From Engagement To Experience Intranets In The Next Normal V1

From engagement to experience: Intranets in the next normal

The pandemic era brought about a public health crisis and forced businesses across the world to make an unforeseen transition to remote working.

A survey by Gartner has revealed,  47% of the respondents intend to allow employees to work remotely full time going forward.

In such a scenario, traditional intranets that leverage a “destination site” “one-size-fits-all” model won’t suffice. Instead, the next normal of business demands modern digital workplace technologies that use flexible delivery approaches to create valuable employee experiences in a hybrid working setup.

The Next Normal of Business

Tech-giant Microsoft will offer employees the option to work from home freely for less than 50% of their working week or give managers the freedom to approve permanent remote work. In a note to the employees, Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft’s chief people officer, stated,

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all of us to think, live, and work in new ways. We will offer as much flexibility as possible to support individual workstyles while balancing business needs and ensuring we live ourculture.

Like Microsoft, Facebook is moving aggressively into the remote work model. The company has more than 48,000 employees working in 70 offices worldwide. In an interview with The Verge, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said,

We’re going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale. We need to do this in a way that’s thoughtful and responsible, so we’re going to do this in a measured way. But I think that it’s possible that over the next five to 10 years, maybe closer to 10 than five, I think we could get to about half of the company working remotely permanently.

Similar to Facebook and Microsoft, companies across the globe are experimenting with remote working arrangements in a way that meets employee needs and builds resiliency into their operations.

From engagement to experience: Intranets in the next normal

As seen above, a traditional intranet employs a “destination site” delivery style that does attempt to provide the content, apps, knowledge, and communication and collaboration tools needed by employees. However, resources are poorly organized, and the search functionality is generally outdated and impersonal, making it cumbersome to access and consume the services. Therefore, traditional intranets lead to a drastic fall in productivity and effectiveness of individuals and teams.

Today’s employees demand exceptional experiences in terms of usability and powerful, intuitive interfaces. Unlike a traditional intranet, a modern intranet delivers a set of structured, consumable services through various touchpoints, such as personalized employee portals, cognitive search, AI-driven content recommendations, conversational interfaces, and flexible app integrations.

As rightly stated by Gartner, “Application leaders must create “composable” intranets that enable “multi experiences” and form the center of digital workplace strategies.” So, what will be the must-have essentials and the future of intranets in the next normal? Let’s find out.

1. Unlock enterprise collaboration on your way back to the new normal

As remote work continues, organizations must ensure scalable digital workplace tools are in place for seamless collaboration, which fuels productivity and boosts employee morale and engagement.

But, what is digital collaboration? Simply stated, digital collaboration is using technologies and devices to instill collaboration across organizations. Digital collaborations tools aim to improve –

  • Workplace communication
  • Workplace collaboration
  • Content Management
  • Document management
  • Innovation
  • Information accessibility
  • Knowledge mining

Effective communication is the backbone of an organization – be it allocating projects, discussing news, ideas, and updates, or checking up on progress. Moreover, employees need all the information and tools relevant to their role in one place to break down information silos and ensure relevant knowledge flows freely across the organization.

A modern intranet acts as a core unified digital platform that brings organization-wide information and tools under a single roof. This builds corporate agility and ensures a positive employee experience at all stages.

With flexible integrations, employees can access everyday applications like Office 365, Workday, ServiceNow, and LoB and legacy enterprise systems, retrieve information quickly from an organized content management system and engage socially with peers and colleagues.

Learn More: Check out our webinar on Unlock enterprise collaboration on your way back to the new normal.

2. Enhance your digital workplace with AI

Mitra Azizrad, Corporate VP for Microsoft AI, recently said, “In the next five years, every successful company will become an AI-company.” And we couldn’t agree more.

AI capabilities are advancing quickly and transforming every aspect of business. Research conducted by Deloitte has shown, “AI adopters are investing significantly, with 53% respondents spending more than US$20 million over the past year on AI-related technology and talent.”

AI helps create an intelligent intranet and changes how work gets done in organizations. Let’s explore how.

  • Drive engagement with AI-driven personalized content recommendations

Traditional intranets lack personalization, and the information displayed on the dashboards, social feeds, and other forums is often irrelevant. Consequently, employees spend valuable time “cutting through the clutter,” decreasing productivity and intranet adoption in the process.

AI and machine learning empower the intranet to understand user needs and deliver articles, news, documents, insights, and other content based on their roles, interests, location, and preferences. Moreover, AI also analyzes the users’ persona to connect them with the right SMEs and encourage cross-team collaboration.

Integrating AI-enabled chatbots on the intranet provides a conversational interface, improves information access, and enhances productivity. Users who are traveling or working away from the desk can quickly access documents and the latest company updates on the go. Employees can also ask questions, submit leave requests, raise IT tickets, manage business travel, and carry out other routine tasks with the help of an intranet chatbot.

Moreover, such chatbots can also send personalized alerts, announcements, and push notifications to inform employees about company events, the latest news, network downtime, etc.

Learn More: Check out our webinar on Enhancing your Digital Workplace with Everyday AI.

3. Context and relevance essential vitamin in intranet search

Any piece of information is as valuable as its findability and relevance. Unfortunately, in many organizations, enterprise search is still broken. When a user cannot find exactly what he wants, especially while working away from the office, productivity plummets, and frustration mounts.

Larry Page once said, “The ultimate search engine would understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want.”

An AI-enabled cognitive search engine connects all external and internal enterprise apps and reduces the time to find information. Employees can easily access files, documents, and other important information from anywhere on the organization’s network. Search is not limited to keywords. Instead, the system uses smart ranking algorithms to display results based on context and relevance. Moreover, it understands natural language and auto-fills suggestions based on the user’s role and past activities.

What drives the unified, intelligent search experience is the automatic metadata generation, data tagging, classification, and taxonomy generation executed by AI-enabled bots.

Learn More: Check out our webinar on Context & Relevance Essential Vitamin in Intranet Search.

4. Bridge workplace innovation using intranet

It’s been rightly said, “Extreme circumstances hype up the innovation instincts of people.” Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic is extreme and unprecedented. And yes, over the past two years, organizations, which previously detested the very idea of remote working, have been looking at innovative ways to ensure remote workers carry on their day-to-day operations productively.

Innovation is complex. It involves collective brainstorming. It also requires the management of conflicting ideas. This may be easier in a physical office setup; however, organizations must invest in the right tools and technology to facilitate innovation amongst employees in a hybrid working setup.

An idea management software within your intranet can help you discover the best ideas and encourage innovation and collaboration.

Key features of a collaborative innovation tool

  • Cost-friendly
  • Intuitive – Make it easy for employees to navigate and use the tool
  • Gamification-based – Acknowledge the best ideas with rewards, points, badges, and much more
  • Crowdsourcing – Capture, evaluate, prioritize, and distill the good ideas with likes, upvotes, and comments
  • Eliminates duplication of ideas – Save time and energy
  • Reporting and analytics – Comprehensive reports and dashboards to track idea status, idea count, and measure performance
  • Allows flexible integrations with mobile and social channels
  • Target campaigns to focus business challenges on new initiatives

Learn More: Check out our webinar on Bridging Workforce Innovation using Intranet.

How can Acuvate help?

If you are looking to deploy a modern intranet to deliver meaningful employee experiences and prepare your organization for the next normal, do check out Mesh 3.0, our AI-enabled SharePoint Intranet solution.

Mesh is the World’s Best Employee Experience Platform that leverages the best of Microsoft technologies, including Azure, LUIS, Graph, and MS Natural Language Stack, and boasts powerful features, including –