What is an intranet?
An Intranet is an online network, like a private website, that is accessible from anywhere by employees of an organisation. It can provide access to important information in a secure environment. Intranets have traditionally been very cumbersome (and sometimes expensive) to set up and maintain but with the growth of web-based solutions, there are much better options available today for companies of any size to share their most important information across the organisation. It is now possible to maintain your intranet yourself without having to hire expensive ‘consultants’ when any changes need to be made – the tools have become much more powerful and accessible.
So, now that they’re within reach for most organisations, why would you want an intranet?
When using an Intranet, every employee can view the same materials (training, HR etc) which means you don’t need to worry about out-dated copies of information being in circulation around the office – something which is often an issue with print-based versions.
Pull vs. push approach
It’s all too easy to send too much information to employees – something that can be daunting and be difficult to process – so much so that they might not read any of it. Using an Intranet means you can deliver any amount of information for employees to review at their own pace and in their own time.
There has been so much development in web tools recently that allow for websites to do so much more. Discussion groups, comprehension tests, and many other communication tools can be incorporated simply into your intranet. This allows for a much more interactive experience for employees which can, in turn, keep business leaders in better touch with what’s going on in their organisation.
Ease and low cost for updates
A lot of time and money can be spent on printed materials which can often be made obsolete through the introduction of new policies, technology or even management. When using an Intranet site, updates can be easily made as often as you like without spending money redesigning and reprinting the documents. Until recently there might also have been a substantial cost to pay a specialist ‘guru’ to edit your site but the usability of more recent intranets mean that most edits can be done internally by existing staff.
The navigation of Intranet applications are more often than not, very simple point and click layouts. This helps employees find the information they need easily and will be more likely to search for it in the first place.
An Intranet allows employees to access information from anywhere at any time. This allows a consistency of experience between those based at the ‘HQ’ office and those colleagues elsewhere which can be a great help for home-workers, those on maternity leave etc.
Creation and maintenance: simple
With the new generation of tools, it only takes relatively limited computing experience to create an Intranet site and once it’s running, the information can be easily updated by other members of the business.
Keeping up with your workforce
New generations of employees are used to receiving all of their information digitally, via a range of devices and services so it is important not to fall behind in how to deliver your company information.
Intranets can be continually updated to include further information on existing topics, or to add new ones entirely. It’s important, however, to be sure that the initial site has a good depth of information to hold your employee’s interest as you build up your catalogue of materials – launching without enough useful information will reduce the chances of it being used in the future. As your Intranet site grows and evolves, it will only become more and more useful to you and your teams.
If you’d like to learn more about how Google Apps and Cobry’s services could benefit your business, please get in touch.