Any new business project is going to require thought, effort and time. And if you’re in the market for an intranet set-up – whether it’s a new tactic for you as a company, or you’re just looking for something new – you’ll quickly find yourself wondering just how much of each of those things an intranet is going to require.
There’s an incredible variety of options – not just specific individual platforms, but the configurable options within those platforms. Or do you start from scratch and build something that’s precisely what you need without the constraints of a pre-existing system? You want to keep things within budget, but you don’t want to find yourself setting up an intranet that suddenly can’t handle some of the functionality or features that you need it to be capable of.
Yes, there’s a lot to think about. Luckily, it’s our speciality. So here’s the run-down on keeping things straightforward for you and your business while maximising your intranet’s potential!
How Far To Push Customization?
Talk Through Things
A recurring theme in the development of an intranet is consultation. Make sure that the people who are going to be using your system get to have their say. Make a point to talk to people from all your company’s different departments to ensure that things aren’t swayed to a single more vocal group. You don’t want something that works perfectly for marketing staff and lets down financial staffers at every turn.
In a perfect world, your intranet will have all the functionality that you and your team need it to have in a way that stays streamlined. Nobody wants something that does everything but does so in an incredibly clunky and unrefined way – you’re setting yourself up for major problems down the track.
The Needs And The Nice-To-Haves
Establishing a list of what people need is the most crucial thing – but it’s also worthwhile to assess what are the useful extras that might not be wholly necessary, but that will make life a little bit easier. Getting people from each department to rank these things in order of priority or preference can give you a good sense of the collective desire for certain features – and you can compare these lists across the different departments.
There are all sorts of things to consider at this point, from search engine functions with an ability to rank articles and documents based on relevance and usefulness to online storage options allowing for real-time collaboration to mobile adaptability. There’s no one right answer when it comes to what functions you need, so do take the time to figure out what’s right for your organisation.
While functions are the really essential thing, sorting out the appearance of your intranet can be a pretty important decision. You want to make sure that people using the intranet really feel its connection to your organisation, rather than feeling like it’s yet another generic tech product that they need to learn to use.
Different Levels Of Engagement
It stands to reason that no matter the size of an organisation, different users will have different levels of access – and different levels of security privilege. There needs to be some means of controlling different employees’ access to information, so that, for example, managerial staff can access employee data that regular workers can’t.
Ensuring that the intranet system that you put in place has this capability is essential. You don’t want people to be snooping around documents and data that they shouldn’t have access to. And you also need to have measures in place to protect security of the intranet at large, to avoid outside users hacking the platform and getting access to delicate data.
Users with administrator privileges are the people with the power – making changes, determining who can see what and keeping tabs on what users are up to across the board. People who are in an administrative role (in terms of intranet users – not necessarily those with administrative roles in the non-digital side of the business) will need to be able to work quickly and effectively – since they’ll be using things all the time.
But on the flipside, regular workers will be using the platform every day too. Administrative staff may be busy fixing things up, but as a rule they will also be a little more tech savvy – or at least, they’ll tend to have more time to wrap their head around things. Everyday users need things to be easy and streamlined, regardless of whether or not they’re particularly switched on to all things technical. Keep it simple and intuitive.
Getting The Necessary Support
Internal IT On Board
Let’s be honest – in this day and age, most IT departments are overwrought. This is invariably the case whether you have a whole host of people working in this space, or you just have one person who fell into the de facto role of IT expert. Adding more to their plate can make things very tense, so getting their support is essential.
Being Platform Picky
Going for an intranet solution that is cloud-based is an easy and effective way to make strides towards an innovative new platform while maintaining your IT department’s peace of mind. But not all cloud-based providers are made equal. Sharepoint is an example of a platform that’s incredibly complex – for better or for worse. And in our experience, usually, for worse. In fact, it’s even been described as being “able to do anything, but nothing of them particularly well”. In order to shape it to do what it needs to do for your business, you’re going to need to pour a whole lot or resource (time, human and financial) into it – with no guarantee of smooth results.
WordPress is a platform that many people are familiar with for basic blogging or website needs – but as an intranet platform, it’s not without its own issues. You don’t want to go into a system without getting the reassurance that it’s going to do what you need it to without over-the-top levels of investment.
External Support To See You Through
Cloud-based software obviously doesn’t magically fix all things – and even the best, most carefully engineering pieces of software hit roadblocks. You’ll want to be confident in the technical support that comes with whatever company you go with. Do some sleuthing and make sure to ask all sorts of tricky questions if you’re talking to a sales rep. What’s their typical turnaround time for fixing issues that go beyond the scope of what your admin staff can fix? Do they offer round the clock support, or are you at the behest of whatever timezone their offices are based in? Don’t just go with one provider because they give you a convincing initial pitch. Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into – so that you know that they can get you out of a tight spot if necessary!
Testing The Waters
Would you buy a new car without taking it for a test drive, or a pair of shoes without trying them on? An intranet system is going to affect a whole lot more than just your daily commute or the comfort of your feet.
Go for an intranet provider who can provide you a free demo and some instruction to kick things off so that you can make a fully informed decision. You don’t want to find yourself tied to a platform that didn’t end up doing what you thought it did, just because you were lured in by a shiny website and lavish promises. Keen to try MyHub? Get in touch!
P.S: This is a guest post, courtesy of MyHub Intranet Solutions. “Guest” is not “Sponsored” and while the content is theirs, I selected and approved it as it covers a topic offering added value to businesses. As such, I want to thank them for giving me the opportunity to feature this guest post here.
MyHub Intranet Solutions is a leading cloud-based intranet software provider serving clients all over the world. We’re driven by the desire to be the best intranet provider in the world and are dedicated to providing market leading innovation, solutions, and service. For more information, please visit www.myhubintranet.com.