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Intranets Social Intranets

Does Your Intranet Need Some Tutoring?

If you’re reading this, you may already have an intranet in place. You spent hours researching different products. Days planning and brainstorming what you want to achieve with your intranet project. Weeks implementing and setting up your new wonder of knowledge sharing. You may have had a successful roll out and received positive feedback from it’s users.

Now you’re most likely past these growing stages and wondering to yourself, is my intranet creating the culture I envisioned? Is it still intuitive and easy to find things since adding more content over time? Have contributions dropped? Is it still achieving it’s end goal as being a resourceful user experience?

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If you’ve asked yourself any of these questions, it might be time to step back and grade your company intranet. This can help you identify what areas are working, and which aren’t. Let’s look at different categories to help assign a grade for your intranet and see if it requires some after class tutoring with Noodle Intranet.

Design/Structure

We are putting this first because it’s probably the first thing you think about when you open your intranet homepage. The look and layout it what stands out and what we primarily notice. An intranet is not a forum to market or advertise your product to the general public.

Although your layout should be sleek and easy on the eyes, it doesn’t need to be bogged down with fancy designs and stock photos of people who you’ve never seen in your office before. Instead the different tools and areas should be easy to navigate through. The content should provide news or resources to help you get your work done. No need for unnecessary information you can find on your public website to try to sell your product or service. Dock marks if your intranet is slow to load due to too much “noise” (large pictures or embedded videos, plugin loading etc.) Give bonus marks if you can also customize and change the look for use on mobile devices.

Tools

Of course you need tools and applications to easily add functionality to your intranet. This area completely depends on your company’s needs and goals. Does your intranet provide a wide list of applications and tools to use in your intranet, while allowing to customize and only add the tools your need? Is your intranet a complete out of the box solution, or do you require IT knowledge to get 3rd party programs and plugins to “integrate” and play nice together? Most intranets are going to have similar tools and functions, give a higher grade if your intranet’s suite of apps and tools are easy to use and customize based on your needs. Most importantly, are the tools available helping you get things done more efficiently?

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Administrative Experience

After all our planning and research, we finally chose an intranet provider for our office. Now we can sit back and enjoy our coffee. That’s an ideal situation isn’t it? Once you have planned your intranet and chosen a provider, such as Noodle, now you need to build your content and add your users. Whether it’s hosted on your premises, in the cloud, or a hybrid of the two, it must be easily manageable.

Do you need a dedicated IT person to build and administer the site, or can it be done by a HR Manager with little to no technical experience? Is it easy to sync users with your active directory or intuitive to add new users? Outside of setting up and updating the intranet, who can see what and contribute to what is one of the biggest challenges of any intranet administrator. You want/need some control of your pages, but also want to encourage employee collaboration and social aspects. Can you customize this on a group level, user level or application level? You will have more success in the long run if it’s a positive experience for those moderating the content and tools.

End User Experience

This area may the most important in the long run. What is important to your end users when they log onto your intranet? They want to find documents, collaborate with peers, find out what’s going on in the company, and of course getting their work done. We should look at the intranet as a community. You provide the resources for the community, but are the members involved and working together?

If you can track the analytics of your intranet and see that users are not only logging in, but also contributing to the content, give some bonus marks. Your intranet is not performing well if your employees are not using it, simple as that. Keep in mind, however if users are spending too much time on it, this also might not be good. This may mean they are having difficulty finding things, or the tools they are using are more complicated for the average user. Employees should be able to find what they are looking for and spending more of their time getting their work done.

Product Support

Probably the most underrated and least talked about area in our world of social collaboration in the workplace. Intranet providers always talk about their features and tools. As budget conscience business people, we are concerned about price. These are both important to making a proper decision for your intranet, but initial and ongoing support is huge as well.

Your provider may or may not have assisted with installing and setting up your intranet. Do they offer ongoing support for both technical and how-to issues? Do they provide training for new staff or new administrators? Is the support free, or do you pay a reasonable fee? Are you going to speak to someone from within the company, or an outsourced call centre? How fast is the support response time? Are the support agents friendly and helpful? This is probably not something you have put much focus into unless you had a negative experience. Are you getting the level of support you expect from your intranet provider?

Now that you have looked at the different areas and evaluated their performance. It’s time to grade the paper.

Now take that final score and give yourself a final grade.

0-1 = F
1.1-2 = D
2.1-3 = C
3.1-4 = B
4.1-5 = A

If your final grade is below a B (under 3.1 average score) then it may be time for some tutoring for your intranet from Noodle. Talk to a Noodle Intranet expert to get advice on how to improve productivity, communication and collaboration in your workplace. We’d be happy to give a free “Tutoring Session” and show you how Noodle can be your intranet solution for years to come.