Innovations in the Digital Workplace
Across the enterprise, no single software application dominates. In most organizations, there will be literally hundreds of applications in daily use by staff. In fact, according to a survey by RightScale, with newer technologies – like cloud-based applications – a typical company will use an average of six services in its daily dealings.
Each application will come with a different set of issues for staff at every level. These will range from the nomenclature used, the way in which apps are utilized, the platform they run on, and perhaps most importantly, the area(s) of specialization each software instance covers.
While older technologies such as email are ubiquitous, their purpose is often quite different from the way we all try to use them today. Emails are a good example: designed as a simple messaging system for academic staff, they are now expected to seamlessly carry rich content to huge groups of recipients.
Therefore, organizations are rightly moving towards newer software systems that are specifically designed to address modern business practices. By using effective intranet applications, enterprise can achieve unheard-of levels of efficiency gains, staff empowerment, data manipulation, and information retrieval & sharing.
No intranet software producer would claim that their offering can be used right across every type of enterprise, in every department! A good intranet implementation will allow integration of entrenched specialist systems such as Payroll, HR, and ERM. The best intranets present specialist information from these sources in ways, and on platforms, that users are familiar with.
The challenge of any overarching application, such as an intranet implementation, is allowing the disparate needs of the various parts of the enterprise to be met as effectively as possible. While each division and department will have its own requirements for the software, there are three strands that unify every field:
- Set tasks clearly
- Communicate effectively
- Collaborate seamlessly
When sourcing an intranet solution for your organization, it is the interconnectivity produced by the addressing of the above three needs that will make the difference.
On a final point, it might seem trite, but a positive end-user experience is absolutely key in the successful implementation of an intranet, a fact reflected in changing developer priorities. According to a survey by usertesting.com, taken among the IT community, “For the fourth year in a row, the majority of our survey respondents reported that their [UX] testing frequency has increased moderately or significantly.”
Here are three leading suppliers of intranet systems you may wish to consider:
INTRANET DASHBOARD (iD)
Intranet DASHBOARD (iD) positions itself as an ‘all in one digital workplace’ that enables all employees to do their work using a single platform. It is an out-of-the-box solution that facilitates operations, communication and collaboration via its inbuilt document management, Enterprise Social Network, process automation, online forms and staff directory features.
iD is unique because all of these tools are interconnected and configurable via drag & drop functionality; ensuring the platform is easy to use, yet intrinsically powerful.
iD’s Enterprise Social Network allows all users to work centrally and collaboratively. Files, comments and different data types can be assigned a #Channel, which pushes information to relevant contacts right across the enterprise, and encourages collaboration and increases in productivity. Use of @Mentions removes the need for email or third-party messaging apps.
Intranet DASHBOARD’s pedigree is first rate: current users include Mundipharma, Mitsubishi Electric, Audi and Shell.
The system is very user-friendly, but its simplicity belies its power and malleability. While iD supply the complete system out-of-the-box (and can tailor a bespoke installation), each organization can simply switch features on or off to meet their requirements. Integration of legacy systems is via a fully-supported API, and importantly, these systems will be addressed by users via the same interface as the rest of Intranet DASHBOARD. Read their full profile…
Intranet Connections (IC) is a product that sets itself apart as a clear alternative to SharePoint, citing the technical burden and perceived lack of support from the Microsoft behemoth as reasons for the switch.
While no solution advertises itself as a one-size-fits all, IC is keen to cover several industries specifically within its marketing focus, quoting its product as a good fit for financial and healthcare sectors, as well as ‘general industries‘ (such as education, public sector, government, non-profits, professional services etc.).
Intranet Connections is not offered as a hosted product (in truth, most larger enterprises will want to host in-house), and there is one price that includes all the application’s features. For an extra 20 percent of the cost, businesses will get upgrades, deployment assistance and, brand-new features as and when they appear.
Features on offer include intranet page building through two user-centric interfaces (‘Simple Design Builder’ and ‘Advanced Design Editor’) and a simple HTML editor for coders. HR departments will embrace the ability to ‘on-board’ new employees and organize training, e-learning and simple survey creation.
Like all products on offer, social communications are encouraged across organizations as well as on a personal level, so users will use the same interface paradigms to get updates from the CEO or even to swap recipes!
Advanced document management comes as standard, making the intranet a single port-of-call for most employee data interactions; this feature includes versioning and privilege levels to allow specific access to different data silos.
Interact Intranet firmly positions itself as a solution that is a time-, and therefore resource-, saving device. The company has properly identified that often, staff are engaged in activities that can be more efficiently executed through the use of tech.
Everyday document management, online forms and workflow management are covered, as you’d expect, but granular permission control and Active Directory integration will attract systems administrators’ attention.
Interact’s team functions allow the easy build of user groups, which can be departmentally or cross-departmentally based – working groups, for instance, as well as social groups or even staff hobby hubs.
There’s also more than a nod to the social media that has become ubiquitous to all users, with the concept of timelines built-in to many areas of the software. Users will, therefore, be able to approach Interact with some familiarity, which should lessen the burden of embedding and general staff induction.
Interact comes with a four-tier pricing structure, with the higher three levels aimed at the enterprise (Interact Basic is for 100 users or fewer). Interact Pro and Interact Enterprise are both hosted solutions, with the latter having additional features and a higher level of support. Interact On-Premise is the bespoke option that some businesses may favor, and pricing will therefore depend on more specific requirements.
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