What do you need in your new Intranet Portal Software?

What do you need in your new Intranet Portal Software?

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Every enterprise or company needs a secured and restricted network to allow effective communication among the employees. In this digital era, Intranet is serving as one such amazing solution for all the connectivity and communication requirements. If you are thinking to embed New Intranet Portal Software to your digital assets, then there are many things to take care of.

This article will give you the thoughtful insights about many perspectives, including why is it needed to use for your enterprise, to which features you should look for. We have also covered infrastructure, components, planning, benefits and other important issues. Read it to the end, in order to learn, and select the best and cost-effective Intranet for your business. You can directly visit Precurio for quick assistance.

Why do you need an Intranet?

Let us take some examples of a collaborative working environment. What are the common needs of all employees within your Company? Well, they may need a common forum to discuss work-related questions, or they all need to do timekeeping and record their hours worked on different tasks. If you can perform these tasks on a common platform, it is much better than everyone doing it in their way and the managers trying to consolidate the data later.

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Innovation is a part of your growth as an individual and as a company. With a supportive environment, employees will always think of innovative ideas, discuss over a coffee and forget about it. How about capturing these ideas in an ‘idea central’? Why reinvent the wheel if someone already knows about this idea? How about getting inputs from peers and working on some of the ideas which can help the business? It is a perfect use of an intranet. Once you start thinking along these lines, you will find 100 different reasons to have an intranet portal within your Company.

Infrastructure Requirements:

Ok! So after a long debate, everyone agrees that having an intranet in the Company is a good idea and management gives approval for the same. What next? The next stage is to assess the exact requirements. The requirements related to Infrastructure, implementation planning and obviously the exact scope or features of this intranet.

Infrastructure Components:

It is good to involve some technical team members in this discussion. They could be your employees (the IT Infrastructure/ support team), contractors or someone from a product/service company working with intranets.

The components of intranet will include:

  • Personal Computers (Desktops/Laptops) connected to the Office Network which will interact with the common Server machine to exchange data
  • A Server System (includes both hardware and software) which provides information based on requests sent by client systems
  • Networking devices like switches, firewalls for connectivity and security purpose. The firewalls will be gatekeepers between intranet and the internet.
  • An Intranet Software which will manage your data and provide the features you expect in your intranet. We will see how to select this software in a section below.
  • A Content Management Software (CMS) which allows users to create content on the intranet like profiles, project details, time cards and much more
  • Application Software and tools which are common use tools for most of the employees.
  • Printers, Scanners and other devices required for internal use. (You anyway require them even if you don’t have intranet). For intranet usage, you have to connect them with intranet software also.

Once your IT team assures you that you either already have all above things or they can put the things in place either in-house or on a cloud, you have two more things on your to-do list. Decide on which all services and functions you need on the intranet and then planning for implementation.

Plan for an Intranet:

We will see what all preparations you need to do for your Company’s Intranet. These are the initial steps involving brainstorming, discussions and it involves everyone from the company. Yes! Almost all departments and teams will have some input at this stage. If you thought it’s a couple of day’s project, then sorry to disappoint you, it’s not as small as that.

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Most of these are questions, and documented answers to these questions will work as a plan for setting up an intranet. If you are already a process oriented company and you have manual or computerized processes for every major task in the company, you have to convert it into workflows.

Points to consider:

  • Who is going to use this intranet? If the answer is everyone in the Company, it’s an easy answer, but there will be more questions related to that.
  • What are the reasons the employees will use intranet? What can you do if a team working on the secret project need their data on the intranet but accessible only to their team?
  • What to do about the employees who work from home or remotely? Should they be given access?
  • How will you keep all data safe and there are no loopholes in security.
  • How can we ensure that intranet remains a business site and not a chatting software?
  • How will you see profiles of all employees? Most employees will have their profiles in some HR system, so can the HR system be integrated with Intranet?
  • How much will data be redundant/duplicate? How can we avoid that?
  • Will there be any workflows and approvals? Well, there will be workflows most of the time.
  • What is the timeline for this implementation? Do you need the intranet to be ready in a month’s time or it is on your next year’s plan?
  • Which Intranet Software you need to procure? Listing down features and comparing them with the features provided by vendors, cost comparison and all that.
  • What are the roles you need in intranet? Don’t confuse them with roles/designations in your Company. These are roles like the author, editor, approver, Admin, etc. and they are related to the type of work one will perform on the intranet.

Expected Features:

Well, the feature is a big task and every person and every team would like to have the specific features which will help them (or reduce their manual work). If you do a little bit of search on the internet, you will see some good software tools available to set-up your intranet. They have researched it for years and implemented it in various companies. They are aware of the challenges and based on the type and size of the company; they can suggest you the right tool.

Your team can select the features which apply to you considering some plans and benefits. The standard features are listed below for a small to medium company (not an enterprise or a corporate, who requires much more than this)

  • Employee Profiles – If an HR system already has them all, your software should import it from there.
  • Message Boards
  • Central Document Management
  • Workflows and Forms
  • Major Events and Holiday calendar
  • Departmental Sites
  • Company Announcements
  • IT support and other support staff directory, tips
  • Live Chat and Forums
  • Project Management
  • Team Management
  • Task Assignment and Management
  • Content Management

Benefits of having an Intranet:

Taking all these efforts and implementing the intranet is a nice project, but why do you do it? Let us see the benefits of having an Intranet:

  • Collaboration: You see a change in the way people are working, the process-oriented approach and much collaboration. After all, you are providing them a collaborative platform to interact in both one-to-one and one-to-many styles. It also means the communication becomes very easy and every single minute you don’t receive an email. It helps in promoting an open culture in your company.
  • Knowledge Management: It is not a knowledge management system, but the knowledge in forums, assignments, documentation is stored safely at a central location and is accessible when required.
  • Cost Effective Solution: Rather than giving different tools to different people and some tools and applications to everyone, you can have client-server features and can implement the common needs of everyone on this platform.
  • Increase in Productivity: Time-tracking, Task Tracking, and Management oversight on a common platform immediately give a boost to productivity improvement.
  • Quick Updates: The management gets a handy tool to give some quick updates on any major changes to policies, reporting structure or even a weather warning.
  • Digitised Documents: Why create so many similar documents within each team and take hundreds of printouts? You can have an online repository of documents along with version control, and everyone can refer to the same. You can maintain standard templates across the Company and benefit from standardisation.

How to select the Best Intranet Software?

You need to consider some basic points and go ahead and select the best Intranet software for your needs. Remember, you can’t switch between different software platforms too often.

  • Consider size of your organisation
  • Consider the specific Industry you belong to
  • Your budget and payment conditions
  • Cloud-based solution or your in-house Server Infrastructure
  • Possible Customization
  • A very good post-sales support

Once you agree within the Company that you need an Intranet and it can benefit you in multiple ways, you can start planning. If you decide to go for a cloud-based solution, you don’t need all hardware infrastructure expect the systems and peripherals. In the case of an on-premise solution, you need to have the infrastructure in place. Plan for it, decide roles and the way everyone will use it. Decide the features you need and procure the right software.

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Stanley Ahuchogu

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