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How Custom Intranets Drive Digital Transformation

By Angelo Z


Imagine this: a bustling office where every task, conversation, and piece of data flows seamlessly through a digital ecosystem. It's not just a vision of the future; it's the present reality. In the relentless march of progress, digital transformation has emerged as the linchpin of success for businesses across the globe.

The days when companies could afford to treat technology as an optional add-on are long gone. It's the difference between thriving and stagnating, between innovation and inertia. Amid this transformational whirlwind, one tool has risen to the forefront as a guiding star for companies looking to navigate the digital age: the custom intranet. Imagine it as a tailor-made suit for your business, designed to fit your unique needs.

In this article, we'll explore how custom-developed intranets drive digital transformation in companies with streamlined communication, data accessibility, process automation, and more. Let’s get started.

UNDERSTANDING DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all aspects of a business, fundamentally changing how it operates and delivers value to customers. Reimagining processes, automating tasks, and leveraging data and insights to make informed decisions are all part of it. At its heart, digital transformation is about increasing efficiency, innovation, and competitiveness.

THE ROLE OF CUSTOM INTRANETS

A custom-built intranet system is a web-based application that a web development company designs and builds to meet the specific needs and goals of a business. An intranet system is typically only available to the employees of the company it was built for, and it allows employees to collaborate, communicate, and access information and resources within the organisation. It can also integrate with other software and tools that the business uses, such as content management systems, document management systems, and project management tools.

INTRANETS IN THE EARLY DAYS OF THE INTERNET TO THE PRESENT

Intranets today have come a long way since the early nineties, when the World Wide Web emerged. The rise of the internet enables businesses to create internal portals and websites like Enterprise Information Portals or Corporate Information Retrieval Systems. These early intranets were basic and static, offering access to essential company news and information. By the end of the decade, intranets had begun to feature basic document management and messaging capabilities for employees.

When the 2000s hit, intranets evolved to include improved communication and collaboration tools with features like help desks to lighten the load on HR and IT departments by allowing employees to submit tickets for tech issues or apply for leave. Intranets introduced more advanced search capabilities, which made finding information more efficient and much faster. In this decade, intranets also shifted from local software to web-based access and expanded their functionality. In the 2010s, the focus moved towards social media culture. Intranet providers realised the value of these tools and integrated social functions such as blogging, wikis, and discussion forums. Intranets, once primarily for top-down communication, have transformed into employee-centric hubs for conversations and engagement. They gradually evolved to align with a company's brand identity, which enhanced the user experience and appearance. This era also saw the advancement of document management with cloud-based integrations as well as the introduction of collaboration features such as intranet communities, which created virtual spaces for teams and colleagues to collaborate and exchange ideas.

So, where are we today with intranets for businesses that accelerate digital transformation? Today's intranets have evolved significantly to adapt to changing work dynamics. They now offer advanced features focused on enhancing the employee user experience, personalisation, and the integration of artificial intelligence (AI). These features also include the ability to create different roles and permissions for different types of users. Modern intranets offer digital experiences with better design, accessibility, and performance. The social-inspired changes from media platforms continue to shape intranets with dynamic user profiles, features like mentioning, tagging, commenting, and sharing, and real-time activity streams that encourage engagement. Modern intranets accommodate diverse work modes like remote work as a centralised gateway to the digital workplace.

While intranets have made significant progress, it's important to note that not all intranet solutions are the same. At Elemental, we’re great at designing and developing custom intranets for all kinds of businesses. We highly recommend doing our discovery process to find out exactly what you need for the development of your custom intranet.

WAYS IN WHICH INTRANETS DRIVE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

A custom-built intranet system can offer many benefits for businesses, such as:

1. STEAMLINING COMMUNICATION

Effective communication is the linchpin of any successful digital transformation initiative, and a custom intranet serves as the central platform enabling this crucial element. It provides a unified space where employees can exchange ideas and stay abreast of company news in real time. This fosters a culture of transparency and innovation as employees engage in meaningful conversation. By offering timely updates and a space for open communication, intranets enhance trust, reduce misunderstandings, and motivate employees to actively contribute to the organisation's growth and transformation. This increased communication also results in the business being able to move quickly and be more efficient in their workflow.

2. PROCESS AUTOMATION

Custom intranets play a pivotal role in streamlining business operations by automating routine tasks and workflows. By digitising and automating these processes, organisations can significantly enhance efficiency while reducing the risk of errors. This not only allows staff members to dedicate more time and energy to strategic activities that drive innovation and growth but also serves as a catalyst for the broader digital transformation journey. With custom intranets, businesses are better equipped to adapt to the evolving demands of the digital age, ultimately becoming more agile and future-ready.

3. DATA ACCESSIBILITY AND INSIGHTS

Intranets serve as the conduit through which this data flows, integrating with diverse data sources to provide employees with not only access to essential information but also comprehensive analytics dashboards.

Dashboards empower users by providing real-time, visually informative data for faster decision-making; improve efficiency and productivity by automating data processing; provide real-time performance monitoring; increase user engagement with interactive visuals; and are always accessible via web browsers that require no special software.

4. EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

Employee engagement is critical for employee retention and business success, yet it poses a challenge for leaders. Intranets help address this challenge by integrating pulse surveys to gauge employee sentiment and offer valuable insights. They also boost engagement through forums, blogs, social features, and communication tools, providing employees with a voice and a sense of belonging. Companies can track employee sentiment by keeping an eye on these interactions, identify areas for improvement, and implement changes to increase engagement and satisfaction.

5. ORGANIC KNOWLEDGE SHARING AND REPOSITORY

Intranets serve as a platform where employees can share their expertise and feedback through forums, discussions, comments, and team pages. This knowledge exchange benefits the entire organisation, as employees can access tips, ask questions, and tap into their peers' know-how. Moreover, intranets function as repositories for both organic knowledge sharing and formal information, including training materials, best practices, and documentation. This knowledge hub promotes ongoing learning and development by providing straightforward access via a searchable platform.

6. SCALABILITY AND FLEXIBILITY

Custom intranets, like the ones we specialise in developing, are instrumental in driving digital transformation. These tailored solutions offer a unique advantage by allowing us to incorporate specialised features and functionalities that precisely match the client's requirements. This level of customization ensures the intranet's seamless scalability as the organisation evolves. Whether it's automating critical processes, integrating specialised tools, or creating proprietary modules, custom web development companies possess the expertise to make the intranet a highly adaptable and agile asset.

WRAPPING UP

Custom intranets are the engines behind digital transformation. They serve as dynamic hubs where employees collaborate, innovate, and stay informed in real time. By automating routine tasks, they boost efficiency, freeing up time for strategic endeavours. They elevate employee engagement through interactive features. Additionally, intranets capture and share institutional knowledge, promoting continuous learning.


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Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)


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