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Collaboration Intranets Uncategorised

Work from Home with your Intranet

This past winter hit many areas quite hard with snow, freezing ice, and even frost quakes! On top of all the other issues with a large amount of snow, travel becomes not only difficult, but dangerous.

School closing are common in poor weather, but not every office or business can do so. The loss of productivity to some companies can have a large impact during weather emergencies. Approximately $1 billion per winter season is lost due to snowstorms. With record snowfalls and other extreme weather being seen in several parts of the country, all companies need to be prepared. Allowing users to work remotely from home, during these times, is a great solution.

Your Intranet, and secure external access to it, will allow your employees to be productive, but stay safe at the same time. Here’s some ways your Intranet can be used to make working remotely from home easy.

Make Announcements and Set Expectations

Your Intranet will be valuable from the start with notifying your employees of any office closures, traffic warnings for commute and to know who is in or out of the office.

Notifications and Memos can be sent out through Noodle to send E-mails and/or Instant Messages to the users in the system for immediate attention.

An announcement can be added to the main page to provide news and updates as well as links for resources, such as your Adverse Weather Policy document. Or, if your site is locally hosted and requires a Remote/VPN connection to access, a Page with instructions on how to connect.

Calendars are also a good idea to display any notices ahead of time, or scheduled early leaves. Users that are publishing their Noodle calendar to their personal calendar, will also receive these updates.

Employees can also easily notify their Manager of their absence and communicate a plan using the Instant Messenger or Conference Rooms.

Use “My Profile” as your Digital Workspace

The My Profile application, allows you to not only share information about yourself, but also to use for your own tools and resources.

The Portlet tab allows you to add and lay out your own portlets, based on the content you want to follow.

If you follow people in your department, you can also see their Status updates and any new activity from them from your “Followers” tab. This helps you keep up to date with co-workers, regardless of where they are.

The “Apps” tab allows you to create and manage your own applications so you can digitally store documents you are working on, keep track of your online calendar, or to keep track of your task list.

Lastly, if you’re not ready to publish your post on the site, you can save your post under the “Drafs” tab so you can work and collaborate on a Page, Document or Post until you are ready to publish the content live.

It’s a great way to keep your important work all in one secure place that you can access through anywhere and on any type of device.

Don’t Miss a Meeting

We are obviously more digitally connected now, more than ever before. This makes things like live face to face meetings, much easier to organize and execute.

We already mentioned Conference Rooms and Instant Messaging, but did you know that (in Chrome and Firefox browsers) you can hold video conferences for up to 5 users at one time? On mobile, you also have the option to hold one on one video chats as well, with no extra software.

There are also the early stages implemented (Firefox only currently) for screen sharing inside of Noodle. Again, just another awesome tool to make it easier to stay connected.

There are many more ways Noodle can be used as your “Work from Home Office” during those nasty blizzards and other Inclement weather. If you are not using Noodle yet,  sign up for a free demonstration today and receive a fully featured 30-day trial.

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New Year, New Intranet

The end of the year brings time to celebrate success and reflect on events. The beginning of the year is a great time to then build off your success and start planning for the new year. Below we review a few ideas for your intranet in 2019 and beyond!

Experiment

There may be a few Noodle features you have not explored or used yet in your site. Maybe you have your own document management tool, so you haven’t explored the possibility with Noodle Folders. Or, if you find yourself answer many questions that others may find useful, try the Questions application. If your Blogs are mainly used for sharing Company News, encourage more blogging by your employees, or give a team their own “Facebook style” wall and status feed.

Another way to incorporate even more new and fun content to your site, is using website widgets. These can be added to the text editor inside of Announcement portlets, Blogs, Pages and more by using the “Source” view. This will allow you to dynamically offer fun things like Picture or Joke of the Day. Tools for things like weather, stock tickers or world clock.  Or you can also embed scripts or widgets of Social Media and RSS feeds.

Experimenting with different tools, in Noodle, helps you get the most value out of your intranet site and promotes more engagement and interactivity from your users.

Set Year-end Goals

The start of a new year is also a good time to set out new goals for your intranet. You can break these down monthly/quarterly, but you should have a clear picture of where you want your intranet to be at years end. You can set targets such as:

  • Increase overall employee engagement by 25%
  • At least one or two blog posts by management, per month
  • Increase average logins per user
  • Build new page for Social Committee and update past events

Pre-Plan seasonal designs

Seasonal designs are certainly not necessary. But they do have the power to easily keep your intranet fresh and current and bring a celebratory mood to your employees. Setting a new banner and color scheme, based on the season or an upcoming holiday, is a quick way to show that their intranet is advancing with them.

By setting a schedule and choosing background and images ahead of time, it’s much easier for your administrators to update the theme of the site.

Improve Search/Organization

Are some Pages or Folders buried inside of other sub-content? Do teams or departments properly have their own space for their own content? This is a good time to review your structure and organization of your applications and content. Taking employee suggestions or creating polls will help you get feedback about how people feel about the structure and how it may be able to be improved.

At the same time, you may want to explore using Tags or Keywords. Above we talked about some features of Noodle you may not have explored, Tags are a powerful, easy to use way to categorize content. The value of Tags are sometimes overlooked and can be a great way to pin popular content to your main pages. Keywords can also help retrieve the most relevant search results, rather than relying on the Title of the content, or using Full-Text search.

Foster New Content Creators

If your employees have been using your intranet for at least a year, it may be a good time to encourage more content from the end-users. This could involve allowing more to post blogs (as we mentioned above) or start discussions, group chats, share photos or helpful videos and much more. This helps drive more fresh content to your site, and promotes better communication and team work amongst employees.

You can also encourage them to use their Profiles to store their own documents and events in Calendar. They can also share information about themselves, as well as follow other user’s profiles.

Remember you can always control what each group or user can see, and who is allowed to post or make changes. Auto-Notifications can also be set up if you want an admin to receive updates of employee created content.

If you would like some help implementing any of these ideas, please contact us for more assistance. If you are not using Noodle yet, sign up for a demonstration now and receive a free 30-day trial of Noodle Intranet.

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Winter Intranet Clean Up

For some organizations, things slow down in the winter and during the holidays. It’s a good idea to take this time as an opportunity to review and refresh your intranet. Cleaning up  old content  or re-organizing things during this time, are great ways to make sure things are fresh and relevant for the new year. Consider some of the steps below to make sure your intranet is ready for 2019.

Archiving/Deleting Old Content

This one seems obvious, but it’s something that happens to many intranets.  Old or irrelevant content kills the engagement of an intranet. Even if your team is sharp at updating and adding new content, the old stuff usually gets left behind.

This can make things hard to find, or risks the user finding out of date information. Using the Analytics, you can see what’s been viewed recently, when things were created and use that to find and remove (or archive) older items.

It’s also a good idea to use Workflows to automate this. If you haven’t already, consider setting this up for the new year.

An “Expiry Timer” can be set for the following applications: Calendars, Database Forms, Document Folders and Blogs.

In the workflow (after the Timer step) you can then choose to either “Move” an item to archive it, or to “Delete” it completely. You can even set up notifications to the creator of the item to let them know that their content will be moved/deleted.

Having fresh and relevant content is the best way to keep engagement high with your intranet.

Intranet Branding

You may have already branded your site for the holidays, which is great to do. But it could also be a good time to review your site’s design to update the look. This can also help with engagement and make things new and exciting to the users.

Consider changing up colors or backgrounds. Create a new top banner or login page. Or maybe even switch the view to the Top Navigation or Side Navigation, depending on your current setting.

A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for increasing engagement and welcoming people back after the holidays.

Get feedback

While things are slower, this could be a good time to gather feedback from your users. Consider holding quick team huddles to see how the intranet has helped them, what could be better and what current problems they may be currently facing that may be solved by the intranet.

You can also use the Database application, in Noodle, to create a form to collect suggestions or feedback, in case the live huddle isn’t an option.

If you haven’t already selected a name for your intranet, you can use this time to have a fun contest for everyone to suggest or vote for a fun name for the intranet.

Remember to take any questions or feedback from your staff and reach out to your Noodle Technical Solutions Consultant for further advice or assistance. We want your intranet to keep helping your organization through 2019 and beyond and are always around to help!

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Uncategorised

Task Manager Reminders

In the most recent Noodle update, “Task Due Reminders” were added to the Task Manager application.

Here is a quick guide on how to set up your Task reminders to make sure deadlines are properly set and met by the user.

Inside of your Task List, click on the “Due Date” Icon  of the Task Card you would like to set a reminder for.

Here, you can select the Due Date and Time.

Then set when you want to be Reminded from the drop down menu and click on “Add Reminder”.

This allows you to set up multiple reminders for a Task as well by repeating the same step for each additional Reminder set.

These reminders will get sent to the person whom the Task is assigned to. You can delete any reminder by clicking on the trash can icon.

Enjoy the updated Task Manager and contact saleshelp@vialect.com for any questions or feedback!

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Uncategorised

Top Intranet Blog Posts for 2018

The Noodle Blog is a very popular destination for intranet managers and collaboration professionals.  We are constantly tracking web stats and have put together the top visited blog posts for 2018.  If you haven’t read them, they are all worth a read.

1. Intranet Content we want to see from HR

2. 10 Intranet Writing Tips

3. 7 Elements of an Intranet Governance Policy

4. Cost of an Intranet

5. 25 Ways to use Wikis in your Intranet

 

 

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Collaboration Uncategorised

Using Workflows with Intranet Blogs

There are many uses for Workflows in intranet blogs. Previously, Noodle only had Workflow steps available for Documents, Database Forms and Calendars. In our newest upgrade, Workflows have been added to Blogs. This provides more options and flexibility with your Blogs. In this article, let’s review some ways you can use Workflows for your Blog posts.

First let’s cover Workflows in general. Workflows allow you to program steps and actions inside of an application/folder to automatically process certain actions on the site. This may include moving/deleting items, notifying Groups or Users, setting an Expiry Timer, or building an Approval chain. When an item is added or modified it will trigger the Workflow steps and go in order based on the requirements/purpose of each step.

For Blogs, this opens up many possibilities. Continue reading below to see just a few examples of how Workflows can be used with your Blogs.

Automatically Delete/Archive Older Blog Posts

No matter if you use your Blogs for company news, sharing industry articles, or posting about community events, they will quickly add up. Using Workflows will allow you to program Timers to automatically delete or move a Post once it expires. This gives helps make maintaining your intranet easier as old or outdated content is cleaned up without any manual intervention.

For a Blog post, you can notify Groups about the new content and then allow the Timer to do the rest, even notify the Creator of the post that their content is being deleted/archives. These dynamic notifications expand on the previous single option of Auto-Notifications.

Publishing Approval

Sometimes, Access Rights may not be enough, or may not fit your situation. You may want employees to have the freedom to post and share, but still have some control over what gets added. This is where you can build a Publishing Approval Workflow.

This would allow you to notify a Manager (or any other admin) to Approve/Disapprove a Blog entry for posting.

You an accomplish this with the new Workflow Tool and by using a separate Blog that only the people allowed to Post have access to.

Once the person Approves the content, it can automatically move it to a public Blog app that has “Read” access for everyone. While the former Blog app is kept as a “Draft/Pre-Post” area. If it’s disapproved, it can also automatically let the Creator of the post know that their articles was disapproved.

Read Receipts/Acknowledgement

Another common request we get is for when Managers/Admins want an employee to acknowledge they have “Read” something. Blog have always had a “Read/Un-Read” option, but now they can be tied into a Workflow.

Using the Timer step we discussed above, the Workflow can wait a certain amount of time after posting the content. Employees are instructed to mark the post as “Read” when they have completed viewing it. Anyone who doesn’t mark the post as “Read” before that Timer expires, would get a “Reminder” email to read and acknowledge the post.

This can be a powerful way to not only track compliance, but to encourage use and engagement on your intranet site.

So Many Possibilities

The amount of options and possible combinations of our Workflow Steps and Actions are vast. These are just 3 common examples that have been used, but there’s much more you can do. Your consultant can help you navigate through the Workflow options and help you build any process that may be required for your organization.

We encourage you to contact us with any inquiries/questions or reach out to your Technical Solutions Consultant for any assistance with this new feature in Blogs. If you haven’t tried Noodle yet, now is a great time to schedule a Demonstration and have us walk you through the Workflows and the many other tools and features Noodle has to offer!

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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.

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Intranet Software Pre-Launch Intranet Software Research

Intranet Planning & Deployment Guide

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.

Our team has prepared a “Noodle Deployment & Planning Guide” to assist you with the entire process.

This guide will help you with the following steps in your Intranet planning journey:

STEP 1: DETERMINE YOUR COMPANY NOODLE STRUCTURE

STEP 2: DETERMINE THE OWNERSHIP OF SECTIONS AND APPLICATIONS

STEP 3: ADD USERS/CREATE GROUPS/ASSIGN RIGHTS

STEP 4: DETERMINE THE INFORMATION TO BE UPLOADED TO NOODLE

STEP 5: POPULATE WITH CONTENT

STEP 6: TRAIN NOODLE END USERS

STEP 7: HAVE USERS SIGN A NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT

STEP 8: LAUNCH EVENT

STEP 9: MAKE NOODLE STICKY

If you are looking for a new intranet, this is a good start. The next step would be to Contact Us for more information on how we can help you or to Request a Demonstration of Noodle.

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Intranets

Why You Should Store Your Intranet Data Off-Site

In a world full of natural disasters, computer viruses and human error, it’s crucial to protect your intranet data. You need to have a reliable method of hosting your Intranet site data and backups. Just last year (during the storms in Florida) a popular casino application was down for hours. What they learned was that it was risky hosting and storing their most important information in an area prone to hurricanes and other natural disasters. Soon after the loss, they switched to off-site hosting/backup to mitigate the chances of another such type of loss.

There are several benefits to hosting your intranet site in the Cloud as opposed to On-Premise, as we explored in a previous blog.

However, it’s important to review other reasons why hosting your intranet off-site is beneficial. Ensuring your systems are safe and secure and that your backups are protected from different physical forces.

 

Benefits of Off-Site Hosting

It’s first important to note that it’s crowded to store your own servers, on-site. They require a lot of space in your office to store. On top of protecting against natural disasters, using an Off-Site Data Centre also provides Fire Protection that most On-Site Centers have not implemented. One manufacturing client had a fire break out in their kitchen which led to an explosion in the plant and resulted in a total loss of the data center.

It can also be lower expenses by reducing energy and IT costs. You are not using your own resources to set up, maintain or repair the servers. It also makes your data more mobile, and able to access or recover from anywhere. This makes it easier to address issues even when you are outside of your network. Eliminating tape backups also helps reduce unnecessary costs that can be spread to other needs in the organization.

Off-Site centres are also very reliable. They provide automated daily backups and no hassle to the client. You are able to reduce your down time and lost productivity by being able to instantly recover your data.

On-Site Data Hosting requires more resources from IT, your real estate, energy and can be very expensive. While one of the only cons of Off-Site hosting is the fear of the unknown. This is understandable considering the amount of private and sensitive information that is typically shared in company Intranets. Which is often the repository for all your HR information and policies. However, once you review the benefits of hosting Off-Site, you will see that it’s easier, cheaper and keeps your data even more protected.

What to choose?

There are still many variables when deciding on a hosting method for your intranet. From costs, to security to customizations. Ultimately, it’s important to review all pros and cons for each hosting method. Then review and consider which one would best fit your business needs.

Let us guide you through this step by contacting us with your questions or by scheduling a Live Demonstration to discuss with one of our Intranet Experts!

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Collaboration Intranets Noodle Software Social Intranets Uncategorised

New Spring Update from Noodle

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.

Theme Adjustments

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.