Seven Tips To Ensure A Great Intranet

Posted by Mitchell Communications Group on January 9, 2013

A company’s intranet is your employees’ gateway for business knowledge and internal collaboration. A great intranet helps to blast apart silos, forge new relationships, and nimbly respond to external and internal requests.

While different industries have a variety of information and collaboration requirements, here are seven must-have qualities that every intranet needs to succeed.

  1. It must be easy to use, by both employees and administrators. Any barriers, such as multiple verifications, confusing directory paths, indecipherable tools and even site crashes can chip away at its usefulness.
  2. It must be easy to find information, be it people, knowledge, assets or forms. Here is where both navigation and search are critical. If your team can't find it (now, six months from now or six years from now), then it's a wasted resource.
  3. It must have up-to-date information and business tools that your employees count on to do their jobs. Is your old logo still on some online forms? Are you running the latest version of the CMS? Don’t hobble your employees with out-of-date tools.
  4. It must have metrics and feedback. You’ll need critical success and failure indicators. Feedback allows your employees to alert you to problems and opportunities, both with the intranet and with the business. Timely follow-up for both feedback and metrics helps to fix problems, increase engagement and boost the confidence of the users in the intranet.
  5. It must have collaboration tools, with the ability to handle discussions and individual messaging. Email is not enough anymore in our texting and video-based world. People need to find and communicate with others quickly and easily.
  6. It must be secure. Your company knowledge should be easily accessible by your employees but not by hackers or, worse yet, your competitors.
  7. It must have executive support and usage. Nothing sends a more powerful statement than an executive using the company intranet for collaboration and information, just like the gang on the shop floor. An added bonus is that executive usage often helps find and fix problem areas simply because of the focus they may bring to the project.

If you have yet to implement your company’s intranet, here are two additional must-haves: strategy and governance. Defining who you’re serving, what they’ll need, what your objectives and goals are, and how you measure success will take you a long way into building a strategic vision for your intranet. A published governance guides the administrative team after implementation, gets buy-in from executives and encourages engagement across all areas.

Are there other must-haves for an intranet site that we failed to mention? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet your responses using the hashtag #mcgblog.