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Intranets in 2024: What’s In and What’s Out

Intranets in 2024: What’s In and What’s Out

Cara Heimbaugh

4 mins read

Thu, Apr 11, '24  

Long gone are the days of intranets acting as mere content repositories or static news sites that are consistently out of date. In a world with endless technological possibilities and a largely remote workforce, that’s simply not going to cut it. 

Moreover, it’s not just about what we should be leaving behind in terms of intranet technology, but also about leaning into what works. A properly crafted intranet with features to support the internal audiences of today can have a major impact on culture, operations, and business at-large. 

So for those organizations that are wondering where to look to turn an intranet house into a true digital home for your organization, let’s look at what features to adopt and which to abandon.

In: A user-centered experience, Out: A business solution focus

All intranet users are consumers outside the four walls of a business. And the best applications, websites, and brands put the user experience at the forefront of consideration. Not only does this help boost engagement, but it also provides an environment for feedback and continued iteration. Because when all is said and done, when users are not adopting and using an intranet site, all other features become obsolete. 

In: AI-powered features, Out: Basic anything

AI applications are possible across almost every industry, and intranet technology is no different. From AI writing assistants for intranet pages to chat bots, intelligent notifications and alerts, and AI-powered search, there’s a lot of missed opportunity in not attempting to leverage AI. AI features can lead to easier access to information, streamlined communications, and a faster, more dynamic experience for your users. 

In: Everyone in one place, Out: Heavy email use

One of our clients told us that they were “trying to run a $130M operation out of email”. There is simply too much knowledge and information to volley it all in email. It’s a channel slow to action with a much higher rate of losing information or sharing misinformation. Instead, a modern intranet brings all sources of information together as a centralized source of truth with the ability to customize access per role and get people the information they need faster and with greater accuracy. 

In: Targeted, effective communications, Out: Spray and pray comms

Posting on an intranet can sometimes feel like you’re screaming into a void. And with an intranet that has low adoption and unengaged users, sometimes it is exactly that. Intranets that leverage channels, pages, and mirror external user experiences that your employees are familiar with and feel excited by help to cut through the noise and give teams the proper channels and settings to get the messages to the right people at the right time and with greater success. 

In: Beautiful sites with personality, Out: Dull sites with limited features

Why have an intranet be a place for minimal personality with communication blockers and boring, off-brand themes? Taking the opportunity to build a beautiful, branded site that is customized to your organization’s needs promotes greater engagement and acts as an internal extension of your existing website. Two-way communications that include threads, comments, reactions, and custom emojis gives users a familiar experience they are used to outside of work and an opportunity to allow diversity to shine. 

In: Simpler, faster rollouts, Out: Complex, months-long project

The Nielsen Group reported in July 2023* that the average rollout time for a “winning intranet” was 25 months. We have to agree to disagree. Rolling out a winning intranet can be much simpler than in past decades. With AI page builders, pre-built templates that follow best practices, and easily customizable widgets, your organization’s intranet can experience a quicker rollout without sacrificing quality, security, or design. 

In: Aligned organizations, Out: Disconnected teams

Many intranets that find even marginal success often find it at the team level. Intranets are a place where teams can stay aligned and organized. But modern intranets seek to align as one organization, across teams horizontally sharing knowledge, and from top to bottom, with company-wide news, announcements and stories that get attention. With a robust intranet at the center of your organization’s internal communications strategy, businesses can create one organization, made up of specialized teams, that are all working in a synchronized manor toward the same corporate objectives. 

In: Intranet maturity journeys, Out: A static intranet home

Having your intranet act as little more than a bulletin board and never evolve is a surefire way for your internal audiences to lose interest and trust. Your organization should view your intranet as a house. That house should, ideally, contain the best features possible and be for for purpose for those who occupy the space. 

But in order to make that intranet house a digital home, it requires commitment to sharing knowledge with one another, giving accurate information, building trusting relationships, celebrating victories, aiding in requests, and looking and feeling like the organization it represents. This takes time, but brings with it the deepest value stretching across all teams and forming a unified purpose. 

If you’re from a Google-powered business and are looking for an intranet technology partner that can provide you with that intranet house and also help guide your organization on a maturity journey toward a digital home where your teams actually want to start their day and share their ideas, you can reach out to a Happeo expert, and we can help you visualize what your digital home may look like and the value it can provide. 

Or, take a self-guided tour through what Happeo offers our global Google-run customers. 

*Source: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/intranet-design/