5 things traditional Intranet Portals fail at

eXo Platform Blog

Traditional Intranet portals appeared in the 90s. Organized following enterprise organisation charts present static information to each employee depending on their department.

They were an innovative way to communicate at the time, especially when compared to an email or a paper newsletter. Intranets gained wide entrance into organizations of different sizes and profiles.

Today, Intranet solutions have evolved to include a lot more than simple information aggregation. So much so that the vocabulary shifted as more and more companies talked about digital workplaces or collaboration platforms. A lot of companies upgrade their Intranets for modernized solutions, again transforming the way that they communicate and work internally.

However, we still, surprisingly, encounter prospects who introduce their very first Intranets and ask for a disguised version of a traditional Intranet – a place where news would be displayed. If you are wondering what you would be missing, here is a short list:

Traditional Intranet Portals fail at engaging your employees

If you are looking for your first Intranet, you are probably trying to build corporate culture and engage your employees in a meaningful way around your corporate message.

But, Intranet portals focus on sharing content, which employees can view/read or not. There is no way for readers to react to the information provided, share it with someone, like it, comment on it, or engage in a dialogue. In fact, no one may read your content and you will never know, which brings us to the next point:

Traditional Intranet Portals fail at helping your communications

As employees have no way to engage with the information, you have no easily available metrics at your disposal to follow your communications’ impact in real time and improve it to drive those metrics. Your team posts an article and… nothing. It’s similar to a survey which cannot possibly be performed every day and has its challenges, so your team works blindly. Not to mention that your top management surely loves metrics and would find them helpful when justifying a communications budget.

Traditional Intranet Portals fail at helping your employees work together

Portal Intranets have no collaboration functionalities. Each employee consults its Intranet by themselves, individually. They may be able to consult the company directory but will have no way of engaging with others or working with them on common projects.

Traditional Intranet Portals fail at helping your employees share knowledge

In most companies, knowledge can be found in a great number of places. And, it’s important to remember that your company knowledge is constantly evolving – as someone somewhere solves a particular problem, makes a new client presentation, a new design, a new idea, etc. Actually, the most valuable knowledge often lies silently in the heads of your employees.

While traditional intranets may offer access to your company’s document database, they fail to allow your knowledge base to grow and evolve. Your employees will not be able to contribute to your knowledge base or share knowledge and exchange it with a pure portal intranet.

Traditional Intranet Portals fail at helping you build your corporate culture

Countless books and articles were written on the subject of great corporate cultures and how to create and nurture them. One thing is certain, showering your employees with corporate messages and pictures does not work. Corporate culture is about learning from others and emulating certain types of behaviours – this cannot be done with a traditional intranet. The latter provides no way for employees to interact with each other or see positive behaviours in others outside of their immediate team.

Traditional intranets fail at a lot of things. The good news is that new generation intranets address all of the above and more. So, why go with a skoda, when you can have a ferrari?
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I am eXo’s chief operating officer, ultimately responsible for all operations ensuring client acquisition and success. In this blog, I write about modern workplaces and their benefits to organisations and their people. Occasionally, I also blog about my personal areas of interest, such as communication, personal development, work–life balance, sustainability and gender equality.

1 Comment
  1. Neat article Veronika! Those that you have mentioned above are indeed the very reasons why traditional intranets need to evolve themselves into something greater — one that could provide those that traditional intranet couldn’t — something that is called a “social intranet.

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