The Interactive Intranet is an Enterprise-wide web application which provides the underlying web based support to employees across the organisation. It is the digital manifestation of the business and should form the strategic backbone of everything the organisation does.
In order to ensure that the Interactive Intranet delivers on the organisation’s key business goals and strategies, there are some considerations for the business scoping of the Intranet.
The Interactive Intranet should be configured in the same way as the organisation in order to deliver on the same business objectives.
Interactive Intranets extend beyond the boundaries of the traditional Internet with its content around the organisation, policies and procedures, employee ordering, general communication forums.
Great Interactive Intranets are also structured in a portal format that supports the unique organisational design of the enterprise, whether it is functional teams, matrixed reporting, teams, divisional structures etc. The related information, documentation, tools and applications for each function, reporting team, division related information and workflow are incorporated within these portals. For example, booking IT training in the IT portal, leave management on the HR Portal, cross divisional product development tools in the product teams.
It used to be that internal communication was centralised and hierarchical and from the desk of the CEO.
Modern web based communication is highly customised in order to ensure that it is relevant to each audience and doesn’t result in communication fatigue. This is achieved through audience segmentation.
The employees can be segmented in a variety of different ways, by role, EXCO, Frontline, or by seniority, manager, supervisor, labourer or by function, marketing, HR IT, or by focus, product development, debt collection etc. The optimal segmentation is determined by the organisational requirements.
Each portal manager is responsible for his communication across the organisation. This can be managed using a series of wiki’s, blogs and instant messaging, for example when communicating software upgrades or changes in policies, or sharing the new corporate image guidelines.
Environmental Scanning as a function of creating competitive advantage
Employees need to be able to find sector specific news through RSS feeds, company news as well as industry trends and other useful information on the relevant Intranet portal. The employee needs to be able to “share” and comment on all relevant information with the right individuals on the Intranet. For example, if an industry trend is identified in employee wellness, the HR team should be able to “share” this and their views on it with the Line of Business managers and other HR teams across the organisation.
Collaboration and Knowledge Management
Interactive Intranets are more than “Facebook for Business”, they can be used to manage projects on wiki’s, collaborate on client service and capture the implicit knowledge of the employees through the conversations they have on-line.
Collaboration hinges on an environment that is motivating and inspiring and where people work together to help one another succeed. A key trait of high performing organisations is shared power and high involvement where participation, collaboration, and teamwork are the way of life. This is facilitated through open dialogue and project collaboration using wiki’s RSS feeds and blogs on the Intranet.
Employees must be encouraged to join collaboration forums where they share ideas, documents and knowledge around each project.
As far as the employees go, they each need an individual personalised profile, with both public and private sections.
On the public portion of the employee’s profile, the organisation should be able to see the employee’s contact details, skills, experience, projects, awards, education etc. This will help source internal skills more easily throughout the organisation, and enable employees to build their personal brand within the organisation.
On the private portion of the profile, personalised dashboards can be used to link the work that employees are doing to the macro-strategic position of the organisation in a very visual way. The vision of the organisation should be made explicit using tools such as the Balanced Scorecard, and the individual’s key performance areas linked to the organisational scorecard and visualised on the employees’ personal profiles.
Employees should also be able to manage their leave, pension and medical aid options through shared spaces with the HR or Finance division, depending how the organisation is configured.
A word of Caution
When building Enterprisewide Interactive Intranets, it is wise to question both the existing organisational design and the existing processes and workflow. If these are not conducive to delivering on the organisational strategy, then an Interactive Intranet will exacerbate the problem. At Digital Bridges we recommend that the Intranet form part of a larger strategic initiative which reviews the organisation’s direction, destination and how it is going to get there.
The Interactive Intranet is the perfect opportunity to connect with the job, the organisation and the employees, to gain commitment and grow the organisation. It needs to become a strategic asset to the organisation, because it is a key component to the modern organisation’s success.
About Digital Bridges
Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication.
Digital Bridges is technology agnostic and partners with great technology companies in order to ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose and deliver on organisational strategy.
Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia. Her skills include innovation and growth through marketing, communication, collaboration, knowledge management, human capital, performance management, process engineering and BI.
Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.
To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on firstname.lastname@example.org.