Intranet Alternatives: 10 Steps for Replacing a Legacy Intranet

Traditional intranets simply don’t work for modern businesses. This post looks at traditional vs. modern intranets, reasons for replacing an intranet, and the features of a modern intranet. Lastly, discover the steps involved in replacing your existing intranet.

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Employee on a modern intranet with tablet

What are Traditional Intranets and Modern Intranets?

An intranet is a private internet. It is available to a limited number of users, usually employees, and allows them to communicate privately. Users use a secure login process to access company information. In contrast, the internet is a public digital space for connecting people.

 

— Traditional Intranets vs. Modern Intranets

According to a report from Gartner, “As many as 90% of intranets fail to achieve their initial goals.” This figure is based on the fact that traditional intranets have not been able to keep pace with modern employees’ needs and expectations. Modern companies often find that older technology cannot adequately respond to its requirements.

Traditional intranets share these characteristics:

  • A company’s IT department typically builds them, or has to be heavily involved in their management.
  • Traditional intranets are not user-friendly and rely on a system of links or storage folders, making it challenging for employees to find the information they need.
  • Employees spend an excessive amount of time searching for relevant content since much of the information stored is uploaded haphazardly. It lacks controls and workflows to keep content appropriately organized.
  • It takes a considerable amount of time to deploy a traditional intranet, sometimes up to 12 months. The risk of failure increases as the launch time is prolonged.
  • They lack the type of design and digital components to create a modern user experience.
  • It’s difficult to communicate or make company-wide announcements due to the traditional intranet’s configuration menu.
  • Traditional intranets require high technology to maintain; they require sophisticated training and resources for team members to install patches and upgrades. Ongoing maintenance costs are also significant.

 

In contrast, modern intranets share these characteristics:

  • They are designed to be user-friendly out of the box. Modern intranet solutions do not rely on the company’s IT department for daily management.
  • The modern intranet is relatively easy for users to learn. Employees start communicating and collaborating shortly after discovering this technology.
  • Modern intranets can be deployed swiftly. Content creation is relatively easy. It only takes minutes to upload new content.
  • They are built with employee engagement in mind. Mobile apps and push notifications are examples of flexible delivery options that help keep employees engaged.
  • Modern intranets have the flexibility to create personalized employee experiences with content targeted to their needs and interests. This feature makes the company intranet as engaging as any popular social media site.
  • A knowledge management feature keeps the content fresh, easy to find, and free from duplicates.
  • It incorporates a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) approach to ensure the latest updates and security are installed when they become available.
  • Users can employ point-and-click technology to troubleshoot and solve issues without contacting the IT Department everytime there’s an issue, this is especially beneficial when team members are working remotely.
  • Since modern intranets run on a SaaS basis, they are more economical and flexible than traditional ones.

 

— Why Replace a Traditional Intranet?

Simply put, a traditional intranet should be replaced when it doesn’t meet the company’s needs. Older technology is not always able to shift to meet the demands of the modern workplace. In that case, the traditional intranet needs to be replaced.

The way employees work has changed over the past several years. Modern technology has allowed the digital workplace to develop. Currently, remote working is more of a norm, and companies have employees spread around the globe.

With employees working in locations worldwide, internal communications must reach them quickly. Employees need to be able to access company documents on an on-demand basis. This information must be accessible and up-to-date, otherwise managers and team members could be making decisions based on inaccurate information.

 

— Advantages of Modern Intranets for Business

Employee-Generated Content: Team members can create and share engaging blog posts, articles, and weekly newsletters with fellow employees. LumApps has a built-in CMS for publishing content, including the ability to include videos and images to make content more engaging.

Knowledge Management: All companies have documents and information requiring storage. Managers often store documents on various platforms (Excel spreadsheets, Outlook, Google Drive, etc.). Knowledge management is a crucial feature of a modern intranet. When combined with a robust search feature, finding documents becomes much more manageable.

Analytics: Monitor page views, bounce rates, and more through data dashboards. Track employees’ interests in specific topics. Test out new employee engagement campaigns. Frontline workers often rely on social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn for current information. These sites are easy to use and are updated frequently. Don’t expect workers to use new intranet tools if they’re too difficult to use.

 

— Main Features of a Modern Intranet

  1. Cloud-based to facilitate in-office and remote working.
  2. An all-in-one intranet platform. Its core functions allow for communication, engagement, collaboration, and productivity.
  3. Social features for executives, managers, and employees. Chat, video message, and interact through communities of interest and groups.
  4. Security to protect sensitive and confidential company information.
  5. A content management system (CMS) provides structure and allows users to create, edit, and
    customize digital content.
  6. A library of forms and templates employees can refer to repeatedly.
  7. An employee directory that includes contact information, background, along with personal interests to encourage communication and collaboration.
  8. An internal job board for posting open positions before advertising them to the public.
  9. A robust internal search engine feature can pull results from the intranet database and third-party tools like Google.
  10. A customizable user interface with an attractive, sleek design.

Explore more than 30 essential intranet features.

Discover now 10 Steps for Replacing a Legacy Intranet:

 

1. Establish Intranet Replacement Goals

In other words, “What problems are you trying to solve?

For example, many enterprise organizations are looking for an alternative to the SharePoint intranet. When considering an intranet SharePoint alternative, you’ll need to list out items such as must-have features, current challenges, communication and collaboration goals, etc.

It’s tempting to start choosing colors and making decisions relating to the intranet replacement immediately, but a dedicated period of goal setting and milestone marking pays off in the long run. The goal is to avoid setting up an intranet replacement solution without the features your company needs.

For example, international companies need to consider localization, and multi-language translation before major decisions are made. A field-based sales team needs excellent mobile functionality to connect to the warehouse and communicate with coworkers.

2. Get Stakeholders Involved Early

Confirm stakeholder interest before any intranet replacement project is launched.

This requires presentations, research and data about the impact of a new intranet or intranet replacement. Detailed information about ROI (Return on Investment) will help demonstrate how and why this initiative is sound for the company.

Besides C-level executive and HR leaders, the IT Department is one of the most important stakeholders to get involved. Their technical input about possible challenges should be heard early in the process. This will ensure a smoother launch process and make it easier to integrate other departments.

3. Integrate with Existing Work Apps

Make a list of all the apps your teams are currently using in their work. These may include (but are not limited to) the following:

Your employees will get all their alerts in one place when you choose a digital workplace compatible with the apps your employees use. The employees will be productive since they will have access to familiar apps.

New processes can be intimidating. The change to a new company intranet can be presented more positively when the familiar apps are pointed out to employees. There will be some unique aspects to the system while some will remain familiar.

 

Google Workspace Support Community on LumApps

Google Workspace Support Community on LumApps

4. Mobile First

Having a mobile-first mindset is key when implementing new technology. Intranets should be replaced if they no longer support mobile users, as this will hurt adoption and effectiveness.

Employees should be able to create, manage, and update tasks using mobile. Deskless workers can access calendars, schedules, forms, and documents as needed through mobile-friendly digital tools. They can communicate quickly and conveniently through instant messaging and group chat features.

For instance, the LumApps mobile app is designed for deskless or frontline workers. This solution facilitates communication and maximizes productivity for everyone on your team by removing information silos and increasing organizational transparency.

5. Avoid Information Overload

Data is constantly being presented, shared and requested. It’s challenging to separate the critical messages from the constant hum of “noise.”

When you replace your company intranet, find a solution with personalized content. The option you choose should also provide a news feed on the home page focusing on global and local company news. Employees will stay current on company news and happenings. Make a point of embedding videos, graphics, and images in the news stories. They will capture the viewers’ interest and make the news stories easier to digest.

6. Add to an Intuitive Digital Workplace

Phone apps are developed to be intuitive. Even the most complex ones on the market don’t usually require training for consumers to use them effectively. App developers understand that users will stop using the app if their design isn’t user-friendly. Consumers expect a high standard from software.

Any intranet system should be replaced if it isn’t accessed by employees in the office, at home, on the road, and frontline workers. Connections with popular apps help build intuitive functionality, for instance LumApps integrates with Google Workspace and Microsoft 365.

7. Set up training for employees

Don’t expect employees to sit down and start using the new platform without instruction about what it contains and how it works. The training doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) lengthy. Develop a small amount of training exercises and workflows for employees based on their department. This speeds up onboarding time for the new platform and gives new users the confidence to leverage the software effectively.

Remember that employees have different learning styles that need to be accommodated. Some people are visual learners, while others are auditory learners or kinesthetic (hands-on) learners. Appeal to different learning types with a diverse training offering:

  • Face-to-face training sessions
  • How-to manuals and detailed documentation
  • Instructional videos with subtitles and transcriptions
  • Online chat support during all training

 

LumApps Learning Center

LumApps Learning Center

8. Create a Thoughtful Transition Period

Employees need time to adjust to the new platform. Replace old systems with new ones, cutting reliance on email, or setting up a system of communication and collaboration. Whatever the case may be, old habits will take some time to replace. Consider the size of the company, and map out milestones for when the workforce should implement new protocols and complete training.

Give employees time to complete their training and get comfortable with the new platform before switching off the old ways of in-house communication.

As an interim measure, use email or a previous intranet for crucial messages within in the digital workplace until the new system is properly in place and the necessary parties have completed training. Over time, the lack of reliance on email will cut down on unproductive “top-down” communication. Modern digital platforms make it provide an effective way to communicate and collaborate.

9. Move reference documents and manuals to the new intranet

Reference guides and manuals, documentation, onboarding materials and all important documents must be moved to the new intranet. This process offers a great opportunity to make sure they’re categorized appropriately with descriptions and metadata. Some materials will be archived during this process which increases the visibility of relevant, up-to-date information.

Always get expert advice before deleting documents. They may become needed later if the company needs to rely on them for tax or legal purposes.

This should be one of the first steps of the migration process as the new intranet requires this type of information to be effective.

10. Ensure Remote Work is Supported

Remote working should always be considered when implementing new technologies. Some employees will work from home part-time and work in the office a few days each week. Others prefer the opportunity for a fully remote schedule.

Either way, it’s crucial that employees feel included as part of the company team. Employers do this through video calls and by incorporating remote-friendly digital workplace tools. These measures help employees feel valued, especially because it enables remote workers to do their best work. Employees feel they are listened to and connected to their peers and managers.

Lastly, are you wondering whether the intranet is an outdated term? While it doesn’t accurately describe what modern employee experience platforms like LumApps provide for companies, it’s the most well-known and recognizable term.

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  • Traditional intranets are not user-friendly and rely on a system of links or storage folders, making it challenging for employees to find the information they need. Traditional intranets require high technology to maintain; they require sophisticated training and resources for team members to install patches and upgrades. Ongoing maintenance costs are also significant.
  • Modern intranets are designed to be user-friendly out of the box. Modern intranet solutions do not rely on the company’s IT department for daily management. The modern intranet is relatively easy for users to learn. Employees start communicating and collaborating shortly after discovering this technology. it can be deployed swiftly. Content creation is relatively easy. It only takes minutes to upload new content.
  • Employee-Generated Content
  • Knowledge Management
  • Social sharings
  • Analytics

Explore more than 40 benefits of modern intranets

  • Cloud-based
  • Social features
  • Security
  • Content management system (CMS)

30 essential modern intranet features