Today’s intranet looks drastically different from the one your office might have had in the past. You don’t have to keep up with every intranet software trend simply to remain trendy and up to the minute. Many trends, however, have risen to encourage ease of use, ready accessibility, and enhanced functionality for employees across your organisation. Is your intranet ready for 2016? Check out some of these surprising trends to see if your business intranet is really doing the most it can for your business.
Mobile accessibility is one of the foremost trends in intranet software development. Many companies, in fact, are turning to bring your own device policies that allow employees to use their own tablets and smart phones whether they’re in the office or on the go. Mobile accessibility has a number of benefits for the company intranet, including:
- The ability to access the intranet any time, anywhere, from sitting at home on the couch to a conference room across the country
- Continued access to the intranet environment even if the physical office is inaccessible
- Ease of use as streamlined intranets are designed specifically for mobile access
Though mobile accessibility has been predicted as a design trend for several years, it hasn’t always moved as quickly as anticipated. In spite of its slow-moving advancement, however, mobile accessibility is just as important as ever–and will become more so with continuing advances in both mobile technology and intranet design.
Chances are, most of the employees across your company have at least one social media account. Some have several across different channels. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram: now, your office intranet can be added to the list of social networks that your employees visit on a regular basis. Social intranets create collaborative environments where employees are encouraged to work together to complete projects, share information, and discuss upcoming events or changes across your office.
Social intranets also have a number of key features that make them easier for employees to use and recognise. Most importantly, they’re developed with social sharing tools that are similar to those employees are already using in their social media accounts. Social intranets encourage content creation by all users, not just a select few admins, and promote connections between employees throughout your organization. This intranet style helps enhance employee engagement across the company.
Top Notch Security
Your organisation deals with private, confidential data that you don’t want shared with the world. As the rise in threats increases and even large, well-known corporations have seen security breaches, most intranet providers are making security a top priority. It’s not just about providing the minimum protections necessary in order to meet industry standards anymore. Instead, intranet providers are encouraged to take security to the next level, challenging threats before they can make it to the data contained within your system. Most providers now view security as just as critical as the other features for their intranet options.
There are plenty of advantages to both physical servers that are held on-site and cloud technology that allows your intranet to be hosted off-site, offering larger storage and more features than you are able to keep within your company. Keeping you data in the cloud has become a more common storage option across numerous devices and platforms. It’s only natural, therefore, that cloud intranet would follow. It means less space dedicated to servers and other physical equipment, a decreased need for IT staff, and easier access to vital business information even if your physical location is inaccessible for some reason–all key reasons why many businesses are choosing cloud intranet options.
Focus On Users
Not too long ago, intranets were designed by people who rarely, if ever, had to actually use them. The functions that were needed by the people who used them the most often fell by the wayside, making it difficult for many employees to use the intranet the way it was intended. Today’s intranets, however, focus on the end users. They:
- Are designed to be intuitive to the people who use them most often
- Take employee needs into consideration
- Are kept simple to avoid information overload
- Are maintained and updated regularly
- Have functional search features that are designed to be easy to use from desktop or mobile devices
- Include features that have been recommended or requested by employees
Smart intranet designers listen, not just to the people typically responsible for making decisions, but to those who are using the intranet on a daily basis. They take the time to send out surveys, ask questions, and listen to the responses they get. They also take the time to put the software through a trial before it goes out to the company as a whole in order to ensure that all employees’ needs have been considered before the final product is released.
How many times have you rolled out a new piece of software within your organisation, only to watch the entire thing come crashing to the ground within a matter of hours as some critical design flaw caused it to fail completely? What about the learning curve that leads many employees to struggle to adapt to new technology, with no one who understands it to teach it to them? In order to face this problem more effectively, many organisations are turning to staggered deployment in order to allow the new intranet design to become a more effective part of the whole organisation.
Today’s intranets offer more features than ever. The most critical advances, however, are in usability, accessibility, and functionality. As you select the right intranet for your business, consider turning to some of these trends to enhance its use for your organisation.