Is an Intranet Right for Your Business?
An intranet is like a private website for your business. It exists on a server, and these days is accessed online. For your business, only your personnel and those you allow access can use it. In the past, only larger companies tended to set up intranets. However, since COVID changed the business world, every business should look at whether an intranet can help them if their workforce is moving to remote locationsi.
Broad Objectives of the Intranet
- Internal communications – Rather than using email with crowded inboxes, better internal communications are possible with the internal messaging tools in the intranet. Employees can also form groups or teams for projects with communications restricted to the group or team.
- Collaboration tools – The intranet is a centralized hub for company templates, software tools, documents, contacts, calendars, and applications.
- Information repository and access center – Everything from human resources documents and records to procedure manuals and operations instructions are in one centralized place. They can be restricted for access by specialized restrictive login levels.
Business Type Examples of Intranet Use
At a certain point in size and number of personnel, nearly every type of business can benefit from the use of an intranetii. The one characteristic that applies across the board is the ability to access the company’s materials from anywhere with online access. As the gig economy grows with more freelancing and working from home, having a centralized online access point is highly valuable.
Whether a local clothing store, pharmacy, restaurant, hardware, or office supply store, the retail business can benefit from the use of an intranet. Inventory counts can be accessible to personnel working offsite. Training documents and videos can be used in off-hours by employees seeking to improve their skills and opportunities.
Multi-location or Branches
If you have more than one location, even just two, the value of an intranet can come into play. Sharing company information across branches, from stock levels to vendor and order information, can help branches to smooth their operations. Communications between two different business locations are enhanced when all are working on the same platform.
Services In-house and On Location
Real value of the intranet comes into play when you have personnel providing offsite services, whether in homes or commercially. Your personnel or technicians can upload work tickets and invoicing at the end of the day. This could avoid a trip to base with associated savings in wages and transportation costs. You can also use it for dispatching.
Selective login levels can be used to allow customers to enter the system. They can place orders, provide feedback, sign documents, pay invoices, or other actions. Depending on the business and complexity of products or services, some companies have enlisted customers to participate in discussion, planning, or design groups to improve products and services.
This can be particularly useful if regular customers want to help in giving you information as to the marketing that worked to make them customers and how it can be improved.
The takeaway here is that an examination of every facet of your business as related to transfer of information could lead you to adopting an intranet for your business.
i Internet collaboration tools article, Hyperoffice.com
ii Highly effective intranet examples article, ICThrive.com