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Let’s dive into the differences between traditional and modern intranets. The most significant different between the two is the amount of functionality, with modern intranets offering far greater and more wide ranging applications.
The traditional model of intranets, typically had upper management creating content and messaging to go out to the organization’s employees, with little to no interaction back on the part of the employees. Previously, the intranet was thought of as a repository of static information and a place for top-down communication to take place. While, that may still be true today for some intranets, more modern intranets meet this requirement and then some. Intranet solutions today have shifted away from the one-way communication model, and more towards a social model by enabling users to create and share content. At Noodle, we have built our intranet platform to be flexible, and designed the interactions to be similar to what users would expect and be used to with social media and social networking applications.
Traditional Intranets were commonly confined to the organizations’ local network, which meant that any employee trying to access the intranet remotely would have to use a VPN (virtual private network). Today, organizations can choose between a cloud intranet option or a local install (on-premise) intranet and enable remote access to the site. While, intranets were thought of as a centralized location for the company’s knowledge base, there was little in the way of connecting messaging and other applications. With these sites the employees would still be using separate email and instant messaging applications. The modern intranet contains a multitude of applications itself, and while it can be complimented with and connected to third party applications, it can also act as a stand alone solution, creating a one stop shop for employees.
Aside from messaging and communication capabilities, modern intranets include a number of other useful productivity applications, such as the ability to automate processes, track employee engagement, and collect and store data. With Noodle, you can achieve these three functions with workflows, analytics, and database forms respectively. While this only scratches the surface, if you haven’t updated your intranet in some time, you may be missing out on some very useful productivity features. For a more comprehensive idea on what other features and benefits modern intranets have, you can find out more in our article What Is An Intranet And Why Do You Need It?
Traditionally an intranet was a network that connected organizations and primarily enabled internal communications. In it’s first inception was it typically used to push down communications from upper management. Modern intranets have evolved to incorporate more social aspects and allow communication and collaboration from multiple stakeholders across the organizational hierarchy. It also previously acted mostly as a knowledge base repository, often times one that was cumbersome to navigate and find pertinent information. This is why powerful search functionality and simplicity in the user experience design is a critical element to look for when evaluating intranet software.
Firstly, you can achieve all of the same objectives as a traditional intranet, and then some. With advent of the social web came the social intranet, and a shift in culture, which has been reflected in many of the changes, offering more open communication and collaboration. Additionally, once of the core benefits of an intranet is the idea of having a “one-stop-shop” for all your digital assets, and saving the time spent switching between applications. Even when instances of a dreaded “legacy software” is used across an organization, some intranets will offer a solution to integrate these, such as Noodle with it’s external link application.
At it’s most basic function, an intranet was used for communication, therefore this should be engrained within the entire solution. While, traditionally these were one way communications through static pages, today, intranets have multiple applications that can be used for communication. Noodle, for instance, has the instant messaging application, conference room application, video conferencing, discussion forums, question manager application, and more. Each one serving a different purpose, such as real time communication with instant messaging, or a bulletin style discussion forum.
Most intranets today have the ability to store and share documents for collaboration with other employees. The interface and the storage can vary, but the end result is the ability to create, and share documents. Some intranets, such as Noodle, have the ability to save and restore previous versions of documents, as well as the ability to tag, or check out items for editing. Learn more about Noodle’s document management capability here.
Intranets tackle the problem of disorganized, and disconnected applications, so it is only natural that any intranet solution worth it’s salt has a calendar application for organizing your employees day to day schedule. With this application there should be no restriction on creating multiple calendars for different departments, teams, and individuals. Extra points for those that can connect to third party calendars (hint: Noodle Intranet).
Some softwares have a project management component that will allow you to keep on top of multiple projects, by setting milestones and tracking progress. This application should have the ability to assign deadlines, and tasks to different users or teams. Often times these are in the form of Kanban Style columns, such as Noodle’s task manager application.
Along the lines of efficiency and enabling users to complete tasks, many sites have the ability to automate standard processes to save organizations’ time and therefore, money! Noodle’s workflow application allows users to create processes with predefined steps, such as approvals or actions like email notifications when a step is completed. Save valuable time spent doing day to day work, so your employee can focus on what matters most, building and growing your company.
Again, with the advent of the social web, there has been a drive for companies to generate content and enable communication at all levels. Social profiles give users the ability to share their contact information, and expertise, while tying a person to their content. In turn, this encourages participation, as well as accountability. Employees can share statuses to let their colleagues know when they are out of the office, or they can share a relevant new article, or link. Along with these social profiles, there is often a status feed with the most recent activity.
Another component of modern intranet sites is the ability to collect data with forms, and store them in a database that can be produce reports based on specific criteria. For example, employees may want to collect orders for an upcoming lunch and learn, and can have their colleagues fill out their order within their intranet’s database forms. When they want to review who ordered what they can rearrange the forms to sort the results by food, so the unique orders can be counted efficiently. This is just one example of what can be done.
Intranets, and more specifically database forms, can also be used to track customers and enable collaboration among sales and marketing teams. Reports can then be ran to find a certain customer segment, or follow leads along the customer lifecycle. Contact information can be collects, as can any engagements that employees have with leads to ensure that leads are being nurtured, and are moved through the sales funnel.
While this should be a standard across all websites today, it is also relevant to any modern intranet. Users will invariably want to access the site from any number of devices and expect a seamless experience from desktop to tablet to mobile.
While this is not an exhaustive list of what an intranet can do, it certainly encapsulates the major functions of intranet, which is collaboration and communication within organizations.
First and foremost, as mentioned, you will need an intranet to keep your digital assets organized, empower your employees, and improve your communication and collaboration ability. Aside from this you might need an intranet for any of the following reasons:
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
Over the past few weeks, our Noodle Team has worked tirelessly to enhance our customers’ experience both within Noodle and with our support channels. In this post, I would like to shine some light on some of the recent changes to show you what’s new and give you a sense of what you can expect in the near future.
We have recently produced two new tutorial videos, as part of an ongoing video tutorial series, and published them on our YouTube channel, to walk you through the ins and outs of your Noodle Intranet. Subscribe to our channel to follow us and get the latest video updates.
This first video covers sections and applications, and how to create and organize your Noodle site.
Our second video goes over how to add portlets, and the different types of portlets that can be created. For more examples and information on Portlets, you can visit our previous post: Intranet Best Practices: Managing Portlets
If you have any questions, or would like to request a video tutorial topic for a future video, please leave a comment, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ve also made some changes to the website, including an update pricing slider on our pricing page that allows you to create a custom quote based on your storage and user requirements, and preferred deployment. Aside from this, we’ve revamped the website to make it faster, more user-friendly and easier to navigate.
Lastly, we’ve added some new functionality to Noodle. Most notably, a single sign-on option for the on-premise installations with OneLogin, Centrify, or Okta. This means your users have one less password to remember, and they can log into Noodle with the same single sign-on credentials that they use for all their other applications.
Stayed tuned for more news, updates, and tutorials.
As promised following our last post on Setting Up Your Digital Workplace, this week we will continue with part two and focus on adding iFrame widgets and external links to your profile.
iFrame Widgets are commonly published by different applications to allow you to embed that application, or parts of it within a website. These can also be embedded on your Noodle Intranet site. While these can be placed in any of the different sections on your site, today we are going to show you how to place them on your digital workplace in your profile.
Here’s some examples of what can be added with an iFrame Widget:
Firstly, you will need to grab the iFrame code on your preferred application. For this example, I will use our twitter account @Noodle_News. To create a twitter widget navigate to https://publish.twitter.com/ and insert your twitter URL, in this case I would add https://twitter.com/Noodle_news and the page will generate an iFrame code for you, like this one.
Before copying the code you will want to set customization options for the iframe to limit the height and then click update. We recommend 600px by 400px. If your preferred application only has a iFrame URL, you can click on the globe icon within the editor, paste the URL and make adjustments to the size within Noodle.
Once you copy the code, you will need to go to your digital workplace to add the widget. For simplicity’s sake, let’s add the code to a static announcement portlet. Once you’ve created this portlet and are within the Noodle editor, click on the more button and then source to paste the script in the editor.
Save and close the editor to view your shiny new iFrame Widget from your digital workplace!
Our last blog post covered how to create and manage portlets for quick access to your most relevant information. Today, we’re going to look at setting up your digital workplace by creating application instances within your Employee Profile in Noodle. This could act as a place to create and edit documents before they see the light of day, or a place for your personal calendar or task list. To create an application in your profile, you will have to navigate to the “My Stuff” tab in your Noodle profile. From here, you can click on the add application button at the top right and add any one of the 15 applications to your “My Stuff” Digital Workplace.
Once you have added your applications, you can follow our last post’s instruction to create portlets for a snapshot of your applications and quick access. Use these applications to work individually on projects, or to share and collaborate with other co-workers or team members. Let’s look at some ideas for how your Digital Workplace applications can be used in your profile.
Create your Documents, Blog Posts or Pages in your “My Stuff” digital workplace and invite collaborators to contribute, proofread or make revisions before you share throughout the organization. Need to step away in the middle of your post? Save it in your profile and come back to it later.
Setup Your Calendar
Manage your schedule by setting up your Noodle Calendar. Looking to connect a third party calendar? Use subscriptions to ensure that your digital workplace displays all the important dates and appointments from your existing calendar. Bring your department’s or team members’ calendars together with a merged calendar, so you always know the best times to schedule meetings.
Database Forms can be designed to collect various information for your use. This can be used in your day-to-day operation. For example, to collect client information and track interactions for account managers. Or use these forms periodically for events, such as taking food orders for a departmental retreat.
Create A Task List
Use the Task Manager application to create and organize your “to do” items into categories, and mark your progress. Grant access to your task manager and allow others to assign tasks to you. View your colleagues digital workplace to see their tasks and stay on top of your team projects to see when vital stages are completed.
Stay tuned for part two, where we will look at how to add iframe widgets and external links to your digital workplace.
Last week we wrote about the most important feature of portal software; its relevance to the user. This week, we’ll take a look at Noodle intranet best practices for creating and managing portlets so you can make your intranet relevant to you at every turn. But first, what are portlets?
Two strategies are commonly employed in setting up your intranet home page.
Traditionally, intranets were used as a top-down communication tool, and this is still a common strategy today. Although intranets today can do much more, you can still accomplish this by pushing important information to employees with static portlets and by restricting permission controls. This strategy alone is useful for businesses that want the intranet to function as a static knowledge base. However, this can hinder intranet engagement, if that is the goal of your intranet.
With the advent of social media and Web 2.0, the intranet evolved to include a social aspect. This enabled employees at every level to participate in content creation. For companies with a more flat organizational structure or culture, looser permission controls and dynamic content can open up the lines of communication and increase engagement. Dynamic content requires less maintenance and content creation by pulling from readily available sources, such as rss feeds, or popular applications. By pulling from applications, you can ensure your portlets are directly relevant to individuals or groups.
So, what are the best practices for selecting portlets for your home page?
The best practice for managing portlets is to base them on your business objectives and what benefits you are looking to get out of your intranet. Keep in mind the pros and cons of each of the above strategies. Remember, relevance is key! Most businesses can benefit from a hybrid combination of static and dynamic content. Static portlets keeps employees informed if the information is relevant, however it’s unlikely that all your content is relevant for all your users or groups. Dynamic content will keep your content updated, however it may pull less relevant content, depending on the source. Relevant Noodle applications, such as a merged calendar or shared documents can provide functionality, and increase efficiency and engagement. On the other hand, rss news feeds could distract from day to day operations if the feed is not relevant.
Keep in mind that there are headline pages for each section, which can hold portlets that are more relevant to those sections. The homepage should contain high-level content that is relevant across the organization. For example, the merged calendar can show a birds eye view of different departmental calendars, and include an organization-wide calendar.
For more information on Noodle Intranet best practices, or questions on managing portlets, contact our Noodle Advisors.
We are all familiar with portal software. Particularly, the login screen. We see these gateways daily, and login, without a thought, to whatever application we are planning on using. Whether that’s a social application like Facebook, or a work email client. So what are the most important features of portal software?
When we log into the all too familiar login screen we have expectations. The primary thing that we expect is to be able to access all the things we are hoping to look at or work on. Roadblocks are introduced, when we have to move from software to software and we are faced with compatibility issues. True portal software enables us to stay within the software for each task. That’s the most important feature of portal software; being able to access all you need when you need it.
So does that mean that portal software needs to be wrought with features to be a good software? Not necessarily. What’s more important is the accessibility of those features and capabilities you use in your day to day work. So, if those applications, features or capabilities are not by default available and accessible, it is important that your portal software is customizable to make that possible. These features that are important to you, are important to us. With Noodle, you can customize your intranet portal to show those applications that are important to you. While many Noodle users have taken advantage of organizing their sections, portlets, and permission controls, the “My Stuff” tab within their Noodle’s “My Profile” area often is overlooked as a means to customize your portal.
Your profile area is designed around you. It can be a place to store documents that only you will need to work on. Or it can be a place to create and store drafts before they see the light of day. It can also be a place for your calendar, your projects, or any of the 15 different Noodle applications that you would like an individual instance of. Also, you can create your own portlets for quick snapshots of your most recent work.
For more information on taking advantage of the customizability of Noodle, or questions on what makes Noodle a powerful portal software, contact our Noodle Advisors.