An Intranet is for life, not just for Christmas

Your Intranet is an investment, and I don’t just mean in monetary terms.  Of course, an organisation needs to spend its cash in order to buy one (nothing is free now a days…) but the main investment and cost to the organisation is the time it takes to design, build, and maintain it.  The benefits speak for themselves with countless articles and papers written about the improvements an Intranet can make to an organisation’s internal communications strategy, culture and engagement scores – however, is this all the investment it needs?

We all know that to keep colleagues visiting an Intranet the content needs to be fresh and relevant – this can range from publishing the latest news, to ensuring all policy documents have been uploaded, to having any forms colleagues need to complete easily accessible.  These tasks normally fall to a handful of colleagues across the organisation… the ‘experts’ if you like! They probably had some pretty comprehensive training during the run up to launch, however 5 years down the line they know what they need to know and everything else is a fuzzy memory.  These Intranet experts are then experts of their own tasks, as opposed to experts of the Intranet and before you know it, the Intranet stops evolving as people focus on what they know and learning about what they don’t seems daunting and time consuming. 

An Intranet platform is often easy to use and navigate around, however they’re incredibly clever and required to perform a lot of tasks to a high standard – as a result they’re packed full of applications and features that seamlessly link together.  We’re used to instantaneous, interactive and intuitive web pages and expect an Intranet to be the same; part of this expectation is for an Intranet to evolve with the times and as a result most platform providers constantly look at ways to build and improve on what they already offer.  The plus side of this continuous improvement is obvious – your Intranet package is sustainable; the latest version able to keep up with the demands of a modern organisation.  The downside is that it requires considerable time and effort to understand what each improvement means – whether this is a change to an existing application, or a brand-new feature.  If you don’t continue to learn what your Intranet can offer, how can you keep up with what your users need?

One of the best ways to keep up with demand and prevent your Intranet going stale is to regularly spend time learning about your Intranet’s latest improvements.  It may take some effort to fully understand a new feature, however it will be worth it.  Not only will you benefit from increased expert knowledge, but your Intranet will evolve with changes that are visible to its users – this can have nothing but a positive effect and could help to bring back or maintain your Intranet’s WOW factor.  So, although it may seem like a big investment to support and encourage continuous learning, you can help to futureproof your Intranet, protect your initial purchase and play a part in the development and growth of your colleagues by doing so.