To run an efficient and successful business, you need to streamline your internal communication and processes. And in a world where employees can work from any location worldwide, a reliable intranet solution is a must-have for every business.
Given the numerous intranet solutions from different vendors populating the market, choosing the right one for your business can be challenging. Whether this is your first time looking for an intranet solution or you want to upgrade your current portal to a more efficient one, this comprehensive guide provides you with the essential information you need to make a sound decision.
Understanding The Intranet
Before you dive into choosing the best intranet for your small business, you first need to understand what an intranet is.
The term ‘intranet’ is composed of the prefix ‘intra’ meaning inside, and ‘net,’ which is short for network. Thus, you can say that intranet refers to an ‘inside’ or internal, closed network shared between your business employees and administration.
In simpler terms, an intranet portal is a digital solution that allows fast and easy communication and collaboration within your company.
In the past, intranets were simple and only required a local area network (LAN) to connect employees. Today, however, intranets have become more complex, incorporating the use of the internet to allow the flow of information and data even from different locations.
The Benefits Of Using Intranet Solutions
Intranets are powerful tools and a must-have in the modern workplace toolkit. But what exactly makes it valuable to your company? Here are some of the common benefits of a small business intranet.
- It Boosts Internal Communication
The main purpose of modern intranet solutions is to improve internal communication across your organization. This allows for open discussions, staying with the latest updates, sharing knowledge and ideas, and so much more.
The best part is that this communication flows both ways. This means that anyone in the company can share articles and information and everyone can provide feedback or comment.
- It Connects Employees Across Different Locations
As mentioned before, modern intranets have become more sophisticated and now allow employees from different locations to easily communicate and collaborate. This is particularly beneficial for businesses with multiple branches or if you have remote or hybrid work arrangements.
- It Is Easier To Find Information
Intranets serve as a rich pool of information for a business. Employees can find everything from the latest company updates to that specific team project they’re working on. All this document sharing is critical for helping your employees get work done while staying connected to the softer side of the company in real time.
- It Enhances Employee Experience And Productivity
The above-mentioned benefits all contribute to a better employee experience and boost their productivity.
An intranet serves as an effective tool to keep your employees in sync, not only with the company’s operation but with one another. With better company-wide communication, collaboration and interaction, employees feel that they’re part of the company culture.
Also, with greater interconnectedness and accessibility to the necessary information they need, employees can work more efficiently, boosting their productivity and ultimately contributing to your business’s growth.
Choosing The Best Small Business Intranet: Eight Tips To Consider
Now that you have an idea of the wonderful benefits an intranet can provide you, how do you choose the right one for your small business? Here are useful tips to follow.
- Always Consider Your Business’s Goals
When choosing the best intranet for your small business, you always need to start with your business goals. It can be difficult to choose the right one if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. So, make sure to define what your objectives are for getting an intranet for your business, so you can significantly narrow down your options.
Consider how the intranet will fit with your company goals and strategies. Can it help facilitate the necessary operations and meet your business needs? Understanding what your goals and expectations are can help you determine what to look for.
- Determine Current Business Process Pitfalls
In addition to your goals, you also need to consider issues in your current business processes. Making a list of current problems and complaints regarding internal processes and communication is a great way to ensure that the intranet solution you choose can help streamline things.
You can do this by involving your employees and asking for their feedback. The more honest and clearer feedback you can get, the better your chances of finding an intranet that’s tailor-fit for your business.
Purchasing and building an intranet is a significant investment. As with anything else you buy, you want to formulate a budget and stick to it. You don’t want to purchase a ridiculously expensive intranet solution with advanced features that you won’t be using anytime soon.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t let cost be the ultimate guide when choosing the right software. After all, you’re probably going to use the intranet solution every day, so it’s important to choose only the best that ticks all the boxes. So consider setting a budget, but don’t hesitate to marginally step outside of it, if it means you can get a better intranet solution for your business.
- Pay Close Attention To Communication And Collaboration Tools
Some of the most important features of a good intranet solution are its communication and collaboration tools. An intranet solution with efficient communication and collaboration tools allows for more streamlined and easier interaction and exchange of information within your company.
Thus, you want to pay close attention to these. Remember, not all software offers the same experience, with only a few platforms offering superiority in this regard. That said, it’s always best to look for the most straightforward communication system that you can find.
- Evaluate Extra Features And Capabilities
In general, you should be prioritizing seamless collaboration and improved communication capabilities when choosing an intranet solution. However, you shouldn’t forget to assess other features that can be beneficial for your company as a whole after its implementation.
For instance, does the intranet solution offer effective file management capabilities? Can it provide user analytics so your human resource department can obtain insights on employee engagement and overall dynamics within your company? Does it have live streaming or event planning features for team meetings or seamless onboarding and training for employees?
Integration is one of the most significant factors to look for when searching for the right small business intranet. And yet, most businesses tend to overlook it.
Unless you’re a startup, your small business may already have existing software and solutions for daily business activity. At any rate, the whole point of an intranet is to reduce or minimize the amount of software and applications that need to be used every day.
Thus, you want to choose an intranet solution that allows you to integrate all your existing processes and solutions without an issue. So, if you can’t get through the day without using the intranet solution for over 90% of your business activities, you’ll have to look for a different solution.
- Do Not Forget User Interface
While it’s easy to overlook an intranet solution’s user interface (UI), it actually makes a huge difference in user engagement, adoption, and value. After all, if your intranet lacks care in the design and looks cluttered, who will want to use it?
In addition, UI also has a direct correlation to the functionality of the entire platform, which is an important factor that determines the efficiency of business software. The best intranet solution is easy to use and features an intuitive interface.
Also, you want to look for an intranet solution that offers easy and quick customization. Can you add your logo, colors, and branding to the pages? Can you reorder and rename built-in tools? Do you need to use HyperText Markup (HTM) and coding to customize items? Customization gives you control over the overall look of the intranet portal and user experience.
Implementing an intranet solution can be a time-consuming, and sometimes, highly technical process. This can be difficult for small businesses that have never tried an intranet platform in the past.
You’ll likely experience at least a few issues during the implementation process. So, it’s important to choose a vendor that offers the best technical support possible. Good technical support can make a world of difference in terms of how quickly you can mitigate issues that arise and prevent costly downtimes.
Intranets have become a must-have for businesses of all kinds. It offers a modern framework for better communication and collaboration in this fast-paced digital workplace environment. As such, it’s expected that thousands of businesses, both large and small, will continue to adopt intranets.
That said, when shopping for a small business intranet, keep in mind the above-mentioned tips. Doing so can help you find the right one that flawlessly fits and serves your business needs, ultimately contributing to your business growth.