[UPDATED FOR 2021]
In the past few years, the world of intranet technology has seen meaningful improvements and innovations that make it easier for employees to do their jobs efficiently. Social, workflow and other engagement features within an intranet are now key to the running of a successful digital workplace.
Today’s intranet is a well-oiled machine with intuitive features, time-saving elements and an increased capacity for collaborative efforts. 2021 is set for even more advances to allow intranets to take businesses to new heights of success and efficiency.
Here are our trend predictions in intranet features over the coming year:
1. The Digital Workplace and Intranet
The digital workplace was one of the biggest trends last year, and it will only become more popular as businesses realise the benefits of going digital. Intranets are central to the digital workplace, which could include a variety of tools available to employees in order to complete processes and engage the workforce.
Acting as a gateway to these tools, an intranet provides numerous benefits. It facilitates teamwork, engagement and productivity while also providing benefits to organisations that rely on remote team members.
Easy and fast set up means you can start seeing positive changes from day 1 of your new intranet and digital workplace package strategy.
2. Mobile Integration
The focus this year will (again!) be on optimising intranet access and intranet features on mobile devices. This is naturally the next step for intranet technology.
Platforms are being used extensively in workplaces, however, remote team members and team members who are required to work while travelling without a desktop will benefit from improvements to intranet mobile integration. Intranets need to be user-friendly no matter the device, situation or location.
Mobile-friendly intranet interfaces and features will mean optimised touchscreen performance, fast implementation and smart innovation. Introducing a mobile integrated intranet will also allow an organisation to gather more data that can be used to optimise and improve mobile features in the future.
3. Social Collaboration
Social features in intranets are just as important as positive company culture when it comes to employee engagement. Social intranet tools like blogging, sharing, chat, team workspaces and video conferencing are included in workforce intranets to encourage engagement between teams and between individual team members.
Social tools will continue to play an important role in an intranet platform this year. New features to look out for could include employee updates (where they are, what they are working on) and more in-depth personal profiles.
The more users engaging with the social tools in an intranet, the more feedback you’ll get on how to improve and optimise this area of your digital intranet strategy. If you haven’t implemented a social intranet yet, read our guide on building a compelling social intranet business case in your organisation.
4. Personalised Experience
Personalisation is successful in many digital areas including content strategies and website user experience. Another area where it has seen success and will continue to do so is intranets. Hundreds of employees might use the same intranet platform at work.
How do organisations create a personalised experience on their intranet so employees will keep coming back and adding value to an intranet? More meaningful and efficient interactions with an intranet will mean more customisation and personalisation of features for individual employees or teams. If users are seeing what they want and need to see on an intranet platform, they are more likely to enjoy using that platform. This could be as simple as showing company news specific to a particular department or team or suggesting relevant internal content based on an employee’s interests and skills.
An intranet personalisation strategy is not only of value to the users of the intranet, it benefits the entire organisation with increased productivity.
5. Integrating Systems
No system can handle all your needs. You will have an ecosystem of support systems, platforms and tools to help your employees succeed in their positions from CRMs and information management systems to Micosoft Exchange and identity management providers. Intranet providers understand this, which is why integration to other systems will become more accessible and easy to set up this year. Intranets are still often the start of the internal journey for users, and they can be used to access other systems that make it possible to get the job done. This is just one way companies can become more organised this year.
Does your intranet come with native integration to popular systems? How deep is the integration (what information is pulled through and pushed back? Can you extend on the platform and build new integrations? Can you access a free API? There are many questions you should be asking around integration!
6. Intranet Engagement
Intranets have been making it easier for large organisations to stay connected and engaged for years. 2021 should see improvements to inter-departmental and team engagement opportunities like workspaces, calendars, event organisation and management and collaboration tools in general.
Engagement is slowly becoming one of the most important metrics to measure the success of your intranet.
7. Internal and External
The internal user and customer experience is now just as important as the external user and customer experience. The growing social nature of intranets has already increased communication in businesses, internally and externally. When this aspect is functioning at its very best, employees and customers feel heard, respected and know their individual opinion matters.
Company owners will have an even more focused interest in the user experience. From there, the input will allow the company intranet to be made even more efficient and effective for each business.
8. Measuring Intranet Success
Analysis of key metrics and data-driven decisions will improve intranet features and processes in 2021. A minor change to an intranet system can make a big difference in enhancing productivity and performance, so this type of change is not to be taken lightly.
Analysing engagement statistics as well as feedback from users can assist with making intranets more user-friendly and personalised to a business and it’s employees.
Companies that make progressive changes in a more intuitive manner will be able to better maximise intranet performance year after year, or even month to month.
The 5 best practices for measuring intranet success include:
- Develop an intranet metrics strategy and roadmap
- Talk to your stakeholders
- Optimise and understand your intranet metrics dashboard
- Reformat your reporting and overhaul the related process
- Diarise a review of metrics and plan actions
Intranets rely on functionality, practicality and usability to engage a workforce. However, there’s another key element to this mix that has been overlooked in the past few years, and that is good design.
The look and feel of an intranet can determine how often and how efficiently that intranet is used by employees. A great-looking intranet platform that brings a cool corporate culture vibe to the digital workplace experience is a must in 2021. If you’re working with an outdated, visually unappealing platform, it’s time to upgrade.
10. Learning Integration
We hope 2021 will bring closer integration between intranets and Learning Management Systems (LMS).
As training and skill advancement becomes a higher priority in the workplace, these systems can no longer be separate. LMS integrated with an intranet will allow workforces to train new staff, measure training programs, and encourage personalised learning across the organisation in an easy to use and highly integrated platform.
Intranets have made huge improvements to efficiency and company culture in recent years, and enhancements to existing technologies are only expected to continue. Today’s intranet embodies both productivity enhancements and social benefits for workers, with both company profits and employee satisfaction increasing.
The 10 intranet trends for 2021 discussed here can be used as best practices to guide your intranet project. Businesses that adopt one successfully can expect increases in productivity, worker satisfaction and improvements to the bottom line.
So where do you start? Check out our guide on how to successfully plan, deploy and launch an intranet to help you get started.