Technology is changing the way we do things in every aspect of life, especially at work. The digital revolution is upon us in the workplace and we need to rethink how that is disrupting the employee experience and more specifically how our employees consume and interact with content, each other and the business.

Traditionally the primary channel and hub for content in organisations has been an Intranet. But this is an outdated and restrictive view of what an organisation actually needs in today’s workplace. Although organisations are still grappling with the challenge of how to integrate and find value from social technologies at work, the term Social Intranet is one of the latest buzz words in Internal Communications.

But is the term Intranet really fit for purpose in today’s workplace? To me, it screams outdated and doesn’t work in the new, digital age. Even adding the word Social in front of it doesn’t help. When do you ever hear somebody say a Social Website?

It isn’t just the word Intranet I dislike, it is the perception and restrictive idea of what an Intranet does that I don’t believe works anymore.

In today’s workplace, organisation’s need to be designing a Digital Workplace that integrates traditional Intranet and Social capabilities – but delivers far more value as an integrated digital experience for employees.

A Digital Workplace is far more than an Intranet, it should be enabling employees to be quick and agile in how they work, enabling them to consume content that is tailored and relevant to the role they do, and to let them collaborate and share ideas with colleagues. It should also integrate with other employee systems to provide a seamless experience for employees navigating through multiple platforms.

Personalisation

The key to a Digital Workplace is to deliver a personalised and tailored experience for employees. Through targeting, you can surface content and tools that are relevant to an individual and the role they do inside an organisation. The days of one size fits all are behind us.

The more you can personalise the experience the more value your employees will get. It isn’t just tools and feeds you can personalise, you can use tools like AI to identify content trends so that you are surfacing stories that are of interest to an individual.

There are tools in the marketplace like Microsoft Delve as well that uses this kind of technology ‘out of the box’ – so it doesn’t have to be a huge investment in cutting edge technology.

Productivity

Within a Digital Workplace you want to build in productivity tools and task based activities. By surfacing a presentation, document or spreadsheet that you are working on in your homepage the experience of getting to things you need quickly will add significant value.

Social, Collaboration and Workspaces

With the amount of collaboration tools in the market organisations often struggle with landing on the enterprise wide solution that can bring people together across the business. The ideal solution is to integrate a social experience into your Digital Workplace so that it becomes part of the real estate of a homepage or article rather than a separate tool employees needs to go to.

With collaboration tools, you can integrate workspaces into a Digital Workplace based around the preferences of an employee. Whether or not it is Teams, Slack or another tool there may be some good use cases why employees need different tools – when designing a Digital Workplace integrating different user requirements and not dictating the tools that are used can be a key to the best experience for employees.

Content

There is still a big place for content in a Digital Workplace. In the modern workplace employees want stories and content that is tailored to interests and the role they do inside the organisation.

News and content is no longer a one size fits all strategy. There will be some organisation wide stories that need to be shared across the business around some key topics like strategy.

But the Digital Workplace should offer a much more tailored experience for content and stories.

Traditional content that has always lived on an Intranet is quickly becoming redundant in a Digital Workplace. Tools like Microsoft Teams are replacing the need for Departments to have huge amounts of web pages to share information that is usually specific to a particular audience. And Policy libraries are becoming a more suitable home for business wide policies.

Integration & Micro Services

The biggest shift from a traditional Intranet to a Digital Workplace is possibly the integration of other tools and systems into a single platform. One stage further is the introduction of micro-services where employees can perform tasks inside one environment without having to log in and navigate to lots of different systems.

Goodbye to the Intranet

It will likely take some time before the term Intranet disappears from the workplace. But the concept of what an Intranet has traditionally enabled inside a business is transforming.

Microsoft are currently dominating the Digital Workplace market with Office 365 and the combined power of the tools it provides.

The key principle of designing a Digital Workplace is putting your employee at the centre of your design thinking. Don’t fall into the trap of what you think the business needs, if you can move away from the idea of an Intranet you will be future proofing whatever solution you put into place.

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One thought on “The death of the Intranet: rise up the Digital Workplace

  1. I couldn’t agree more. An integrated workplace tools are, indeed, the future – I would say more – is already the present. Many companies are still grilled to the older ways to work but need a call to wake up.

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