We’ve built dozens of intranets & extranets for companies, utilising a huge number of custom features.
Let’s have a look at what features you might need and what an intranet is.
What features should an intranet have?
We often get asked by clients:
- What makes an engaging intranet that my staff will use?
- What features does our intranet need?
- How much does an intranet cost?
- Can I just use Google Drive/Sites, Microsoft OneNote/Sharepoint or Dropbox as our intranet?
To be able to answer these questions, we’ll look at the top ten features that make up a successful intranet:
1. Company announcements 📢
Intranets need a place for company-wide information to be posted so everyone is kept on the same page.
2. Public and/or private messaging 📥
Following on from company announcements, it’s handy to have the ability for people to post company-viewable comments to cheer on the team or respond to company announcements. It can also be handy to have the ability for a staff messaging system that is linked to the intranet.
3. People directory 👥
Looking for the details of someone in the company to share with a co-worker or to get in contact with them yourself? Having a people directory makes it easy for staff to get in contact quickly.
4. Company departments 🏢
Depending on the size of your company & the amount of information being shared, you may want to have your intranet split into departments. To keep staff engagement high, they only want to read very important company announcements and information relevant to them.
5. Knowledgebase / Training / SOP area 🙋
Sometimes stored in cloud storage or on someone’s computer are the documents that describe how your company does what it does. Bringing them into a shared environment makes it easier to ensure company documents & training are kept up-to-date and are made accessible to all.
6. Company calendar 📅
Want to know when the next big company product launch is or where the staff Christmas party is happening? Having a shared calendar in a shared space makes it easy to see the bigger picture of what’s going on in your company.
7. Company polls 📈
If you want to draw from the wisdom of the company crowd and get feedback (aka buy-in) around decisions you’re making then having an area where you can ask questions and get responses is vital.
8. Company forms
An intranet is a place to store information & search for information but it’s also a place where you can collect information from staff. Having a place for collecting information like business expense claim forms, leave requests etc makes it easy for staff to breeze through their admin tasks.
9. Beautiful design & powerful search 📝
Finding your way around an intranet easily and creating a beautiful intranet that people actually use are two goals when creating an intranet. You don’t want an intranet ghost town where the last activity was 2 years ago. Make it bright, minimal, simple and accessible.
10. Staff permissions ✅
Depending on the information shared, you’re going to want to split the information being shared differently depending on the roles in your company. Staff forms should be accessed by all staff but their input should only be accessed by the HR department. The same goes for many other parts of an intranet where you want privacy, openness and functionality working together.
What is an intranet?
In the simplest terms, a company intranet is a private network for staff to find & discuss company information. There are several key features that an intranet needs but the scope of the intranet needs to be flexible to the needs of the business.
A basic, modern intranet centres around being a database for important company information and can be expanded to include company > staff communication (through announcements, training, messaging and SOPs) and staff > company communication (through messaging, polls and form completion).
Through looking at the best intranet software programs available, we discovered that there were many ways to meet the basic needs of an intranet that often didn’t require expensive enterprise software.
In terms of setup, intranet software can be:
- Enterprise grade with high implementation costs to offset the cost of building a custom intranet
- Intranet SaaS software that meets most business needs but can be price-prohibitive for larger employee numbers
- Project management and document storage software that has the additional features needed to create a basic intranet. This can be a valid option for companies on tight budgets
The benefits of an intranet can include:
- Better staff communication
- Online staff training
- Time-savings due to better file access
- Single source of truth for company information
- Better employee engagement