Top 8 Intranet Trends For 2021

Top 8 Intranet Trends for 2021

2020 has been a year of change, a year of never-seen-before digital trends and workplace transformations.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated remote working as employees were required to work from home due to the physical restrictions to curb the spread of the disease. At the same time, businesses scrambled to adopt digital workplace technologies that enabled teams to work efficiently  from different locations.

According to research by Gartner, 74% of CFOs and Finance Leaders say that they will move at least 5% of their employees to remote working permanently after the pandemic.” Also, “25% of the participants say they will move 10% of their workforce to remote working permanently.

Enterprises across the globe rapidly adopted modern intranets to facilitate communication, collaboration, and employee engagement in the remote working model. Unlike a traditional intranet which acts as a glorified content repository, a modern intranet brings together enterprise-wide knowledge, tools, and applications on a comprehensive, collaborative interface, allowing employees to get work done from a single window.

Modern SharePoint intranets are also providing flexible integrations with LoB and back-end applications to provide an integrated digital experience for employees.

Modern Intranets will continue to define the business landscape in the post-COVID world as well and are bound to undergo several advancements.

Trend #1: Intranet as a Service

Organizations, small and large, are moving towards the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. As more and more vendors offer intranet as a service, modern enterprises can benefit from the flexibility of a cloud-based monthly-subscription model instead of investing a huge capital upfront.

Moreover, in volatile times such as these, when organizations are struggling with revenue generation and are laying off or hiring workers aggressively, they can deploy a modern intranet with minimum expenditure and have the flexibility to scale the platform up or down as needed. With an intranet-as-a-service model, organizations don’t have to worry about platform maintenance and upgrades.

Learn More: What Is Intranet-as-a-service And Its Benefits  

Trend #2: Mobile Integration

One of the biggest trends in 2021 will be to optimize intranet features on mobile devices. With an intranet mobile app, remote and frontline workers who are required to work on site or constantly move can access the intranet information and stay connected with their peers without a desktop.

By allowing such employees to access information on-the-go, send and receive real-time updates, and connect with corporate office colleagues, organizations can enhance engagement, productivity, and employee satisfaction in these challenging times.

Learn More: Increase Intranet Accessibility With Mobile Apps

Trend #3: Improving Information Discovery With Knowledge Mining and AI

More than 80% of enterprise knowledge is unstructured. Unlike structured data, analyzing and extracting useful information from unstructured data like memos, emails, text documents, videos, etc., is a mammoth task. And this data adds immense value to your business.

Knowledge mining will be a crucial Intranet trend for 2021. Modern intranets facilitate knowledge mining in three phases –

  • Ingest: Knowledge, whether structured or unstructured, exists in various legacy and modern enterprise systems. With knowledge mining tools, you can use pre-built connectors and integrations to connect first and third-party applications and bring your data together.
  • Enrich: The data captured above needs to be analyzed, tagged, and enriched with the right metadata. This is where AI technologies like machine learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) come into being. These automate manual tasks like metadata generation, tagging, classification, and taxonomy usage. Data enrichment ensures data discoverability via search.
  • Explore: Organizations are increasingly opting for cognitive enterprise search engines over traditional search tools. These leverage AI and NLP to deliver highly relevant search results. They connect all your internal and external enterprise apps and act as a unified search engine to provide access to relevant organization-wide content.

Learn More: Why You Should Start Using AI for Knowledge Mining

Trend #4: Personalized search and content recommendations

Personalization will be a crucial element in all enterprise Intranets in 2021 and beyond. Modern intranets provide a cognitive enterprise search engine which acts as a centralized search option and delivers personalized search results and information from across apps.

For example, a quick search on the “finance experts” of the company will yield the names of the relevant people and personalize the results based on the user’s role, geography, interests, language, etc.

Smart suggestions, auto-complete, filtering, geospatial search, etc.are some more capabilities offered by modern enterprise search powered by AI.

Modern intranets also solve the information overload challenge in traditional intranets by personalized the intranet feed for every user. Users get content recommendations based on their departments, roles and past activities.

Learn More: Intelligent Intranet Software with AI-Powered Personalization

Trend #5: Faster access to knowledge with bots

A knowledge chatbot integrated into an Intranet shall be another leading trend to look out for. Bots can be designed to provide information related to any topic relevant to employees.

For instance, a knowledge bot can answer questions like “Who is the sales head for New York?” or “How to update my operating system” or “What is Angela Karen’s email ID?”. Employees can also use the bot to retrieve documents from the content repository, e.g., “Get me the travel expense report for 2019” or “Send me Project X’s status report,” etc. Employees can conduct natural language conversations with a chat or voice bot and access information seamlessly via text or voice mediums. These bots will act as personal assistants within your intranet and also in your messaging apps like Teams,  Slack, etc.

Trend #6: Flexible app integrations

Bringing enterprise-wide tools and applications on a single, user-friendly platform is the key to designing a successful Intranet. Modern intranets are now providing integrations with a host of enterprise applications, including Office 365, SAP, Salesforce, PeopleSoft, Workday, etc. They can also be integrated with your LoB, BI, ERP and any back-end systems.

This will enhance employee efficiency by eliminating the need to switch between siloed applications.

Trend #7: AI in Idea Management

One of the key features of modern Intranets today is an idea management module, which enables organizations to capture and implement employee ideas.

Moving a step ahead of traditional idea management systems, modern Intranets will incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) in idea management.

AI enables scalable and sustainable innovation in the following ways –

  • Reduces repetitive ideas
  • Retains old ideas and resurfaces them when required
  • Finds ideas quickly with intelligent search
  • Reduces manual efforts in idea review
  • Develops connections between similar ideas

Trend #8: Intranets enabling the return to the workplace

Intranets are critical in navigating a post-COVID world and can help lead a successful transition back to the workplace in 2021 by –

  • Keeping employees informed about the latest company news, announcements and return to workplace strategies
  • Providing employees a single-point access to information, and productivity, communication and collaboration tools they need for day-to-day operations;
  • Enabling organizations to offer enhanced employee experiences and also minimizes time required to navigate and locate items or resources they specifically need.
  • Providing personalized search and helping employees find information and subject matter experts relevant to their role and interests;
  • Enabling seamless communication and collaboration amongst employees.

Learn More: How Intranets are Driving the Return to Workplace

Get Started

In 2020, intranets have improved organizational efficiency in more ways than one, and enhancements to existing technologies are only expected to pave the way for the new normal in 2021.

As seen above, remote working will continue being the norm for times to come, with a fraction of the employees being asked to operate from home permanently. Modern intranets will play a vital role in building an agile and resilient workforce in the hybrid setup.

The top 8 Intranet trends for 2021 discussed above can serve as a set of best practices to help you successfully plan, implement, and launch an Intranet.

And while you explore these exciting trends, do have a look at Mesh 3.0, Acuvate’s autonomous AI-enabled SharePoint Intranet solution.

Mesh is built with the best of Microsoft technologies, including Azure, LUIS, Graph, and MS Natural Language Processing.

Some of the features of Mesh include –

If you’d like to learn more about Mesh, please feel free to get in touch with one of our AI and digital workplace consultants for a personalized demo.


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