have evolved hugely since their inception as a private network space with some simple web content and maybe a document management system into comprehensive collaboration and communication solutions for organisations.

The complexity and potential capabilities of the modern intranet – communications, collaboration tools, applications, automated workflows, event triggers and more – means that definitions that can be understood by non-technical managers and business owners are almost impossible to achieve.

So rather than try to define what an intranet is, it is much simpler to look at the business problems it can solve.

Whatever sector you operate in, businesses with employees have a number of common problems. See if you recognise any of these issues where an intranet can help…

Communication – up and down/to and from management and staff; within teams; between departments; across different locations.

Information – Where are the files for Project X? Are you sure this is the most recent version? Where are the sales figures for last month? What does the pipeline look like for Q3?

Finding the right people – Who looks after X in the organisation? Who has technical expertise? Who can help me put together an RFP/Quotation/Presentation? Who should I pass this lead on to? Who can approve this? Do we have an office in Hong Kong?

Training – How do users request it and consume it? How to you record and manage CPD?

User Support – Something’s wrong with my computer – how do I get it fixed? We need a new printer – who do we ask? Can I claim that on expenses? How?

Compliance – Do we have to report this? What are the current regulations? What’s the procedure? Where are the forms? Am I breaking the law?

People – What’s the company policy on flexible working and how do I request it? What do I need to do to get childcare vouchers? How much vacation time do I have left? How do I report harassment/bullying in the workplace? How do I get help with mental health issues?  How much notice do I have to give?

A well-planned intranet can help deal with many of these issues – in a consistent way that complies with company policies and procedures.

That means less time dealing with the same things over and over, less chance of mistakes and costly misinformation, and everyone can spend more time doing whatever it is that you do to generate revenue.

What not having an intranet costs your business

If you recognised any of the issues above, consider a few of the costs involved in not having systematic, automated processes for dealing with them:

  • How much time is your staff spending looking for the same documents and forms over and over again?
  • What is the cost of using out of date price lists, the old PointPoint presentation or the contract that was missing the latest amendments?
  • How much time do colleagues spend helping each other out with basic admin like claiming expenses and booking holidays? How often are your top billers or managers helping out the new starters with admin?
  • If you aren’t recording and tracking IT problems you are missing out on identifying impending hardware failures and security threats that could be costly to fix or even threaten the existence of the business.
  • Even if you don’t work in a highly-regulated sector like Finance, there is a plethora of workplace safety regulations and privacy legislation that affect all businesses. If you don’t have effective, secure systems for document control and record keeping you could find yourself on the wrong side of the law or facing investigation from a regulatory authority like the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or the Information Commissioners Office (ICO). Try to put a price on the disruption that might cause to business operations, never mind the potential for reputational damage, fines and other sanctions.

An intranet isn’t a magic bullet and it won’t solve every business problem perfectly. But a well-designed intranet can help streamline your processes, improve communication, make employees more productive and make regulatory compliance (and the demonstration of compliance) simpler and less time-consuming.

All that adds up to a leaner, more efficient business model that is more profitable and primed for growth.

That, in a nutshell, is why you need an intranet!

If you have read this far you probably don’t have an internet in place, or your current intranet isn’t working as it should. Either way, why not book a call to see if we can help?

We can give you independent, expert advice on options, realistic timings and costs.

Remember that not having an effective intranet in place is already costing your business, so why not get this project started right now?

About Trade IT

Trade IT is all about using technology to improve your business processes. This might mean new kit, the latest app or software package – but more often than not it is about organising your business processes to optimal efficiency and empowering your staff with the right skills and tools be more productive.

If you have Office 365 or G-Suite or Zoho One, you probably aren’t taking full advantage of the capabilities you are already paying for.

The technology available to even the smallest organisations today is incredible – but few companies are taking advantage.

If you want to find out more about how you could improve your business processes and make everyone more productive without working any harder, fill in the email request form on the right and we’ll get right back to you.

Need to Talk?

Need help with planning your intranet? We can help make sure you get the content, delivery and adoption right to give your project the best chance of success.

Need to rescue a ‘failed’ intranet project? Don’t worry – yours wasn’t the first to go south and it won’t be the last.

If you need a strategy to reinvigorate an intranet project and re-engage users, we can help.

Fill in the form and we’ll get back to you for a chat about how we might be able to help.