6 Steps to Setting Up Your Intranet

An intranet is a portal that facilitates communication and collaboration within an organisation. The aim of an intranet is to improve communication and productivity by giving employees access to company news, resources, documents, and tools in a secure and controlled environment.

Intranets offer several advantages to organisations, including improved internal communication, increased sharing of knowledge, and streamlined processes. However, to realise these benefits, it is crucial to have a well-structured intranet that meets the needs of the organisation and its employees.

The process of setting up your intranet may seem intimidating, but it can be accomplished by considering the points below. In this overview, we cover:

  • Defining your intranet goals and requirements
  • Choosing the right intranet platform
  • Designing and structuring your intranet
  • Populating and managing content
  • Launching, promoting, and evaluating your intranet
  • Maintaining your intranet

1. Defining your intranet goals and requirements

When creating an intranet for an organisation, we start by evaluating your needs and objectives. This assessment should include consulting with internal stakeholders, such as senior management, departmental leaders, and employees (AKA the people who will be using the system every day) to ensure that all viewpoints are considered.

After identifying these points, the next step is to establish the desired features and functionalities of the intranet. This requires identifying the specific tools and functions that will assist the organisation in achieving its objectives, such as document management, collaboration tools, and communication channels. It is essential to consider not only the current requirements of the organisation, but also its future needs and potential for growth, to guarantee that the intranet will continue to meet the organisation’s needs over time.

Lastly, it is important to identify key stakeholders and potential authors and owners of the features within the intranet. By involving all pertinent parties in the development and implementation of the intranet, organisations can guarantee that the intranet optimises workplace functions and offers maximum value to the organisation as a whole.

A man in a blue flannel lays out sticky notes on a white desk, each with some text written.

2. Choosing the right platform

Every intranet platform comes with unique features and benefits. This can make it challenging for organisations to choose the right one. 

As a team of Microsoft 365 experts, we find SharePoint to be one of the most advanced and user-friendly intranet platforms on the market. If you’re already using 365, SharePoint should be your first port of call. It seamlessly connects with your existing Microsoft Office Suite, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and the entire Office 365 family of products. 

When you’re deciding which intranet platform is right for you, consider the following factors:

  • Scalability

Organisations need to consider whether the platform can grow with them and whether it can handle the amount of data and users they require.

  • Integrations

The platform should integrate with other tools and applications that the organisation uses, such as CRM systems, project management tools, and HR and collaboration tools.

  • Cost

Organisations need to consider their budget and whether the platform’s features justify its cost. You also need to consider the costs to implement, as this could greatly impact your budget if you choose the wrong tool.

  • User experience and mobile accessibility

The platform should be intuitive and easy to use, allowing employees to quickly find the information they need. It should also be mobile-friendly, allowing employees to access the platform from any device, including smartphones and tablets. This is especially important for organisations with remote workers or those who need to access information while on the go.

3. Design and Structure

When building an intranet, it is essential to create an intuitive navigation and information architecture. This involves organising content in a logical and user-friendly manner, so that employees can quickly find the information they need. An intuitive navigation system should be easy to use, with clearly labelled categories and subcategories. It should also be consistent across all pages, ensuring that employees can navigate the intranet with ease. A well-designed information architecture can help to improve productivity and efficiency, as employees can quickly find the information they need to do their jobs. 

The design of the intranet should align with the organisation’s branding, creating a sense of continuity and familiarity for employees. Customising the design helps to create a sense of ownership and pride among employees, and can help to increase employee engagement and promote a sense of loyalty to the organisation. 

In addition to navigation and design, implementing search functionality and tagging systems is vital for any intranet platform. A search function enables employees to quickly find the information they need, even if they are not sure where it is located on the intranet. A tagging system can help to organise content and make it easier to find. By establishing relevant metadata from the get-go, employees can quickly locate the information they need without having to navigate through multiple pages or categories.

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4. Populating and managing content

Establishing content guidelines and templates is an important aspect of creating a successful intranet. Content guidelines help to ensure that the intranet is consistent in terms of voice, tone, and style, which can help to create a professional and polished image for the organisation. 

Developing a content management strategy involves establishing roles, workflows, and version control to guarantee that the intranet’s content is managed effectively. Roles should be defined to ensure that there is clear accountability for content creation, editing and publishing. Workflows should be established to ensure that content is reviewed and approved before it is published. Version control is also important, as it allows employees to track changes to documents over time and ensure that the most up-to-date version of a document is being used.

5. Launch - Promote - Evaluate

A launch plan should include key milestones and deadlines, as well as strategies for promoting the intranet to employees.

Communicating the intranet’s benefits and features to users is closely tied to the success of the platform. Employees need to understand why the intranet is being implemented and how it can help them in their work. Communications should be clear, concise, and tailored to the audience, highlighting the key benefits and features of the intranet. Providing training and support materials can also help employees to become familiar with the platform and encourage adoption.

Monitoring user engagement, feedback, and performance metrics is how you’ll evaluate how successful your intranet is. User engagement can be measured through metrics such as page views, document downloads, and searches performed. Feedback can be collected through surveys or focus groups, and can provide valuable insights into areas where improvements can be made. Performance metrics such as page load times and search performance can also be monitored to ensure that the platform is functioning optimally.

6. Maintain

Intranet longevity doesn’t stop once the intranet is launched. Continual refinement and improvement based on user feedback and evolving needs is crucial to ensure that the intranet remains relevant and useful to employees. By regularly monitoring and evaluating the intranet’s performance and user engagement, organisations can identify areas for improvement. You can implement changes based on these needs to ensure that the platform continues to support your company as you grow.

At Propelle, work closely with organisations from all industries to create SharePoint intranets that are both easy to use and brimming with useful features. So, let’s work together to make it happen!