One of the most daunting tasks of deploying and planning an Intranet site for your organization, is planning and deploying the intranet site!
Researching vendors and attending demos is great to see what products are available. But that could be a stressful endeavour, if you are not prepared for how your site will be structured, ownership of content, what information will be added or how to launch the intranet.
The planning of the intranet is just as important (if not more) as finding suitable software. Many intranet projects have died out, not because of the tools they are using, but because they lack any direction or vision.
If you are reading this, you are likely just about to get started with the search for intranet software to replace your old deprecated site, or you are looking to deploy an intranet portal for the first time. We’ve gathered insights from our 15+ years in business to help you embark on your project.
In this article, we’ve identified five steps to launching a successful intranet, and have compiled our content resources for each step to make your intranet software search a little easier. Below you will see the most popular blog post surrounding these five steps. For an exhaustive list of articles, you can visit any of the different categories: Research, Navigating, Customizing, Pre-Launch, and Launch.
INTRANET SOFTWARE RESEARCH
In the research step you will want to start with things like, identifying business objectives to determine what features you are looking for in your intranet software. Our Intranet Planning Guide articles can help walk you through this and other important questions you should be asking yourself at this step. You can also download the guide as a whitepaper here. Moreover, if you are replacing deprecated or legacy software, you may want to read up on the different advanced features offered by a more modern intranet software.
After completing some research and coming up with some criteria to evaluate against, the next step is kicking the tires and navigating around with a trial site, or taking a product tour or demo. At Noodle, our demonstrations take you through how to achieve your business objectives with your Noodle trial site. At this point you will want to become familiar with the language and the different names of the site’s elements and structure. You will also likely be looking for tutorials and “how to” resources to create a site that will meet your needs. It is also a good idea to speak with a product advisor to have any questions or concerns addressed. Our Noodle advisors and support team can guide you on best practices and even help build your site for you based on your specifications.
By now, you have looked under the hood, and are ready to take your new intranet software for a test drive. Perhaps you have gone through an initial demo yourself, or with a small part of your team. The customizing step is your opportunity to tweak and tailor your site to your company, since this is where you will build your site structure, and create applications that are relevant to your industry, and teams. This is also the most user experience (UX) focused step of a successful launch. In addition, you will want to try to anticipate your users needs by taking into account their point of view and level of technical proficiency.
Luckily with Noodle, there is a very small learning curve and users will find many design similarities with commonly used social media applications. Also you need to consider what different departments or teams might use the portal for. Need help with ideas? Check out our Intranet Solutions articles to get some inspiration. At this time, you may also wish to schedule a second demo to go over any of the site that was built by advisors according to your specifications or to bring your team members into the loop. Demonstrations tend to be most effective when there is a good variety of users able to attend to give feedback and ask questions.
At Pre-Launch, you will have decided what intranet software is the best fit for your needs and will begin to plan your rollout. This is a great time to reach out to your account manager to provide advice on how to polish up the look and feel of your new portal. This is also when you will want to review your site against your original plan to ensure all the key elements are present. Logistical pieces, like adding users, and setting permissions, should be completed at this point. Our article series “A Word From Your Noodle Advisor” covers many of the aspects of the pre-launch step.
Now all that’s left is to launch your new site, although this is no small feat. You will want to ensure that your users are engaged from the beginning. Therefore, assigning a small task or poll might be a good idea to kick off their activity on the site. The launch is not only making the site live, it should also be followed swiftly by site activity and employee engagement. This is also a time that you will want to have support available from your intranet software provider and a time to collect feedback from your users to fix small issues or build on any wishlist items. During and beyond launch, you can brush up on tips and tricks, with our intranet best practices articles and ongoing support articles.
You’ve likely heard a lot of the business software lingo thrown around in the office. Acronyms like CRM, HRM, or ERP or buzzwords like portal, document management, or project management. Today these categories often overlap as they try to be an all-encompassing solution for business.
In our next series of posts, we’ll talk about some of these, and help you identify shortfalls and “overkill” software. We will also discuss ways you can accomplish these key departmental functions within your Intranet. Today, let’s look at enhancing your marketing with Noodle.
Marketing with Noodle
For the Marketing department, different Customer Relationship Management software can help track and target your customers. Many allow you to record contact information or track a customer along the customer lifecycle.
However, the CRM category, is possibly the worst culprit of “overkill” software. If you want to record everything down to your customer’s zodiac sign and make complex charts, maybe this software is for you. Though, for most businesses, a simple user friendly database will suffice. So why not improve your marketing with Noodle by creating databases for your CRM like the one below.
Creating a Sales Database
With Noodle’s database application, you can keep track of customers, leads, and make reports to filter and sort the information you need to see. What’s more, is you can create workflows from your database to ensure you are maintaining your customer relationships. Using reports, you can organize your leads by different criteria to see when your leads are coming in, where they are coming from, and what the return is on your marketing investments. With workflows, you can automate a sales contact schedule to remind you to reach out to leads that have gone quiet or increase efficiency with auto notifications for when a contribution is required from team members.
Learn More about Marketing with Noodle
Contact us today to set up a CRM Database on your Noodle site. Looking to gain even more powerful insights from your data? Ask our Noodle Advisors, how to create reports and workflows for your business.
There are several ways to incorporate Media, such as Photos and Videos, into your Noodle intranet site. Whether you want to keep an album of company photos, display training videos, or to add images to your portliest or blogs, it’s easy to do with Noodle. Adding images and video to your site can, not only help make your page stand out, but also keeps users visiting to see the newest photos from the company Halloween party or to watch the newest training videos. Let’s look through a few ways you can add Media to your site.
Noodle has a built-in Media Album to allow you to upload and link to images and videos and view them as thumbnails or in a slide show. Images and web-friendly videos (.mp4, .webm, .ogg) can be uploaded and viewed directly in this album. If you have a lot of photos from a company event you want to share, you can compress them into a zip file and upload all of the images directly into the album.
If you want to share a video from an external source (like YouTube or Vimeo) you can copy and paste the video URL and add the video to be played on your intranet site with no coding required. You can also add meta information to make it easy to find media content. Utilize tags and keywords so your media content can be found in a number of ways. All Noodle Media and other Content also allows you to share easily with others through e-mail or Instant Message.
Media in Text Editor
The Noodle Text Editor provides an easy way to add images to your Blogs, Announcement Portlets, Discussions, Pages and more. While still providing robust options to change the properties of the image, add links and other advanced options. You can add images into the text editor by uploading them directly inside of the editor, or by browsing to an image stored in a Media or Documents folder. You can then adjust the size, alignment and spacing of the image in your post. It’s also simple to add a hyperlink to the image with no HTML required. Advanced options allow you to add iFrames, styles and other details. This enables you to easily create quick link images on your main page to draw more attention to your content.
Other Media options
TMC selects Vialect Inc. as a top innovator on the ITEXPO Anaheim show floor
The Noodle Team had a blast at the 2015 ITEXPO in Anaheim, California. It was a nice sunny escape from the incoming Canadian autumn. It was also such a pleasure to meet with the other vendors and people attending the exhibition. There were many exciting products and services to see, and it seemed like everyone was having a little fun. Even Darth Vader was part of the action at one booth.
Whiteboards have always been (and still are) very popular for project planning. Having a visual look at the outline of your project is invaluable for proper execution and completion of the project. From marketing to human resources to engineering, having a visual project area is crucial to meeting goals and deadlines.
The only problem with using a whiteboard to plan your strategy, is that you can’t share that information easily with people in other locations or offices. Noodle’s Task Manager application allows you to build a Digital Workspace where you can outline you tasks and keep track of the progress of these tasks. The application allows you to create Kanban Style columns to outline each step of the project (known as Tasks) and to mark and track the progress of each step.
Wait, What Is “Kanban”?
Kanban is very popular among engineering and computer science to schedule and outline a project. It is a method used in production to manage knowledge and work without overloading team members. Being able to view each step of the process allows team members to communicate more easily on what tasks need to be completed and when. A team member is assigned a task and once it’s marked as completed, the next team member can begin their task.
The common principals of Kanban are:
1. Visualize Work
Having a visible overview of your work, you are able to create a workflow and observe the progress. You are able to view the bottlenecks and queues that may be halting production which will increase communication and collaboration to get the work done to move to the next step.
2. Limit Work In Progress
By having a set priority system, you can limit how much unfinished tasks are in progress. This helps speed up production so team members are not jumping to different tasks or going out of priority.
3. Focus on Flow
By setting deadlines project policies, you can improve the flow of work and keep track of metrics to analyze the flow. This allows you to find problem areas, or where to refine or make improvements.
4. Continuous Improvement
Using the Kanban system is more than just a method, it’s to improve the culture of your business and quality of your product. It’s an ongoing process to refine and learn through analytics such as tracking the flow, quality, lead times and more.
Using Noodle For Project Management
The Task Manager application in Noodle, adopts the Kanban method and combines it with an easy to manage interface. It also doesn’t just have to be used for manufacturing production or software development, it can be used for any project that involves more than one task and more than one team member’s input. Planning to run a booth at a convention? Redesigning your company website? Moving offices, or remodelling? The Task Manager can be used for any collaboration project.
We have already written before about the features of Task Manager, understanding how to utilize other Noodle features in conjunction with Task Manager is the next step.
Find an employee with desired expertise using our Expertise feature in our Company Directory to assign a specific task to
Use the Instant Messenger to send files and information between two team members for real-time communication
Build your own Folder in your Personal Profile to host and create documents and files you are working on, then share the completed document in the Task Manager
Create a Page or Blog regarding the overall vision of the project and provide a summary
Working on a visual project? Use our Photo Album to host images that can be easily shared and moved within Noodle
Provide links to resources that would help aid in the projects progress
Use Noodle’s Conference Room to hold group status updates on the project and set up notifications for these meetings in Noodle’s Calendar
Built a knowledge base for your project using the Questions applications where others can post solutions to questions from other team members
These are just some ways other Noodle applications can work alongside the Task Manager to increase collaboration in your workplace and improve overall quality and turnaround time. Team members will not longer feel “lost” in a project or feel they are on their own. They will have a visual representation of what’s expected of them and many different tools and resources to complete those tasks.
Try out the Task Manager now and allow us to build you a custom prototype and show you the tool in action.
Before you head to the lake or board the flight to your summer vacation, load your Kindle with these titles. You’ll return refreshed, recharged, and reinvigorated to make your company intranet the best it has ever been.
1. Enterprise 2.0: Social Networking Tools to Transform Your Organization (Jessica Keyes, 2012)
This is good reading for intranet managers who struggle with the social aspects of the intranet. Keyes shows how enterprise can use social networking in human resources, project management, operations, and other areas. For example, she covers how enterprise can benefit from internal blogs and discussion boards, as well as how to get staff ready for social networking.
Noodle has many applications but that doesn’t guarantee intranet success. Noodle contains a powerful feature that will help ensure your intranet is a success.
The Corporate Wisdom feature encourages people to contribute and review content within Noodle.
What’s your Corporate Wisdom? Many collaboration and intranet projects fail due to inactivity. This inactivity is the result of outdated information, hard to use tools and employees not being encouraged to review and contribute to the overall success of the site. Noodle solves this problem by monitoring the Corporate Wisdom of each employee.
The Corporate Wisdom is calculated by the total amount of items an employee reviews and the total amount of items the employee creates. These numbers are then added together and compared to the total site content and this produces the user’s Corporate Wisdom percentage. Corporate Wisdom also fluctuates as new content will lower a users percentage.
With the Corporate Wisdom feature you will be able to monitor success of the site and employees will use it to monitor their own success within the site. Vialect has found people are naturally competitive by nature and want to have the highest Corporate Wisdom percentage in the company. This will benefit your company as the employees will be educating themselves about your business.
Every year Intranets become more important to corporations and with the rise of familiar social networking tools in 2010 this year was no different. I don’t know of any published statistics but I bet Corporate Intranets were likely accessed more in 2010 then they were in 2009. However just because a site was accessed frequently doesn’t mean those visits were enjoyable or valuable to the members of that Intranet.
Engagement with Users
Analyzing your intranet is a very important process for improvement. There are many ways to analyze an Intranet but most of the popular ones are not very helpful. For example, counting hits to the home page or measuring the growth of the site as a whole are techniques that will not help measure the success of your Intranet. Historically companies will also send out basic polls that have questions about the Intranet. For Example, “Do you find the Intranet Useful?” isn’t a very helpful piece of information to measure the success of the Intranet.
Intranet Managers must engage with the users of the Intranet. When polling employees or meeting face to face about the Intranet the questions asked shouldn’t be multiple choice. All questions should be open ended and focused on that users actual work process or task.
For example, “What can we change on the Intranet that would help you get more work done?” is a simple question but the answers you get will help you immensely during future planning sessions.
As you ask these open ended questions you will get different answers from every person but you must take all of the feedback into account when you start planning changes to the Intranet. Engaging with the users of your intranet will provide more discussions and less answers but the discussion will reveal problem areas that you may not see as an Intranet Manager. During the engagement step I guarantee you will hear complaints about your Intranet. Don’t take these complaints lightly or shrug them off. Think of your Intranet users as customers you need to satisfy.
Change for ROI
The economy is improving but the Intranet needs to be a source of value not a cost as it has been in the past. All changes you are planning to make to your Intranet need to be Return on Investment focused.
Every proposed change needs to have a value associated with it. Time is Money is the popular phrase and its very true within an Intranet. If you can save even 5 minutes of wasted time for each employee the results are tangible and will go a long way with getting management support for enhancing your Intranet.
Here are a few Intranet Return on Investment Resources.