7 Tips to Unlock Business Success from Your Enterprise Intranet on Office 365

7With dramatic changes in the business world over the past few decades, there is a remarkable change in technology and the ways of business operations. While some technologies flashed and faded, enterprise intranets have endured and unlocked the business success in many ways. 

Intranet Defined – “Intranet is simply an internal website of the organization, and mainly used for top-down communication and collaboration where employees can access enterprise policies, news, and announcements.”

A corporate intranet represents a digital and holistic solution that integrates various tools, applications and platforms for improved communication and collaboration at workplace. The beginnings of intranet started with limited functionalities, and now it is driving productivity, managing projects effectively and enabling employees to search and exchange information with ease.

In similar manner, intranets have largely revolutionized complete business operations, even the managers are astonished at how the right enterprise intranet can boost the bottom line of business.  With the dynamic requirements of modern work place, it is important for employees to communicate remotely, cooperate efficiently, search and share resources with ease, and know-how quickly.

According to a report on Enterprise Collaboration by MarketsandMarkets, the global market of enterprise collaboration is expected to grow from USD 31.0 billion in 2019 to USD 48.1 billion by 2024 at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 9.2%. While these statistics indicate the inclusion of different collaboration tools, but intranet is most likely among the top preferences of the organizations owing to the high adoption rates among different generation of employees. Considering different intranet platforms, Microsoft SharePoint aces the game of enterprise collaboration. Since the first release of SharePoint in 2001, it has gone through many transformations that have led to its top position among other intranet platforms. The continuous updates in SharePoint let the solution stay one of the most preferred solution for enterprise collaboration for more than two decades.

Before we proceed to the essential tips to unlock business success from your enterprise intranet, let’s understand why do companies need an intranet and why build it on SharePoint?

  • Why your business needs an intranet?

There are various communication and collaboration solutions in market, but an intranet has many unique capabilities for boosting productivity and efficiency in business. It puts all activities and channels into collaboration under one roof. The synergy brought by intranet enables your business to ensure the centralized distribution of knowledge and consistency of information while providing a unified communication environment. The key functions of an enterprise intranet include multi-level communication, automated workflow, seamless content management, internal and external collaboration, secure & integrated digital environment.

  • Why SharePoint for intranet?

With dozens of intranet platforms, why SharePoint is considered to be on the leading position among them. So, the answer is its adaptability features. Microsoft SharePoint comes with an extended set of out-of-the-box features that can be customized to allows you to create a completely unique enterprise solution. Owing to the flexibility of customization, SharePoint intranet have the capability to become a comprehensive enterprise system that covers all important business functions.

Creating a customized business intranet that users will love is the ultimate objective but at the same time, it is difficult to cater the diversity of choice in functionality, features, approaches, and tools. So, the fact is that every intranet is unique in its own ways and depends on the needs of users, purpose, culture, objectives, and challenges faced by the business. However, there are some basic tips that can make the intranet usage and adoption successful.

Let’s take a look at 7 important tips to leverage enterprise intranet on Office 365 for business success.

  1. Define vision

Every user needs a right direction to work in the organization and similarly, an intranet needs to be aligned with a clear vision. The basic question that needs to be answered is – “What it is for?”

Few good examples of intranet vision are:

  • Make life easier for the employees. It will also support in collaborating with teams and sharing resources across the organization
  • To improve the search results for information and documents so that maximum time of employees can be saved
  • To make a centralized repository of information like forms, policies, templates.
  • To collaborate among project teams, office and other functional group

2. Post Engaging content

A great intranet is always engaging. Writing for an intranet requires to understand the needs of your audience and write content according to the users. Some tips for writing good content for an intranet are:

  • Short, and easy to read matters
  • Use images to catch the attention of users and illustrate your points
  • Provide helpful links for further information
  • Multi-media videos should be used to engage maximum users
  • Provide a feedback system for users so that they can speak their mind.

 3. Well-populated profiles

Communication and collaboration is one of the primary objectives of an intranet. When employees are dispersed across different job locations, or working remotely, it is a major challenge. It is extremely important to have right person with right skills at right time. Therefore, the accurate, updated, and populated employee profiles is required on an intranet.  The employee directory is considered to be default solution, but intranet needs to go beyond basic user details like name, address, and contact number. The rich information like project teams, work groups, updated profiles, expertise and skills need to be completed in the staff profile for better accessibility and communication.

4. Define roles and responsibilities

Managing a successful intranet is all about identifying roles and responsibilities: who should see what on an intranet? The intranet governance model clearly defines the expectations of users and help keep the intranet functioning in smooth manner. It typically clarifies the responsibility of stakeholders for specific tasks, visibility of content to users, adding or maintaining the content in different sections of intranet, ensuring that intranet meet the objectives of business.

For this purpose, you may need to identify tasks and responsibilities, understand the project roles, and then, assign to team members. According to the determined roles and responsibilities, build the site and create the permission structure. While building the structure, it is important to ensure that the users can see or act on their assigned tasks.

5. Employee recognition & engagement

Recognition and engagement is a powerful tool for motivating employees. Being recognized and rewarded is a basic requirement of employees but unfortunately, it is missed in most of the companies. The main reason is that the people who have the power to praise are not available every time and everywhere.

The formal processes like performance reviews don’t provide timely and agile recognition. A tool for peer-to-peer recognition empowers the users to take ownership of work and reward each other to boost the morale and engagement. It creates a positive aura in the organization and the contribution of employees are valued and also, makes your intranet the soul of the organization.

6. On-demand departments/projects/teams

The traditional hierarchy of the organization that follows the specific roles in the department is obsolete now. Today, organizations work more collaboratively and team members are connected with each other by a purpose or project, rather than their job functions. The organizations need to ensure that there are dedicate spaces for teams to communicate about work or specific projects.

Providing on-demand areas for the project or teams, people can take control of their work space and manage it well. The teams can self-serve themselves and take the responsibility of managing their own spaces. These areas hold the content, discussions, and media for a particular team or project, and allow access of required information to all the team members, regardless of their location, time zones, and keeps everyone up-to-date.

7. Engaging and dynamic homepages

Using technology in personal and professional capacity is a habit of everyone but the key is to stay dynamic and updated. This dynamicity applies to intranet as well; it is important for intranet managers to keep the home page of your intranet engaging with ever-changing content. It is not that easy to get people log into your intranet every day, and even if they come and see the monotonous pages, images, and messages, they will never come back.

If you want high intranet adoption rates, you need to create dynamic and engaging home pages where the users can see frequently changing content. And most importantly, the users should see only the relevant content, which is tailored to the individual. This can be achieved with the help of “pull” feature in content in different areas of an intranet.

A customized section for content can also be created that is marked as favorite by the individual user. It gives a more personalized experience to the employees and they will engage more with the intranet, when they see that content is relevant or of interest to them.

In conclusion

The right intranet has all the capabilities to transform the bottom line of your business. Using the above tips, you can use your intranet for best of your benefits. Achieve business success from your Office 365 intranet efficiently and don’t lose any more time on endless email threads, stucked projects, lack of employee engagement and other challenges.

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