We are celebrating the Spring with some fresh new look options for your Noodle site as well as giving you a new option to store and access your Documents. There are a lot of exciting things our developers are working hard at for the rest of the year, but today we are going to focus on the newest additions and changes.
If you are a Cloud Hosted client, your site will already be updated with these changes. If you run your own local installation, you can now upgrade to the latest Stable build.
Google Drive Integration (Phase 1)
Although Noodle has a very powerful and easy to use Document Management system, there are still many clients who still use services like Google Drive. With Google Drive being the most popular amongst our users, we added functionality to read from a shared Drive and access those folders and documents from within your Noodle folders!
Currently, this is in ‘Phase 1’ of the implementation and is limited to “Read Only”. However, that will be expanded upon to allow you to Read/Write to and from the Google Drive to Noodle and vice versa in ‘Phase 2’.
Feel free to contact us if you would like to set up your Google Drive with your Noodle folders, we would be happy to walk you through it.
Last update, we added several new Theme options, introduced Font Icons, made some Mobile improvements and better Image support.
This time around we made it easier to rename the title any of your Applications or Pages on the site with in-line editing. While also providing quicker access to the Theme options in the top left corner of your main Section Page.
Inside these Theme options, you will find some new options (such as changing the background image on popup windows), selection sliders instead of radio buttons, and also a new “dark” theme for the Mobile view.
CSS support has also been improved and will allow you to make even more customizations than before, including changing the color of the font based icons in the site.
Our Database Reports have also been improved with group counting in Reports and better exporting of saved custom Reports.
That’s all for now, but stay tuned for more software update news and other information as it becomes available!
Don’t use Noodle yet? Contact us now to schedule a Demonstration and allow us to build you a free custom prototype site to review.
Over this past summer the Noodle development team worked hard to not only add more features and tools based on what YOU, our clients, wanted to see. We are very happy to roll out Noodle 07.04.10 to provide our clients with an even more robust Intranet site. This week we are going to provide an overview of some of the new features and changes. Make sure you check back each week over the next month for more detailed blogs about each new change.
Cloud Active Directory
Now you have more choice when adding your users on a Cloud hosted site. We have made it even easier to manage your users by allowing Cloud sites to sync with your local Active Directory. No longer do you have to host on your own server and Noodle license to sync your users. Next week we will be covering this in more detail along with the improved Single Sign On (SSO) features shown below.
Single Sign On
As mentioned above, syncing either your Cloud or Local Hosted site with your Active Directory will also allow you to set up SSO through LDAP. We also added support for 3rd party SSO services such as OneLogin and OKTA. This makes it easier for users to access your site and not have to remember additional logins or passwords.
For more technical information on Active Directory and Single Sign-On with Noodle, please click here.
One issue that our client’s brought up to us was the fact that Noodle content would be posted live once saved. We have now added a “Drafts” tab in your “My Profile” where it will store any content you are working on inside of your profile. This can include Blog Posts, Announcements, Pages, Documents and more. When you are ready you can publish your content from your profile to the live folder/application.
What’s New Activity Feed
The Noodle Activity Feed (“What’s New”) has been expanded to make it easier to set up your own stream of new activity on the site, based on what you want to follow. It’s also easier to “subscribe” to content, by just clicking the “star” icon to add that folder/page to your personalized feed. A bulk action can also be set by an adminitrator to turn on and set these options for all users on the site.
Our Quickbar has been revamped to make it easier to use and more attractive on the site. You can categorize content through your profile by adding Tabs and Quick Links so you can follow the content that’s most important to you easily. This can be managed by going to “My Profile” and then “Edit My Profile”.
New Theme Options and Font Icons
You are now able to change the shape of the Portlets and Sections as well as adjust the Section Navigation in the Top Navigation view. We have also replaced all image icons with font styles which helps make the site load even faster! Don’t worry though, your custom icons can still be enabled in the Theme settings.
If you are a Noodle Cloud Client, you can start using these new features now! For our locally hosted clients, you can now upgrade to the latest “Stable” build to receive this update.
Today we are going to compare cloud intranet software and on-premise intranet software to help you understand the differences, and why someone might choose one over the other. So first let’s define what cloud intranet and on-premise intranet mean. You’ve likely heard all about the cloud software and how all our applications are moving to the cloud. The key difference between cloud intranet and on-premise intranet options is simply where the server is located and who is managing it.
For cloud intranet sites, your data is stored on a distributed cloud server, most likely at a large data centre owned by one the key players in the industy, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, or Rackspace. For our Noodle cloud intranet sites, we have customers on both Rackspace and Amazon hosted servers. With the cloud intranet option, this means your data is being backed up and managed by us via either of those servers. Also, what this means, is you can freely access your intranet from any location, without making any changes to your site by typing the your intranet’s URL on any modern browser.
While, the cloud option provides users with all the same security and features, some customers require an on-premise intranet solution due to compliance issues, company policy, or other reasons. For this reason, you can set up your intranet on your own server. In this case, you would be able to manage and maintain the server, giving you full control. Again, while this is a bit more work for our customers many choose to go this route because it is required for compliance, company policy or other reasons.
Have any questions about Noodle Intranet or Cloud and On-Premise options? Please contact us.
There have many times where our clients will ask us what the typical steps are for evaluating intranet solutions. We’ve put together the following article to guide you in your search with the tangible steps for evaluating intranet solutions and questions you should be asking. We have mapped these with the steps identified in our complimentary article, 5 Steps to Launching a Successful Intranet:Researching, Navigating, Customizing, Pre-Launch, and Launch.
Researching Intranet Solutions
Another key difference in more modern software is the introduction of the social intranet. The social intranet allows for all users to create and share content, encouraging more free flowing and horizontal communication, as opposed to a top-down communication model. Some clients’ business objectives align with a more social intranet, while others are seeking a more traditional intranet solution. In some instances, the platform might fall in one of these categories, while others, like Noodle, allow for permission control, that can be adjusted accordingly.
At this stage you will want to gather a prospect list, and note the features that are offered by various providers. Previous clients have also taken this time to put together a survey around what features are important to circulate to colleagues. The priority at this point is to build a consideration set list of intranet solutions, a feature wishlist and establish criteria to judge against. Some crucial aspects you will likely want to consider would be the pricing, features, ease of use, deployment (on-premise vs cloud intranet), flexibility and support offered.
While you will have an opportunity to dive into the features, ease of use, flexibility, and support at later stages, you will want to get a good sense of the pricing, and deployment options at this point. Your choice of deployment will likely affect your pricing and possibly the available features. In most instances, our customers will go through the process of evaluating both the cloud and on-premise intranet options. However, some will rule out one option from the beginning of the evaluation process based on compliance requirements or their company preference.
Typically once these lists are generated, our clients have provided us their requirements list as a Request For Proposal (RFP) for our review. In these instances we check off items, so you can get a first impression of which intranet solutions closely match your feature wish list and criteria.
This leads us to the next step.
Navigating Intranet Solutions
Although having vendors fill out an RFP will help in the initial vetting to eliminate those that do not come close to meeting your criteria, you will want to ensure you have a large enough list to test out different intranet solutions firsthand. Scheduling a demo is the best way to evaluate whether the intranet solution will be a good fit. With a demo you will be able to have your questions addressed and can better assess which intranet solutions can achieve your business objectives. You will likely find that different vendors achieve the same result in different ways. Sometimes this will be a matter of preference, while other times there will be a clear advantage or disadvantage to one option. Starting a trial is the second best option for evaluating different softwares. If you have any questions during your trial period, you should be sure to reach out to the provider. This will also give you a first impression on their level of support. Also check for online resources such as guides or video tutorials to see the amount of instruction readily available when you or your users try to accomplish something on your social intranet.
Customizing Intranet Solutions
Once you have gone through the process of researching, and navigating through the intranet platform, either guided with a demo, or discovering it yourself with a trial, you will want to begin customizing it to your specifications. Our clients often follow their initial demo, by building up their trial site structure further themselves or by sending their desired structure and specifications to our Noodle Advisors to create. Once this is completed, the next step is typically to schedule a second demonstration to show the changes made to the site, and to invite additional stakeholders to view a demo with the more polished site. This version of the site should reveal a lot more of the functionality of the intranet solution, and show how it would specifically address your company’s business objectives. This step should consist of the most back and forth between you and the intranet provider with revisions and tweaks to the site, and thus this is another opportunity to gauge the level and quality of support you will receive. At the conclusion of this step is the final decision making process, including the preferred deployment, storage and user options. This is the time you would want to review your original criteria and compare how each providers offering measures up, considering the weight of crucial elements to achieve your business objectives. Our clients would then be sent a final proposal, and an invoice upon approval. By now your evaluation should shift from feature focused to the support provided.
At the pre-launch stage the back and forth between your company and intranet provider should continue. You certainly do not want to have your support seemingly disappear following your decision. At this time, your users and documents should be imported, as well as permissions set, so that at launch each user can see their respective sections on the site, and do not have access to privileged information from other departments, teams, or users. Much of the logistical pieces come together at this point, and having a dedicated account manager on hand is crucial. They can provide insight on what uses different teams or departments might have for the intranet, such as the human resources uses, or sales and marketing uses.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, at the launch phase, you will also want to assess the support, both live, and help documentation. Best practices can guide you in having a successful launch. Employee engagement is an important aspect at this step, and activities that promote this can help immensely to get buy in and increase adoption. It is also a good idea to gather feedback from your users at this time to evaluate successes and identify possible improvements. Building and maintaining an intranet is an ongoing process and there are many articles that can offer inspiration, such as how to name your intranet, or how to refresh your intranet periodically (especially in those summer months when employees often take vacations). While these articles are a great resource, your intranet provider should also act as a resource, with up to date and firsthand information on how to make the most of your intranet.
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?