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Building A World-class Intranet and Document Management Solution

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

Here’s the truth about company intranets: they tend to be built on older technology that’s difficult to support, nearly impossible to navigate, and completely static. Employees tend to avoid using the site, turning a potentially useful tool into a complete ghost town.

When built correctly, intranets can be incredibly helpful tools that streamline communication, improve business processes, and increase efficiency. However, knowing exactly what your internal site needs to be successful is easier said than done. Deciding on features, platforms, hosting sites, and a myriad of other factors can be overwhelming.

To help you build a world-class intranet, JourneyTEAM has created a list of best practices that when followed, can help you build a successful internal website.

people collaborating on a computer

The Purpose of an Intranet

Before we dive into what works and what doesn’t, it’s important to understand the purpose of an intranet is and why it’s so important to your business.

At its most basic level, an intranet is designed to connect your employees to company information. This includes:

  • Colleague contact information.

  • Business organization charts.

  • Company information, such as documents, support videos, quick links, etc.

  • Company culture such as news articles, employee recognition, and updates.

  • Internal business applications, tools, and software.

Ultimately, a company’s internal website should keep organizations connected to the information and tools they need while supporting them in their roles. It should be a place employees can access from anywhere to complete tasks, find answers to questions, and collaborate with colleagues. The site should help people find, share, and act on information that improves business performance.

girl working on laptop

How is an Intranet Organized?

Most intranets contain an overwhelming amount of data. This can make understanding what is and isn’t housed on the site confusing. Essentially, intranets can be organized into four different buckets:

  1. Individual content: This includes content like emails, calendar items, personal notebooks, share files, and lists.

  2. Ad-hoc conversations: Examples of ad-hoc conversations include group emails or chats, meetings, screen sharing, etc.

  3. Collaboration: Network operations, hosting teams, and development teams are considered collaborative groups. Each one collaborates with the other via tools like shared mailboxes, calendars, planner, Power BI workspaces, and more.

  4. Organizational content and communication: This is arguably the most important aspect of intranet organization. Information should be clearly and concisely organized so employees can determine what is corporate-approved content and what isn’t. Things like calendars, forms, templates, knowledge bases, and communities are a few examples of corporate-approved content.

10 Best Practices for Creating a High-Quality Intranet

How can you tell if an intranet is high-quality? At JourneyTEAM, we feel the biggest telltale sign of a good intranet is that if you added someone new to your team tomorrow, you can send them to your intranet and they would have everything they need to do their job.

The following best practices will help you achieve this:

1. Has an Inclusive Group Identity

Your intranet should work towards common business objectives. It’s crucial that your intranet be a digital representation of a single, cohesive organization that’s working together to achieve a common goal. This will increase overall usage of the site as well as overall satisfaction.

2. Include Tools that Increase Collaboration, Sharing, and Productivity

As previously mentioned, your internal site should be a place employees can go and have everything needed to accomplish tasks. Additionally, users should be able to communicate with fellow colleagues, find help or answers to questions, learn about company policies, and access company documents.

3. Ensure a Single Point of Access

Regardless of where users are located, they should be able to access your intranet from either a desktop or mobile device. If employees have to click on multiple links or are only able to access the site while in the office, they are hardly going to use it. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure users can access the site from anywhere—desktop, mobile, etc.

4. Empower Users to Collaborate

Your intranet should be a place where the entire organization can come to talk and work together. Teams across the organization should be able to log on and discuss projects, problems, or objectives. The rest of the organization should be able to see progress or results through recognition or news articles.

5. One, Single Platform

If employees have to use multiple tools or platforms to access the intranet, they’re less likely to use it. Your users should be able to manage tasks, share information, or collaborate all on a single platform.

example of an intranet

6. Create a Sense of Community

The intranet is a digital representation of your company’s culture, its values, and what’s important. The site should foster a sense of belonging to a united organization with a common purpose, direction, and mission.

7. Include Modern Features

Most intranet platforms feature thousands of features that can enhance the performance of your site. It’s important to include helpful, intuitive tools such as:

  • Favorite pages and tools: To help users access their commonly used pages, tools, or links, include a ‘Favorite’ tool. Users can then quickly access tools or pages with a single click.

  • Personalization: Ensure content that’s directly related to users’ roles are present upon users logging in.

  • Enterprise search: The enterprise search option uses a single search query to search through thousands of documents to help users quick;y find what they’re looking for .

  • Scoped search: Unlike enterprise search, scoped search limits the search to a single section or a specific piece of content. Typically, these results are presented in a drop-down scope or an autocomplete scope.

8. Keep Leadership Involved

To increase user adoption of the intranet, it’s important leadership be involved and active on the site. It’s important that executives be actively commenting on posts, sending feedback, posting recognition, and asking questions.

9. Create a Seamless User Experience

With thousands of intranet features available, you may be tempted to stuff as many of them into the site as possible. However, it’s important that the number of features you include doesn’t hinder navigation or content discoverability. The use of drop-down menus, breadcrumbs, search bars, and an effective top menu will help maximize usability.

10. Provide High-Quality Content

Finally, it’s important intranet content be relevant, informative, and accurate. Intranet content managers, editors, and writers can help ensure content meets specific standards and helps employees accomplish work.

Build Your Perfect Intranet with JourneyTEAM

At JourneyTEAM, we can help you build a high-quality intranet that meets your specific organizational goals. Whether you’re just getting started with your internal site or want to make improvements, JourneyTEAM can help.

Find out pricing of our intranet packages and how to get started here: 3 Intranet Packages with JourneyTEAM.

If you’re ready to get started building your perfect internal site, contact JourneyTEAM today.



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