Define your intranet requirements the smart way
Define your intranet requirements the smart way
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
The State of API Integration 2018: Get Cloud Elements’ report for the most comprehensive breakdown of the API integration industry’s past, present, and future.
Have you decided that you need an intranet, or social business tool, and better internal communications, but you’re not sure what the next steps are?
Follow this blog for a step by step plan to a complete understanding of your intranet requirements.
1. Consider all of your stakeholder’s objectives
Time should be spent considering the intranet requirements of different areas/departments across the whole of your business. Each department head and the people within the department will have their own needs which align to business objectives, improving efficiency and supporting employees in their objectives.
When approaching your colleagues you may find it useful to have base understanding of the capabilities of a social intranet and how it could fit into your business. Request a demo of Interact Intranet so that you understand what your departments could achieve before speaking to them.
To help you determine their intranet requirements we recommend that you spend time in each department discussing ‘pain points’ with departmental leaders, knowledge workers and frontline workers. This will ensure you create intranet that solves real business problems and meets employees everyday needs.
Let’s take one department at a time and look at the common areas a social intranet can support their objectives and provide time or cost savings.
Information Technology (IT)
The IT department’s time is eaten up with serving the needs of other departments and controlling systems they don’t otherwise have any interest in. An out of the box, easy to use intranet will eradicate much of this. These are some of the ways they can save resources:
- No need for software and applications development
- A technical support facility – Help Desk Area
- Network management and permissions don’t require IT know how
- Reduce the burden of email
Human Resources (HR)
HR departments have the potential to be one of the greatest benefiters of an new social intranet by reducing the need for duplication of effort and streamlining processes. These are just a few examples of the benefits:
- Cut down on administration
- Support a people centric approach
- Increase the visibility of employee advocacy
- Manage and monitor employee development
- Increase employee retention
- Improve knowledge management
For more information read our blog ‘6 ways an intranet can benefit your HR department’
Customer Service and Support
Customer service level agreements can be supported and monitored using the tools a social intranet offers:
- Assign and track support cases
- Order entry and tracking
- Enable customer service teams to resolve queries quickly and efficiently
- Achieve consistent service by providing call scripts to deal with different caller profiles
- Speed up customer issue resolutions by matching customers to products, services and suppliers
Sales & Marketing
Fast access to the latest up to date information can be crucial for Sales and Marketing departments. It can make the difference between making and breaking a sale. Importantly a social intranet allows sales to have fast and easy access to all marketing material and documentation:
- Maintain consistent corporate identity by making presentations and collateral
- Keep staff informed of product developments by publishing internal news on your intranet
- Increase staff motivation by publishing success stories and customer testimonials
- Share information about social media activity which provide potential sales opportunities
Management & Executive
There are a number of ways your board or leadership team can benefit from a social intranet your most effective course of action in getting buy in from your leadership team is to work closely with one board member and make them an advocate for your intranet.
- Employee self service
- Increase revenue and efficiencies
- Communicating corporate messages
- Reduce the burden of adhering to compliance
- Nurture leadership skills
Read this blog for some great ideas of how an intranet can benefit your board.
Finance & Accounts
Your accounts team will love a system which automates employee expenses, purchase order processes and invoicing processes, here are some of the ways they can benefit from a social intranet.
- Intranet based forms for accounts payable/receivable support
- Access to budget documents which are controlled by department heads
- Automated expense recording
- Reporting and forecasting is simplified with permission based access to all required information
- Asset management facilities
As Accounting and Finance departments have some of the most crucial data it is critical that certain information remains secure. So ensure your choice of intranet has the built in Security and Permissions necessary to achieve this.
Remote workers come in many guises, sales teams, trainers, retail stores or care workers to name a few. But all are detached from the core business and need extra support to feel engaged. Here are a few ways you can support them:
- A people directory so the right people with the right expertise can be found quickly
- Discussion forums enable all employees to have a voice
- Personalised home pages mean that information useful to them is easily accessible
- Making your intranet accessible outside of the office and on any device
- Easy access to the latest documents and policies while out on the road
CrossCountry have a largely dispersed workforce, discover the techniques they use >
2. Determine Intranet Goals
Once you have gathered the needs of each department you can start to build on themes and common goals to identify your intranet goals.
Effective goals generally focus on business outcomes, to ensure that the intranet is a valuable to the organisation.
Goals may include:
Improve knowledge sharing
- Implement an “IT FAQ” section to reduce internal queries to our IT team by 50% by end of the year.
- Transfer all current policies and procedures to intranet by the end of Q4
- 20% of employees using forums to increase knowledge sharing & reduce email by 20% by the end of Q3
Reduce staff turnover by 10% by
- Get 85% of remote workers accessing the intranet within 6 months of launch
- Share company information with 1 member of management blogging every week
- Create awareness of business objectives through CEO video every quarter
Reduce business running costs by 10%
- Encourage the use of forums, blogging and intranet teams to reduce internal email by 30% by Q3
- Transfer internal purchase ordering process to intranet based forms in by the end of Q1
- Employees to use intranet to submit expenses saving 15 hours per month by the end of Q2
When setting these goals make sure you are realistic, for example if your remote users don’t yet have access to a device so they can access the intranet, 85% is a high target to meet. In this case 60% of remote workers accessing the intranet in 6 months would probably be a more achievable target
Think about your company goals for the next 12 months and beyond, consider how your intranet goals will support the overall business goals. You will find this is key in proving that your new intranet is a financially viable project. You will find detailed information about this in the building an intranet business case template, which will guide you through your next phase.
It is also important to consider how you will measure your goals. If your goal is to increase staff engagement, what will success look like? It might be useful to take what statistics you can before you install your new intranet, even if it’s just a questionnaire you send round to people asking them for feedback. Send it around again about 6 months after your new intranet is installed to assess how things have improved.
Take a 30 day free trial of Interact Intranet, with our support you will discover if Interact ntranet meets all of your business objectives.
3. Define your constraints
What are the constraints that your intranet must work with?
Consider specialist knowledge you may need to implement an intranet, designers, consultants, specialist IT knowledge or data migration
When considering costs consider initial purchase costs, customisation, and recurring costs
Hosting options, compatible operating systems or integration with existing platforms
Do you have timescales to meet, can implementation be achieved in this time?
Requirements for multilingual or supporting features for multiple time zones
Make your intranet available outside the office and on any device to remove access barriers for remote and front line employees.
4. You now have your intranet requirements
Once you have gathered all of this information you are in an informed position to move on to the next step; being able to make an informed decision about which solution is right for you.
Considerations when deciding which intranet is right for you;
- Does the intranet meet the expectations of your departments?
- Does the intranet meet the intranet goals you set?
- Will it meet your constraints?
- And finally talk to the companies that you are considering, they may have some great ideas that you haven’t considered
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.