A whole gamut of solutions are sold under the umbrella of “Intranet” offering vastly diverse capabilities. To determine what features you require from your Intranet, it makes sense to categorize them by what you will use your Intranet for.
Most Intranets serve as a digital hub, where teams work together towards common goals, or access information essential to performing their jobs. Accordingly, you should look for the following features
- Online Document Management. A place to store, share and work together on business documents like brochures, spreadsheets, presentations, specification documents etc.
- Online Project Management. Help your team coordinate team projects and tasks including the ability to create and assign tasks, set dependencies and get visual overviews with Gantt charts etc.
- Shared Calendars. Allow your teams to coordinate schedules, set up meetings and highlight important events.
- Contact Management. A central hub for important internal and external corporate contacts.
- Workspaces. Different teams need to be able to focus on their team goals without distraction. Workspaces allow you to create discrete online spaces for each team or department focused on productivity and collaboration for that team only.
Corporate Communication (the ability to Broadcast)
Apart from productivity, organizations need to broadcast information to the workforce, partners and clients to serve objectives like motivation, convey the company brand and culture, recognize performers etc. The features that achieve this objective are:
- Customizable landing pages. The ability to create Intranet landing pages which combine design with corporate information. For example a company might want to have a company Intranet page where it can highlight important company news, upcoming events, display a message from the CEO, or recognize an “employee of the month”.
- News. News allows companies to display important company and industry news that keeps employees engaged and be better informed to perform their jobs.
- Blogs. Allow employees to go beyond specific tasks and share their opinions and expertise through blog entries.
Communication is the life blood of any organization. This holds especially true today where teams are scattered across the world. A company needs to have efficient ways to allow teams to interact with each other. Important communication tools that Intranets should have include:
- Group and Personal Chat. In our own company, a big part of our work day consists of interacting in uShare.to, our team communication software where we get together to discuss issues and solve problems. Text chat is not integral to how we communicate as a society, and the same holds true for organizations.
- Video/Audio conferencing. The ability to have intensive in-person interactions between groups and individuals via audio and video to achieve organizational goals.
- Mobile messaging. It is not sufficient to be able to communicate only when we have access to a laptop or a desktop. Since many of us are on the road, we should be able to whip out our phones, and immediately participate in the conversation.
Access to line-of-business applications
In addition to generic “team” applications, most organizations have unique processes that it is hard to find out-of-the-box solutions for. As the company’s digital hub, Intranets are a great place to allow employees access to these line of business applications, and indeed, create some of these applications not readily available in the market.
- Online database applications and web forms. These tools allow lay users to quickly create simple applications to address unique business processes. Access to these applications can then be given readily from within the intranet.
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