Can an intranet help you overcome portal pandemonium?

28 June 2016 | Chris Marshall

Do you ever find yourself taking a step back from your company intranet and thinking, “I wish it could be just a little easier to run!” Well, you’re not alone. In our experience of working with hundreds of intranet managers, we so often hear from pros who feel the same. Your platform, which was once shiny and new, seems to rapidly become hard to manage and maintain. What’s worse, your colleagues spend half their time moaning to you about problems they’re having.

How did it get like this? And, perhaps more importantly, how can you empower yourself – and your colleagues – to overcome the problems inherent in many traditional intranets?

This is a big topic, so we have dedicated a five-post blog series on the challenges of managing and updating your company intranet. We’ll explore the reasons why the traditional approach to intranets inherently brings about confusion and chaos for you and your end users. And, we look at how a Fresh intranet built on Office 365 may well provide the solution.

An Intranet manager is as important as an urban planner

There’s a lot of similarities between the role of an urban planner and an intranet manager. Just as an intranet manager needs to design the intranet around how users work, a city planner needs to build a city around the way people travel the town. Just as an intranet manager needs to adapt to new technology such as mobile and the cloud, a city planner has had to incorporate new technologies, too – from modern sewage systems to the motorcar.

Take a look at Paris – famed for its wide and beautiful boulevards, the city that tourists see today has only really existed since the end of the 1800s. Prior to its redesign by Georges-Eugène Haussmann, a Parisian civil servant, the city was a maze of winding medieval streets, open sewers and chaotic housebuilding and slums. For much of the city’s history, it made perfect sense to let the town evolve naturally, absorbing new arrivals and growing ‘organically’. However, as the population exploded during the industrial revolution, the city became full of danger and disease. It was therefore essential to redesign it for the modern world – with wide boulevards, straight roads and an up-to-date sewage system.

The same story goes for an intranet manager. Once upon a time, it was easy enough to let an intranet evolve by itself, letting people add sites and publish content as they wished. However, this just doesn’t square with the needs of a modern company. Today, users expect – and need – to be able to connect and collaborate from wherever they are. They need to be able to find information more easily. And the content you publish – from video to blog posts – needs to be attainable from any device. Fundamentally, the intranet needs to be ‘future proofed’ – ready to evolve with the ever-changing business and technology environment.

The old approach to intranets is no longer appropriate

In the past, a company’s intranet was simply a place to find out basic information and store documents. Similarly, before the industrial revolution cities were usually small and home to just a few specialised businesses and activities (most people basically worked on farms in the countryside). However, with industrialisation, cities became more complex, with an increase of people living in them and participating in a far broader range of activities. The same goes for the modern intranet. Employees don’t just want to store documents there, they want to collaborate on work in real time, talk to one another freely, share ideas and work in a way that suits them best.

Research from the Nielsen Norman Group shows that intranets are gradually improving. Nevertheless, there’s a lot to be desired, and most end users still find their portal difficult to use and an intranet manager find it hard to manage updates, content and admin tasks. It’s clear that a new solution is needed. Much like Paris in the 1850s, a new approach is required; based on best practice, planning for the future and a model that is adaptable and scalable.

Why have stale when you can have stunning?

When Baron Haussmann redesigned Paris, his aim wasn’t to build something which would be useful for 50 or so years before needing to be rebuilt entirely for the next generation. Instead, the vision was for a new kind of city which would be able to adapt to the changes in technology and society for centuries to come.

An intranet built on Office 365 can play a similar role for your organisation’s internal infrastructure. Rather than locking you into on-premises technology which dates fast and quickly becomes irrelevant, Fresh – from Content and Code – is the intranet of the future. It brings you constant updates in software from Microsoft via Office 365, constant support and improvement, while also being perfectly designed for your company and its specific ways of working.

Microsoft Partner of the Year 2016

And of course, Fresh brings you the value of full support throughout deployment and beyond, from Content and Code – voted the best in the world by Microsoft and the UKs most awarded partner – receiving this year’s award for Worldwide Partner of the Year for Collaboration and Content 2016.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

To learn more about Fresh, talk to us today. And, to understand more about how Fresh allows you to manage your intranet in a way that fits around modern working. Next in the series: 5 key ways to make an intranet easy to use

Need help?

We’re happy to help with whatever questions you have.

Get in touch