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Intranet Software

Intranet software is an internal corporate portal where important information is posted for employees to review. Common features in Intranet solutions include news feeds, forums, and knowledge base management. Intranet software programs are related to Portal software. Find the best intranet software for your business in Australia.

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Intranet Software Buyers Guide

Intranet software is an enterprise solution designed to facilitate private communication, collaboration, and data sharing between employees. It serves as a portal that grants exclusive access to internal information and external resources, built within a private and secure network. Its aim is to improve employee engagement through accessible online workspaces, addressing collaboration challenges in a corporate environment.

Primarily used by employees to manage workflows, search for up-to-date information, and communicate with staff across the organisation, intranet systems find application across a range of industries. A wide range of Australian businesses rely on intranet solutions for their private communications, including airline companies, supermarkets, universities, micro-entities, libraries, and NGOs.

Employee intranet systems can also promote and simplify the activities of distributed teams in the same way that digital workplace and remote work software solutions can.

As they function as a 'single source of truth' (SSOT), with real-time data instantly available to all authorised stakeholders, companies can also liken them to knowledge management software. In environments with an emphasis on team motivation and social recognition, these tools can complement or even replace some of the processes carried out by employee engagement solutions and team communication software.

Often integrating with various other third-party tools, intranet applications provide easy access to the company's software suite, much like portal software. However, some intranet providers can anticipate an organisation's needs and build these tools as native features, which can be used as stand-alone instruments from the start, and gradually be developed into bespoke solutions.

There are no limits to the complexity and versatility of intranet solutions. But there are a few basic requirements for a platform that markets itself as intranet software. Any such tool should enable businesses to:

  • Offer pre-defined access to employees via a secure online portal. Provide news feeds, activity updates, alerts, and notifications to relevant employees.
  • Build discussion boards, in-house forums, and blogs.
  • Manage documents, policies, and other content in a central database, securely and in line with regulations.
  • Provide essential information through an accessible knowledge base.
  • Synchronise calendars and provide transparent scheduling options.
  • Facilitate file sharing and collaboration within predetermined groups.

What is intranet software?

Intranet software tools are digital solutions designed to help organisations build and maintain their intranet, which is an online private communications network with restricted access. These tools are meant to serve as information gateways, providing access to the company's knowledge base, collaboration tools, and other resources to specific groups of people within the organisation. This enables employees to work together virtually in a central location, share documents and media, communicate safely, train one another, carry out self-training exercises, provide feedback, and collaborate on projects securely.

Used by private-sector businesses, NGOs, universities, and government agencies, intranet solutions help organisations build a full-featured digital workspace that can break down communication barriers, foster innovation, boost efficiency, and reduce friction with intelligent workflows. Their mainstay is the ability to deliver the right information to the right worker at the right time. In doing so, they replace conventional top-down messaging with a more inclusive, transparent, and efficient information flow, replacing two-way conversations with multidirectional dialogue and participation.

Intranet solutions tend to be managed by in-house intranet administrators and digital workplace teams with a background in IT, technology, content management, and user experience design. This enables intranet builders to enrich their software with features useful to their organisation. This may include discussion forums, blogs, FAQ sections, newsfeeds, how-to tutorials, videos, infographics, schedules, notice boards, CEO messaging panels, and social recognition areas. But at the very least, the intranet software must enable staff to access the employee database, the company's knowledge base, and any proprietary or external tools needed for collaboration and communication.

The prime purpose of intranet systems is to eliminate reliance on public email service and collaboration tool providers, replacing their services with more secure, private, and effective alternatives. This includes in-house solutions and integrations with corporate communication and collaboration tools, bundled together into a customised central hub. In effect, the intranet platform becomes a one-stop-shop for employees, where they can connect, share, and learn. With this 'go-to' solution designed by the intranet provider, they can build their social networks, use instant messaging, create and access wiki pages, share files, draft forms, and contribute to their company's database.

Depending on the intranet provider, organisations have several deployment options. One option is on-premise deployment. It gives companies complete control over their data but involves considerable investment in IT infrastructure, implementation, and hardware maintenance. A much more convenient option is the cloud-based version of intranet software, which involves handing over these costly processes securely to the SaaS provider in exchange for a subscription fee. Thirdly, organisations may be able to secure a hybrid intranet solution. With this model, only certain parts of the operation are managed by the cloud service provider that hosts the organisation's applications.

What are the benefits of intranet software?

The benefits of intranet software tools continue to be felt even as new technologies emerge in the field of communications every day. Here are a few strategic benefits of using intranet solutions:

  • Easy data storage: organisations have countless circulating documents on any given day, often shared via email or stored on company computers in a variety of formats. An intranet solution can make storing and accessing these files much easier, given that it can manage a central database and control document versioning and sharing. The central database can also be primed for access through customised search functions, autofill, and input autocomplete functions. Making files more visible and easy to access can have a positive impact on work efficiency and help maximize ROI.
  • Seamless communication between employees: without an employee directory, finding the right person to share information within a large organisation can be challenging. Intranet software addresses this problem by enabling users to create their own profiles, with essential contact information, job description, and photos attached. Discovering colleagues quickly, messaging them directly through the intranet, and creating instant connections help strengthen the workforce network and boost productivity. Having access to colleagues via the staff directory also motivates employees to communicate more, stay engaged, and celebrate their achievements together. Likewise, keeping abreast of workforce changes via news feeds and notice boards enables employees to take part in familiar social experiences where work achievements are celebrated on a wider level.
  • Advanced content management systems: intranets have evolved greatly since the 1990s, when they consisted mostly of single welcome pages. Nowadays, they include blogs, forums, chats, newsfeeds, calendars, automated forms, alerts, and various social features that make sharing key messages and organisational updates quick and easy. With built-in content management systems (CMS), intranet software empowers communicators to create and share their content across the organisation. Company-wide data sharing: sharing knowledge and ideas fosters innovation, which is a catalyst to business growth. As it gives all employees equal access to the centralised platform and those who use it, an intranet can work as a mouth piece for management to communicate with their entire organisation. Also, being able to share insights and updates in real time, seek ideas for new projects, and receive candid feedback makes all users more attuned to the inner workings of the business, more aware of the drivers of change, and better prepared for new growth opportunities.
  • Borderless collaboration: working across time zones and world regions is a challenge many companies face. With a centralised communication platform, all employees have access to the same information, wherever they may be across the globe. As everyone is on the same page and aware of colleagues' schedules, they can collaborate in tandem or in sequence more effectively. Intranet software can also give employees the tools to take charge of situations when urgent action is needed, even when they are not physically in the office.
  • Corporate goal promotion: customised intranet systems can be seen as an investment in corporate identity. This type of software can be used to promote corporate culture, vision, ethics, and goals. As leaders post their plans for the future and communicate their strategies transparently on notice boards, forums, and blogs, they do more than clarify what directives employees should follow and how they can work to align themselves with the business. They help build a sense of purpose and foster a sense of community, leading them into a shared future with goals that they can all strive towards.

What are the features of intranet software?

The features of intranet software are changing and increasing as developers work to make their tools stand out. But creating a next-level intranet platform starts with only a few simple and indispensable features. Organisations should look out for these 6 fundamental features of intranet software:

  • Knowledge base management: store information in a central knowledge base and provide on-demand access to it. Starting with company policy documents, all the way through to 'how-to' videos, intranet software helps store, organise, and share valuable information securely from a searchable and easily accessible database. Employees can then draw on this information in the onboarding phase, during regular staff training campaigns, when they're seeking advancement, or whenever they need a refresher.
  • Content management: bring together text, audio, and video content in a centralised database for easy access. Whether it's meeting minutes, invoices, project workflows, or sales reports, intranet platforms can collate this content, convert it into a more digestible format if necessary, make it available to relevant stakeholders, and allow updates in real time. Employee repository: create employee profiles and grant access to this information to authorised individuals. Intranet tools can store contact details, job roles, and imagery pertaining to every employee and compile this information in a unified database. This enables co-workers to look them up on the employee repository and identify them as the 'go-to' person for their queries. Rather than ask around or send emails hoping for the best, workers can reach these contacts directly, with complete certainty that their query will be seen by the right person every time. Policy management: draft guidelines, policies, and procedures for different scenarios in line with regulations. Featuring forms, templates, and DIY drafting tools, intranet solutions can help speed up the time-consuming processes of creating, comparing, validating, sharing, and enforcing policy changes.
  • Calendar management: synchronise, share, and manage multiple staff calendars. Intranet systems usually come with calendaring tools to make worker availability transparent and work commitments easily visible. This enables employees to keep up with meetings and events, RSVP to invites, synchronise with colleagues they collaborate with, and edit their own schedules in real time.
  • Private network: protect company data from leaks, theft, and accidental tampering. Aware of the constant threat of malicious attacks, intranet providers give their clients a range of security solutions. Whether users opt for wide area networks (WANs) or local area networks (LANs), they should be safe in the knowledge that their networks are private and exclusively accessible to authorised personnel.

What should be considered when purchasing intranet software?

When purchasing intranet software, users must take note of rapid advances in technology and how these may impact user expectations, especially as the Australian workforce is becoming more digitally savvy. Here are some of the most basic and sensible questions companies should ask about an intranet platform before committing to a deal:

  • Does it have all the integrations needed? For it to be a good fit for many businesses, an intranet solution may need to integrate successfully with existing and prospective business applications. This may include HR systems, document processors, contact management apps, and scheduling software. Native integrations or an API will facilitate seamless communication across software packages without the need to download and refresh databases or transfer information from one application to the next. With real-time updates across these platforms, there's no risk of data loss, time lags, or discrepancies.
  • Is the intranet software’s interface intuitive? The user experience should be at the forefront of the organisation's attention. A need for extensive training or time-consuming adjustments translates into a lost opportunity. Ideally, the intranet solution should be customisable but also come with essential capabilities 'out of the box' so that even trainees and inexperienced staff find it easy to navigate.
  • Does it offer mobile access? An intranet platform without mobile access is only usable at the desk. This defeats the purpose of having secure, streamlined communication and collaboration tools with worldwide coverage around the clock. Whether employees work remotely, flexibly, in the field, hoteling, hot-desking, or from their designated office, they may still need to network and collaborate with colleagues from across the globe on a range of devices.
  • Is the search functionality up to par? Outdated search functions are a common grievance for intranet users. A good intranet tool should be able to anticipate queries, auto-fill entries, make keyword suggestions, and return results fast, particularly if it claims to be user-friendly.
  • Can this intranet tool empower employees? Employees should be made to feel that their contribution is needed and appreciated. To help make that happen, an intranet platform must be able to create vibrant dialogue. This involves encouraging workers to share their views, sharing performance objectives for every team member, making the onboarding process run smoothly, and facilitating social recognition for workers who go above and beyond.

The most relevant intranet platform trends follow logically from wider technological trends. Here are some of the emerging trends in intranet that organisations should keep up with:

  • AI for intranets: AI technology is a long way from reaching its full potential in the realm of intranets. But AI chatbots, voice assistants, and other innovations may soon replace standard text queries on the intranet. With the capacity for pattern recognition, voice analysis, and machine learning, AI could even become the gold standard for intranet systems, helping with search recommendations, article generation, video editing, security alerts, and other important operations.
  • Intranet-specific analytics: Analytics can help gauge the engagement, adoption, and performance of intranet software. These insights can help organisations to adjust the content and user interface to specific situations, skills, or employee needs. While few intranet solutions come with metrics specific to the workforce or the industry, there are obvious benefits to holding that kind of information and using it as a benchmark for intranet success.
  • Hub sites can be benefitial: Hub sites bring together countless websites and link them for optimum navigation. It serves as the 'go-to' for relevant information since it links together disparate websites and helps users navigate a topic all the way down to its origin and across to its alternatives.
  • Social tools speak volumes: Turning to social media tools can only enhance user experience. Intranet providers who anticipated the growth of social engagement have already incorporated blogs, feeds, tags, groups, and forums into their software solutions. Those who don't adapt and enrich their software with social tools may come to find that user engagement will eventually dwindle as users develop a taste for these features outside of work.