A typical intranet serves many departments, tasks, and business goals. Ideally, your intranet will make that complexity seem simple for end-users. But not every intranet meets this ideal standard. So how can you identify the most common intranet issues? And when is it time for an intranet redesign?
Below are some of the intranet challenges we solve for clients. After 30 years of intranet development services, we’ve seen these issues time and time again.
1. Change in use
No two intranets are alike. That goes for intranets in different companies, but it also applies to the same intranet over time. Especially in today’s fast-moving economy, it’s likely your intranet will need a regular refresh.
Solution: measure change
The first step in keeping your intranet up-to-date is understanding your audiences. You can break this down by departments, offices, regions, or operations.
Then look at usage: how are the various audiences using different communications, applications, and tools within your intranet? It’s useful at this stage to survey users, interview management, and hold focus groups. This will help you understand what your users need more and less of from the intranet.
Finally, it’s time for a content audit. This means assessing how well content has been grouped, categorised, and tagged. If content isn’t being assigned the right metadata, it’s important to update users on the process.
2. Usability intranet issues
As your intranet evolves over time, the interface can grow more complex than originally intended. Good planning can simplify that complexity.
Lack of planning, however, can force users to click ten times to navigate between pages. If employees can’t quickly find the information they need, your intranet isn’t serving its purpose.
Solution: analyse usage
You can analyse intranet use in two ways: with subjective feedback and objective usage data. First survey staff to find out how they use the intranet, what helps them, and what could be improved. You can then use heatmap technology to see where users are clicking. This will help you find the “path of least resistance” for users.
3. Merger, acquisition, or divestiture
When a company changes hands, it’s crucial to get everyone working harmoniously from the start. That often requires an intranet redesign for both functionality and branding.
Solution: content migration
Migration itself is usually the simplest part of moving to a new intranet. But without a thorough content audit and migration plan beforehand, your migration is unlikely to meet expectations. You’ll need a detailed inventory of pre-existing content, including:
- custom applications
- types of content
- site columns
- user alerts
- users and groups
- large lists or libraries
- UI customisations
A good intranet consultancy will use the results of this audit to recommend the best migration approach.
4. Business transformation
Perhaps your strategic vision has changed. Or maybe you’ve added new products or services. Either way, your business has transformed — and your intranet must adapt to stay relevant.
Solution: goal-oriented redesign
The method here is to map your new business goals to the functionality that will support them. You can then decide how much change is needed in your current intranet.
It could be you need new workflows, for example, or to integrate data from different sources. You’ll save time and money by getting assistance from an experienced intranet solutions provider.
5. New technology
There are two ways to get more value from your intranet. One is by cutting the cost of the technology itself. The other is by making the intranet more effective for employees.
These two motivations are also the drivers of adopting new intranet technologies. Moving to the cloud, for example, brings cost savings compared with on-premise servers. And upgrading to the latest SharePoint version brings you new features that make work more productive.
Solution: upgrade or migration
If you need to stay on-premises, then you’ll have to upgrade your intranet every few years. Migrating to a cloud solution like SharePoint Online brings the advantage of automatic updates.
6. Company rebranding
Your intranet is your company’s internal face. So if your website is all sleek curves and slick animations, then your intranet shouldn’t be stuck in the 90s. In brief, the intranet should make employees feel positive about the company. The interface should also reflect the latest version of your company’s logo, colour palette, and so on.
Solution: visual redesign
7. New security needs
Data protection rules are growing stricter. Meeting GDPR data laws requires granular control over customer information. Then of course there are industry-specific security regulations to follow as well.
Solution: security audit
An intranet security audit will start by looking at your security policy, user permissions, and network structure. From there, the audit will analyse areas such as:
- data protection compliance
- encryption and authentication
- server hardware and software defences
- user password security practices
- content publishing and management
- intranet firewall settings
- remote access and VPN usage
Our experience in intranet redesign
The developers and support teams at Influential Software have decades of intranet expertise. So if you have any of the intranet issues outlined above, we’re qualified to help. Take a look at our recent intranet redesign projects: