As the name suggests, an intranet is a network for internally sharing information, systems, tools and other services within an organization, such as a company.
An intranet is exclusive to an organization, with no access to outsiders, making it the perfect place to share corporate news and important information. It’s also a place to store company documents such as employee manuals, user documentation and document-based projects. SharePoint, made by Microsoft, is among the most popular out-of-the-box intranet solutions.
So, what is the purpose of the intranet? In this guide, we provide an overview of the benefits of setting up this type of network. Additionally, we’ve included use cases and guidelines for getting started. Our 2022 digital workplace guide is another great resource for assessing intranet possibilities.
The Benefits of an Intranet
Document management is an issue for all kinds of organizations, regardless of type or size. Without a centralized location to share and store documents and disseminate important information, companies may find themselves unnecessarily spending time chasing down those documents and information. And particularly as employees come and go, knowledge of where specific items live can be lost with them.
Regardless of company size or industry, the benefits of an intranet run deep. Consider the following:
- Improved internal communication. With an efficient way of communicating internally, management can ensure employees at every level stay well informed of company news, policy updates and compliance information. An intranet also supports two-way communication, which can unlock boots-on-the-ground insights and make employees feel heard.
- Easier to find and share information. Information and data have a way of going missing within organizations, particularly larger ones. An intranet helps protect against this by giving this information a permanent place to live.
- Streamlined onboarding. Onboarding new employees without an intranet can drain your organization of time and money. An intranet makes it easier to connect with new hires, provide them with the necessary documents and maintain ongoing communication to help them hit the ground running.
- Knowledge sharing. Without an intranet, employees may struggle to find an outlet to share information. But with an intranet, knowledge sharing becomes a part of every employee’s daily life.
- Version control. Without an intranet, a collaborative live document can end up in multiple people’s hands, all making changes on their own and thus creating too many versions. An intranet helps with access control by ensuring that a document lives in one place and that when changes are made, the updated version is available for everyone.
- Time savings. An intranet can reduce the number of in-person meetings, phone calls and emails between team members because sharing important documents is as simple as sending others a link or pointing them to a folder on the intranet.
What is the Difference Between the Internet and Intranet?
An intranet can sound a lot like the internet. In fact, there are many advantages to setting up an intranet for your company. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Privacy. There’s some information you want to keep away from the public. An intranet allows you to do that. Your company intranet is the place to share information that you want everyone in the organization, but no one outside it, to see.
- Collegial culture. An intranet gives employees a place where they can go to access important information from management, helping them feel connected to those at the top and like part of the overall team.
- Document security. Information security is important. With an intranet, you can share whatever information needs to be seen across the company, without worrying about prying eyes outside the organization seeing those documents.
What Guidelines Should be in Place?
It’s one thing to adopt an intranet, but another thing entirely to ensure that employees know how to use it. While every company will create its own set of intranet guidelines, here are some basics to put you on the right track:
- Make it easy to use the intranet across multiple devices by providing documentation and training, and explaining the benefits of using the new intranet.
- Encourage dialogue around best practices for using the intranet; different departments or work teams may use it in different ways, and often there are opportunities for teams to learn from one another.
- Implement an analytics-based system for tracking performance, because when you know how your intranet is or isn’t being used, you can determine how to best get everyone on board.
- Empower employees to make the company intranet their own by explaining how it can make their lives easier.
How Are Intranets Used?
If there’s one thing you need to know about an intranet, it’s this: there’s no shortage of ways to use it. Here are just a few of the most common use cases:
- A place for people within an organization to access important news updates, share files and provide input. Company leaders can use an intranet to fully engage in company communications and get the most out of their first-line team members.
- Data storage for documents and other company information. An intranet also offers the benefit of version control.
- Integration with third-party tools, such as Microsoft Teams and Yammer, can provide everyone in a company with a comprehensive communication and collaboration platform.
- A space for onboarding and training, including sharing employee manuals, documentation for systems and procedures, and HR videos.
- An intranet also significantly boosts employee engagement. Tryane’s powerful analytics solutions can reveal insights on how employees are engaging with a company’s various communications platforms.
While these are among the most common use cases, the more you use an intranet, the more you’ll realize that other opportunities are available to you. No matter how you set up your intranet, do so with the idea of making it a powerful internal communication and engagement tool for your team.
With the help of a Tryane analytics solution for SharePoint, you can also gain access to the insights you need to make the most of your intranet, such as who is using what functionality and who is accessing what information. For more information, get in touch with us today.