Must-have Intranet Content
A few key features that are recommended for almost any company's intranet
Every organization has unique requirements for its intranet features and content; however, there are a few key features that are recommended for almost any company's intranet. In years of developing and maintaining intranets for companies such as SGI, Lucent, and First Republic Bank*, we have observed the following to be some of the most useful intranet features:
Phone book/Contact Information
Probably the most basic of the intranet applications, an intranet phone book saves time and effort for your employees and is easy to keep up-to-date. The utility can allow users to search by name to retrieve phone and email information or search for contact information associated with a certain product, project, or department. This makes it easy for people to communicate.
Message Center or Blog
A centrally available blog or departmental blogs can serve as a timely means to communicate and reinforce company mission, priority, and outlook. Specialized blogs can help focus and coordinate team members, stakeholders, and their projects by providing a unifying and collaborative channel of communication.
A forms repository can be as simple as a page with links to common forms for printout. Providing quick access to forms allows employees to take care of business instead of wasting time hunting paper. In the long term, it is possible to migrate many business processes to intranet-based forms and eliminate the paper altogether.
The IS staff is overloaded at almost every company. Encourage them to monitor their most common tasks and develop ways to service those tasks via the intranet. Provide software FAQs. If software is site-licensed, investigate ways to deliver it electronically.
Along with the IS helpdesk, a library can answer questions and keep employees focused on learning new skills and getting their jobs done. If informational presentations are created, post them to the library. If the staff finds useful links to relevant information, provide a mechanism for those links to be collected and shared. Invest in training DVDs, subscription-based training and webinars to promote and make available across the network.
Like most intranet applications, a calendar application can range from a simple static company calendar that is updated so everyone knows what days are holidays to a system for collaboratively scheduling people and resources. Consider the time wasted searching for open conference rooms with the appropriate amenities. Automating scheduling will eliminate overbooking, coordinate services and attendance for meetings, and provide much faster resolution of scheduling conflicts.
This article was intended to provide ideas to help you kick-start your intranet with some new applications or improvements to old ones. The list of useful applications of a corporate intranet is nearly endless and limited only by the resources available to invest.