7 Characteristics of a Successful Intranet

author Paula Matthews, April 17, 2012

The thought of each and every employee using it on a daily basis is a constant worry, as you pervasively envisage fellow colleagues struggling to use it, management unable to govern it and the CEO simply hating it.  Some view it as a burden while other employees look upon it as an enjoyable and creative undertaking.  Whichever way you look at it, choosing an intranet for your organisation is an extremely important decision that will have major implications for the future.

So, below are 7 characteristics fundamental to a successful intranet.

Communication – The intranet must support various communication channels, such as information from the management team concerning strategic aspects of their organisation or collaboration amongst project teams and departments. These formal and informal methods of communication are equally important. Therefore essential to have an in-depth look at the communication tools on offer.

Maintenance and Updating – It is inevitable that your intranet will require frequent updating and maintenance to ensure that the information provided is both relevant and accurate. Adding an image or changing content should not be a difficult process, nor should it be time-consuming. Surprisingly, many intranet systems require the help of technically skilled people to perform these tasks.

Analysing your Intranet – You may not have time to monitor the entire intranet, and this may not be something that as a company you would be interested in. However knowing which documents are popular and what users are searching for provides you with an insightful window into future improvements.

Search – An effective search function is important in building and maintaining trust with the corporate intranet. Hopeless search queries which do not render anything helpful can be both frustrating and inefficient.

Business Processes– For some organisations the need for electronic forms and workflows on the intranet may not be immediately obvious. It is only when a breakdown in the ability to effectively and efficiently perform processes that an alternative is sought.

Access flexibility – Accessibility by either a laptop or desktop is no longer acceptable, as not all employees perform tasks and activities at their desks. Certain job roles require employees to visit clients, and regular off-site meetings are becoming more common. Therefore flexibility in accessing their intranet on mobile devices and tablets should facilitate and not compromise their ability to perform tasks on their intranet.

Online Workspace – It is important to think about the functions and daily tasks carried out by each department within your organisation, as each department varies considerably in terms of what they need to successfully do their job. For instance, the ability to create Wikis may not necessarily be important to the sales team but the IT department may find it useful for sharing technical information.