A lot of businesses become enamored with big, beautiful Intranets with sleek layouts and vibrant visual imagery. They want a stunning, well-sized picture to go with the latest company announcement. Or, they want to see who the new hires are, not just read about them. There are awards given to Intranets for achievements in design and beauty.
However, bigger is not always better and neither is beauty when it comes to Intranets. What people don’t realize when it comes to designing an Intranet and making it look good is that beauty comes at a price. Is your budget ready for that?
Here at SP Marketplace, we have worked with over a thousand small to medium organizations to deploy our SP Digital Workplace Solutions Intranet structure on Office 365 and SharePoint. From our experience we have learned SMB Intranet best practices that we hope to convey to you in these blogs.
An Intranet portal is designed to increase communication and collaboration within your organization. Navigation needs to be intuitive and employees need to be able to easily access key documents and services across different departments.
Your organization's time and money will go to waste if employees spend the work day trying to find things they need that are designed to make their job easier and more efficient.
If you are an SMB, you don’t have the resources that enterprise-level corporations do. You have to be innovative with time and manage resources so that every dollar matters and every minute counts.
Intranet VS Internet: The Give and Take of Beauty Versus Function
Remember, your Intranet is not your Internet. While your website should be beautiful, with time and money being invested given the potential to attract customers, your Intranet should be treated different. It’s not designed to attract external customers but rather help the Sales team be more productive, the HR department be more efficient, and your employees be more self-sufficient.
While your Intranet is the internal extension of your website, its look and feel should carry forward the organization branding but not try to duplicate the look of your Internet. Looking at your audience and its needs will guide your strategy and help you in designing the look and feel.
It’s natural to spend a lot of time and money on your website’s appearance. But, that same time and money being spent on the appearance of your Intranet could potentially be misdirected. There needs to be a trade off with functionality and the look and feel of your Intranet.
The key point here is that you can engage your audience without spending countless hours and dollars on graphics and elements that will make your Intranet appealing but might diminish resources.
The Cost of Rich Content
They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. If you want a picture of your international team closing a deal with a big client, you have to first find that picture. Then you have to resize it, format it and finally post it onto the Intranet. This alone can take upward of an hour. Now, imagine doing that for every company announcement, every company event that goes on the Intranet. If you do that each day you could be spending a minimum of two hours. Multiply that times five days a week and you’re spending 10 hours just on making your Intranet pretty.
You want to engage your audience through your Intranet, but you also want it to serve a purpose. Now picture this: Your sales team just landed a multimillion dollar deal. This is big news for your SMB. You spend five minutes writing an announcement and publish it to the Intranet. The entire company knows within 30 minutes. Onto the next task.
In that five minutes you have engaged your audience but you have also informed your audience, accomplishing both form and functionality. You have saved your company significant time and money.
While employees might want pleasing graphics and eye-catching pictures, what they need can be quite different. And if those needs aren’t met, the Intranet is not serving its purpose.
Of course, there is more to an Intranet than what lays on the surface. Beauty will bring them to the Intranet but functional value will make them stay.