At Kinseed, our clients often ask us to help implement or improve their corporate intranets. The intranet is very much the “heart” of your IT environment, providing a Hub or one-stop-shop for all corporate information and tools employees need to do their day to day jobs.
As with any technology, the corporate intranet is rapidly evolving. So, as seems to be usual for this time of year, let’s explore the top 5 intranet trends we are seeing for the upcoming year 2017…
1 – Apps replace the One-Stop-Shop
In today’s day and age, chances are you own at least a smartphone, if not also a tablet or modern touchscreen PC. Equally, you’re probably used to the concept of Apps – simple, small applications to perform one task exceptionally well.
As corporate intranets evolve, this App model will move to be adopted in the internal online space. Consider your intranet right now – it’s probably a maze of tools and menus allowing you to find everything you need – but with an awful lot of navigation and learning required to find what you’re looking for. IT teams in many firms are starting to see the solution to this is apps – providing employees with links to much simpler modal tools – their news, contacts, knowledgebase, and more, all just one tap or click away.
The biggest advantage this trend brings to your firm is the ability to decouple different features roadmaps from one another – so updating your collaboration software doesn’t have to wait for that pesky news app to be updated too.
2 – Cloud migration through functional units
As more organisations look towards the cloud in order to reduce costs and manage IT more effectively, the concept of cloud migrations and hybrid implementations become increasingly important. The challenge in this case has always been what to migrate when – do you move everything over at once and increase risk, or choose a specific team or department and make communication amongst teams a lot harder while work is in progress?
In this space, the trend we are observing is teams dividing work packages and cloud migrations not by team but by function – providing new functionality and software capabilities for all, rather than department by department – while continuing to reduce risk through phased work packages. Working hand-in-hand with the app model above, IT projects are decreasing in duration and increasing in quantity: moving away from the classic “behemoth” collaboration projects, and towards “point releases” across the organisation.
3 – User provided content
Much like we’re seeing on the web, most firms are now embracing the power of crowd sourced information and knowledge – even for corporate policies and knowledge-bases. One particularly popular trend we’re observing is the opening of knowledge articles and corporate policies for approval-based edits: allowing any employee to suggest changes where needed, while a central team or owner approves those updates. This way, review of content and the regular updates required to keep things in check can be kept running smoothly and quickly.
4 – Don’t just tell, do
One of the most important features of the corporate intranet is the availability of process information and “How to” articles for new or senior employees alike. Chances are, your intranet is host to a myriad of articles titled things like “How to book your holiday in our holiday tool” or “Where to fill in your banking details for payroll”. As intranet tools and technologies improve, we’re seeing more firms taking the opportunity of building the process capabilities directly into knowledgebase articles. Mostly it starts small: simple forms on knowledge pages like “Need to request holiday? Do it here!”, but the sky really is the limit – to the point where new employees can walk themselves through onboarding, all while learning the ropes of where to find information and knowledge on your intranet.
5 – A video paints a thousand words
In a similar vein to how the tools and technologies our intranets are being delivered with improve, so too does the media which it hosts. As networks and machines improved in capability, the major change we used to see was an increase in the amount of imagery and rich content available for the average resource or knowledge article. In 2017, we’re seeing a huge increase in one particular piece of content – Video. While some larger firms are experimenting with allowing all employees to share video, the greatest benefits can be seen from smaller firms who have elected to train one or two central communications team members to produce high quality, widely distributed video.
Some of the best examples we’ve seen with clients include the replacement of whole-company monthly meetings with a weekly mini-video from the leadership team (accompanied with commentary and social feeds, of course), and the use of short mini-videos (a-la ‘vine’) highlighting quick tips, like “Where to swipe your badge to turn the printer on”.
Do you agree with the above, or have you seen other trends you think are going to explode in 2017? Get involved, and let us know in the comments below!