Intranets have traditionally taken a top-down, prescriptive approach: updates — usually intermittent — are made by just a few staff and only involve content deemed relevant by senior managers. No wonder employees often don’t bother to visit them.
Yet done well, intranets can play a valuable role in encouraging interaction, enabling collaboration and fostering a culture of innovation. But today’s employees — more than half of whom are Millennials who barely remember life before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp, and who would be lost without their smartphones — demand a different kind of business social intranet. One that can:
- support a mobile workforce who are using smartphones and tablets as well as laptops and desktops
- provide a personalised news feed that delivers relevant, timely content on-demand
- allow anyone to share information, as well as update and comment on existing content, as quickly and easily as posting something on social media
- enable users to easily find relevant content and people, searching across all the content in your organisation while ensuring content is only visible to authorised users
For Hackney Community College, creating this kind of social intranet was a key component in its ambitious new IT strategy. The College had been very frustrated with the complexity of updating its previous outsourced intranet and the associated third party costs. With Google Sites, the college is now able to maintain its intranet itself. Sections and pages can be updated by staff themselves, with page level access and security built in. Having a self-service intranet powered by Google Sites has made the College much more agile and dynamic and also saved significant costs.
Included as standard in your G Suite licence, Google Sites lets people without web development skills quickly create and maintain professional-looking branded intranets for authorised users. Linked content — such as policy documents, project specifications or background materials — is securely stored in Drive and users will always be shown the latest version of a document. It’s also easy to keep rapidly changing information like schedules automatically updated, by linking to a master copy in Sheets; whenever the source data is updated, the linked content is immediately updated.
For Veolia, the world leader in waste, water and energy management services, with 170,000 employees in 50 countries, the challenge was even greater. It wanted to create a single entry point that would give users easy access to their Google working environment and let them find line-of-business apps as well as documents and relevant content in their own language.
Using LumApps, the only recommended intranet for G Suite, Veolia created a Homesite that not only gives users access to G Suite but lets them bookmark favourite business apps, subscribe to relevant news feeds and resources, see top-down information published by Headquarters and immediately share information with colleagues with a few clicks.
To find out more about how your company can use Google Sites and LumApps to create a social intranet that supports communication, collaboration and innovation, read about the work we did for Hackney Community College or come and talk to the experts in our G Suite team.
Article updated January 2020
First published December 2016