Categories
Collaboration Intranets

6 Summer Vacation Ideas For Your Intranet

For some businesses, the summer months are a little bit slower and employees take more vacations. During this time, your intranet may lack participation and updates. But keeping your intranet *hot* during the summer helps keep those employees engaged instead of daydreaming staring out the window wishing they were still on that cruise. We are going to look at a few ideas for your intranet that can keep things fun and fresh. Also we will provide some tips on how to clean up your intranet to prepare for the busier months ahead.

Categories
Noodle Software Social Intranets

Using Intranet Hashtags

Using Hashtags on your intranet is one of the best things you can do to keep your intranet well organized and increase employee engagement. Not only is it simple to add tags to your content in Noodle, you will also always have a simple way to find content quickly.

The use of Hashtags in the business environment is relatively new. Hashtags were traditionally used and made popular by the social media platform, Twitter. For those not familiar with Twitter, the hashtag evolved organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages. To make it easier to find information on specific topics. It’s use has grown in popularity and is used by other social media, and now business, platforms.

tagresults

Unlike Twitter, Noodle doesn’t require the users to know what hashtags to use or search. Instead tags are set by an administrator and can be selected by users when they are adding content. The tags display at the top of the page and will show you how many items are tagged by that word/phrase. So you have complete control over what tags are used in your intranet.

Hashtags use in Business

While it’s true that the business use for hashtags differs from the social purposes, the need is the same. To pass along information that can be grouped and easily found by others. While hashtags in social media have become more of a way to provide social commentary or to use for sarcasm, there is still legitimate business use.

“There’s a lot of power in this tool to reinforce your company’s culture and values, so don’t overlook it. Instead, use it to strengthen the way you communicate with your staff and establish a connection between people.” – Charlie Lofthouse, Reward Gateway

Not to mention, hashtags are a fantastic way to keep your information on the intranet organized by using tags as aways for user’s to find content on a specific topic. Being able to filter content from all different types of applications (calendars, blogs, documents etc.) makes it easy to find the what you are looking for.

Tips and Tricks

Your employees will need time and training to utilize intranet tags properly. Here are some tips to help them get acquainted:

  • Try to be consistent with naming format (i.e. spelling, no spaces, max length)
  • Initially, set up as many tags as you can that are related to your business, for your users to choose from
  • Allow user’s to suggest hashtags using the Database Forms to collect requests
  • Collect feedback from users on how they utilize Hashtags for their work
  • Have user’s vote on a favourite hashtag and hold a draw or contest to spike interest in using tags
  • Feature a Hashtag of the day/week to also spread initial interest
  • Try not to apply too many tags to one item
  • Add a prefix for tags that you want to categorize by a certain team/location/department if you are using a common term for the tag

Not Using Noodle Yet? Book a Demo Today!

Categories
Noodle Software

Noodle Gets an Upgrade

For over a decade, Vialect Inc. has been working hard at growing our Intranet platform, Noodle. We have grown so much over the years and have seen the rise and evolution of the modern Intranet. We, just like our valuable clients, work hard to listen to our customers and improve our product with each upgrade.

The newest version of Noodle was recently released with several new features and improvements. Over the next few weeks, we will be exploring these changes in more detail and providing advice and resources on how to utilize these new features to their fullest potential on your Noodle Intranet site.

In this blog, we are going to give you an overview of some of the changes so you can start using them for yourself right away. Look for more tips in the upcoming weeks.

Let’s get started with a brief overview of some of the new features in the Noodle 4.04 upgrade:

New Mobile UI

How employees access their documents and information is rapidly changing. The Cloud storage idea of being able to access your content from any device anywhere you are has become increasingly attractive. More companies want to provide information to their employees when they are not at their desk. They want them to access their resources no matter where they are.

mobiledir

Noodle has heard this and has received a makeover of it’s Mobile UI. With this upgrade, the mobile view is now cleaner, making it easier to access your content. Fitting a complex intranet site into a mobile device required something simple but versatile. With a much improved navigation design, you’ll be more comfortable when accessing your intranet from your mobile device.

Intranet Tags

Tagging and categorizing your content is one of the most important things you can do to increase engagement and keep your intranet organized and easy to search. The rise of the hashtag has made it’s way into intranet software as a nice way to tag and find content quickly.

Not only is it simple to add tags to your content in Noodle, you will now be able to view your tags at the top of each Headline page to quickly filter content according to the appropriate tag. This allows you to see content of any type, whether it be from a Calendar, a document folder or even a related Blog.

Intranet Emojis

According to,The Atlantic, 76% of Americans reported using emojis at work. This is partially do to younger workers growing in the workforce, but also because companies are adopting more collaborative tools that promote casual work interactions.

Emojis can be a quick and effective way to get a message across, especially when in a rush or trying to meet a tight deadline. It also adds a fun way for employees to communicate with each other, without the need for each interaction to be formal. This upgrade has added emojis within Noodle’s chat application to make your communications more efficient and fun.

HTML Emails

There are many ways to send notification e-mails through Noodle. Set up What’s New Activity subscriptions, share documents with users, or send out company memos. Previously Noodle displayed all this content in plain text e-mails.

Now your e-mail notifications will adopt the same theme as your site and make your notifications more lively and an overall better experience.

Two-Factor Authentication

Currently, Noodle provides an option to blacklist IP addresses when an automated botnet is trying to brute force account passwords. This would lock access to the site from that IP address to prevent these attacks from getting into the system. Now, with this upgrade Noodle offers another layer of protection with Two Factor authentication.

Two-Factor Authentication will ask the user for a password and a time sensitive pin number the first time they login from a new computer web-browser. This can be turned on from a user’s profile and can be set up with most mobile devices to send you a pin code to trust the new computer/browser. If you use public or shared computers, this is a good way to add another layer of security and prevent hacking attempts and prevent unauthorized access.

Be on the watch in the next few weeks as we will be releasing a weekly blog covering each of these new features in more details with tips as well!

Categories
Intranets

Intranet Training 101

A lot of time is spent on planning and designing your intranet, however intranet training is also an important aspect to a successful intranet rollout.

You may have held some internal meetings, completed several demonstrations with different vendors and evaluated many options. Now you have committed to an intranet platform and are ready to launch!

But first, you need to add your content to attract the employees to the site. To do this successfully, you need to organize a team and plan a strategy for administrating the site and for preparing the end users (employees) to use the new tool effectively. Unfortunately, you can’t just hop to cut the cake at the launch party if you want your intranet to have a successful launch and early adoption.

So where do you start?

Categories
Collaboration Intranets

5 Reasons to Make Your Intranet a Priority

An intranet can be a very important piece of a successful organization. It provides a central location to share information, documents, knowledge while keeping up to date with corporate news and events. In some industries, it’s very important for employees to be able to communicate effectively, especially when they are not located in the same office or work remotely. These days, technology and work are changing rapidly. Old static intranets, endless e-mail chains and attachments, or old paper communication are not able to adjust with today’s employees needs and can prevent them from being more productive and engaged.

Categories
Intranets

Intranet Discussion: Cloud or Self-Hosted?

When installing an intranet platform for your company, you have two choices: install it locally in your own server (self-hosted), or have it hosted in the cloud. There are benefits and reasons for each option. These reasons may depend on: cost, user level, storage requirements, IT or security needs, or other levels of customization and development. The choice should also depend on your own intranet support team and end-users.

Do you have a dedicated IT staff to set up and maintain the intranet software, server and database? Is your local network security locked down, but the intranet needs to be easily accessed by anyone anywhere?

There are a lot of things to discuss internally when deciding on your hosting requirement. Together, we’d like to discuss each hosting method and what may be best for your company.

First, what are the pros and cons of each?

Local Intranet Installation (Self-Hosted)

Pros

• Control your own security and backups.
• Ability to add more customization and communication with other content on your local network
• More control of performance (service specs and other improvements)
• One-time payment for the software

Cons

• Requires dedicated IT staff
• May require the purchase of a dedicated server and/or additional memory
• Upgrades and after-sales support usually entail additional costs
• Can be a more expensive option for smaller businesses or teams to get started

Cloud Hosted Intranet (or SaaS)

Pros

• Small monthly fees for continued access to intranet software
• Worry-free security and data backups
• No need to purchase new equipment such as a dedicated server or additional memory
• Nobody in your organization needs to maintain the intranet on the tech side
• Upgrades, trouble-shooting and tech support are included in monthly fees

Cons

• Total dependence on the vendor for security and backups
• Need to make continuous payments for as long as you use the intranet
• Limited ability to customize the intranet software

So Cloud Hosted is Cheaper?

Regarding costs, we stated that hosting locally may be more expensive to get started. This is because there is a larger one-time fee for the software. But this also depend on the scale of your users and your short term vs. long term goals. If you committ in your plan to using the same platform for 3-5 years or longer, then the monthly costs of Cloud hosting may start to exceed the cost of the one-time license fee and/or monthly support costs. So how long you want to comitt to the platform is also something to consider when it comes to costs. Also consider any potential costs for maintaining or adding new development for your locally hosted intranet, if you plan on customizing mroe yourself in the future.

While long term goals are important for the reasons we mentioned. Short term goals are also to be considered. A Cloud hosted intranet may be the most cost effective in the beginning. Even if the software requires a term comittment, it’s likely not as much of a comittment as buying the software outright and abandoning it a year later. This is why it’s also important to properly evaluate whichever software you are planning to go with during your trial period. If you opt to start with a hosted solution and then think that you may eventually want to host your intranet yourself, make sure the software you choose allows you to easily backup and restore your site and content to your new self-hosted site.

Ok, but Self-Hosted is more secure?

Well that may or may not be true, again depending on your own security and needs. There is a such thing of your intranet access being too secure if you don’t need it to be. This could limit access outside of the network, or make it difficult to connect to the intranet outside of the network (using VPN, or other remote access methods.) Or maybe you don’t have much in-house security (or again if you have no server at all) so a Cloud option may provide more security and options. Also, if you plan on sharing or hosting content from outside your internal network (like videos on YouTube for example) you may have that content blocked by your internal firewall settings and preferences.

That is a lot to consider, how do I choose?

Again, it’s important to have an internal discussion as to what you will require in terms of access, security, meeting internal or legal guidelines and required certifications, maintenance and both upfront and ongoing costs. Then you should speak to a technical consultant to discuss these needs and find what would be the best option based on your needs and budget. Schedule a demonstration to have us build you a custom prototype site and answer any questions you have regarding your best intranet hosting method.

There’s a lot to consider, but we’re here to help!

Categories
Collaboration Employee Engagement Social Intranets

Breaking the Intranet Paradigm

In the world of intranets, as such with other business technology, change happens fast. Intranets used to be predictable and provide static content with long-term planning. As the workplace changes, so too has the intranet paradigm. Intranets are always evolving and changing. Today they have become much more dynamic. Employees want accessibility, freedom of choice and simplicity with their intranet. Employers are looking to create more value with their intranet by promoting collaboration, learning, innovation and building relationships.

Categories
Intranets Noodle Software

Cost of an Intranet

It can be self-evident that improving communication and collaboration in your workplace can provide a significant return on investment. Introducing more efficient and organized ways of sharing information and working together not only saves time, but outputs better results. Getting your management team to understand this is crucial. In many cases, choosing a software to improve communication comes down to the cost and value that is seen in such a product. More than ever before, businesses have lots of choices when upgrading or implementing a new intranet platform/site. Which option to go with depends heavily on the following criteria:

Categories
Employee Engagement Intranets

5 Ways to Increase Engagement Using Blogs

Blogging about Blogs!

Chances are you either follow a blog, or have a personal blog yourself. While others may see blogs as just a personal diary, exposed to the public. The real idea is for a writer to share experiences, observations and thoughts on a variety of topics. Blogs have also made their way into the business world in the form of marketing and industry blogs. This can be a great way to not only speak about and allow people to learn more information about your business, but also to share your own expertise in your respective industry.

Categories
Intranets

7 Steps for Pre-Planning your Intranet Project

You’ll hear it all over the place. One of the most important parts of implementing and launching a company intranet is the pre-planning stage. These are steps that come long before even choosing a vendor. Although having the proper product and support is invaluable, you will have more success choosing the right vendor with having a proper plan in place. With all the product options (and number of features available in each product) on the market, it can be daunting to know where to start, want what to look for. There are a lot of helpful blogs discussing this process (like this one!) but some are filled with jargon or address situations or needs that do not fit your business.

In this blog, we will look at useful tips to plan your intranet project in layman terms to help give you a quick strong start on your journey. Again, we will be focusing on the “pre-planning” meaning we will not be discussing how to choose a vendor (as we touched on in this previous blog) or launching an intranet (also covered in this blog.) So let’s get started!