Company Intranet: What is it and Does Your Company Need One?
Companies are no longer simple, small groups of people with a common business interest. Now, businesses are more like small village communities. They have their own rules, rituals, hierarchies, knowledge, processes and ways of communicating.
As companies have grown and diversified, managing all of these aspects of corporate life has become more complicated. To keep everything running smoothly and to maintain employee engagement across an entire organization, a solution was devised – the company intranet.
A company intranet is a business’ private network, website or digital area used for internal communications, storing essential data and fostering collaboration. With rapid developments in technology, especially collaboration software, the corporate intranet has somewhat fallen out of the spotlight.
Hence, we thought it would be wise to go over what a company intranet is, whether your company needs one, and how the best company intranet should look. We’ll also give a sneak peek into how our own company intranet solution works, which you can check out for free.
Table of Contents
What is a company intranet?
Corporate intranets aren’t exactly a new thing. They’ve been around since the 1990s, when the digital revolution gave birth to a vast number of corporate tools and solutions we use today, including company intranets.
As we’ve touched upon previously, the company intranet is a business’ walled-off network of sorts that allows company members to collaborate, communicate, store files, and generally conduct business operations.
Companies need a separate, private space for a variety of reasons. Other tools are often inadequate at providing all the features a business might need, and their security might not be adequate. We all live and work in a highly competitive world, where ill-timed leaks or corporate espionage can severely impact a company’s bottom line.
Of course, company intranets are much more than simple private chat rooms. They help connect workers, especially remote employees, in a singular digital workspace, fostering cohesion on both a personal and professional level.
Traditional intranet vs. modern intranet
Intranet solutions haven’t been frozen in time since the 90s. They’ve evolved significantly over time, bringing in more valuable features and flexibility as they’ve developed.
Traditional intranets were pretty limiting. At first, they were usable only by office employees. As the way we work has changed dramatically, especially in the last two years due to the pandemic, this would’ve been a significant problem. Hybrid work is the name of the game now, and many employees work remotely at least some of the time.
A traditional intranet was also only accessible via (office) computers, which is expected as other internet-ready devices weren’t as developed back then as they are now.
Nowadays, a modern intranet solution can be used by employees remotely, wherever they might be. Additionally, a company intranet of today can be accessed via smartphones, tablets, or laptops. Thus letting employees communicate and work on the move.
Let’s dig deeper into modern company intranets now and how they differ from seemingly similar tools and software.
Company intranet vs. Slack and other messaging platforms
When you read about company intranet software, you might immediately think of Slack, Microsoft Teams, and other top-rated business messaging solutions. However, there are significant differences between these platforms and an intranet solution.
Communication tools like Slack are meant for fast, short conversations. Sure, Slack comes with file storage and numerous integrations that can help employee engagement and encourage employees to cooperate.
However, most of Slack’s focus is on rapid communication, mainly designed to avoid endless emailing. Finding files and previous conversations on Slack can be headache-inducing, with no proper way to structure and organize all that information.
On the other hand, a modern intranet is a permanent solution for handling all critical information and data within the entire company. First of all, company intranet software allows you to organize information quickly and painlessly. These tools are built precisely for this purpose, letting you structure and fetch data as you please. You don’t want to waste precious time digging up that one file from a 3-month old conversation – you need it right now, and a corporate intranet lets you get it in seconds.
Secondly, a modern company intranet allows for efficient, professional communication. Everyone that has ever used Slack knows that it’s often well-deserving of its name, where you can quickly spiral into sending cute cat pictures while important information gets buried deeper and deeper. The intranet structure does not allow for fun, informal communication – far from it, but it’s also way better at letting members successfully convey important information.
Lastly, modern intranet software comes with more customizability. Tools like MS Teams allow for some customization, but it’s primarily surface-level and cosmetic – you still have to work within a pretty rigid framework. On the other hand, a business intranet is significantly more customizable and allows for things like creating detailed user profiles.
These features are great for motivating employees to communicate and become engaged. They can also help you get to know your colleagues better and become a more close-knit crew.
Of course, software like Slack is still beneficial and is often used in conjunction with a company intranet. Still, it’s essential to know that they have distinct capabilities and uses.
What is a company intranet used for?
Now, let’s take a closer look at what exactly intranet platforms are used for. First, we’ll list all the major uses of modern intranets, and then we’ll dig deeper into each.
The company intranet is used for:
- Secure internal communication between employees
- File and document management
- Fostering communication and engagement
- Building and developing a solid company culture
- Helping with collaboration across the entire workforce
- Boosting productivity and streamlining business processes
Let’s dissect each use one by one and see how a corporate intranet can help your business in each of these areas.
One of the core features of company intranet software is to allow secure internal communication between employees in a company. As you well know, quick and efficient communication is critical for running a successful business.
Most intranets come equipped with instant real-time messaging that allows you to reach out to team members or other departments quickly.
The benefits for international corporations or remote teams are evident here, but even 100% of on-site companies stand to gain a lot. Instead of wasting time on endless meetings and unnecessary emails, you can just share important information or send files in an instant through the intranet.
This is not the only type of communication offered by a corporate intranet. They also feature news feeds and announcements, allowing employees or management to spread important information quickly. These can include things like launch updates, new work rules, changes in approach, etc.
Lastly, intranet software helps keep internal communications private from prying eyes. This is a crucial aspect of any intranet solution. Your company not only stands to lose profits when some information gets leaked but there might be legal repercussions if any sensitive user data is made public.
File storage and management
Besides acting as a centralized hub for important information, intranet software also provides centralized access to important files. Companies amass a considerable number of files over time, and you’ll need a place to store them all safely. A company intranet does just that, securely storing all essential data in a central repository.
This data can then be accessed by the entire organization when needed. Additionally, intranet solutions let companies structure and sort stored data, allowing easy file filtering and searching, saving precious time. Instead of digging through a pile of hundreds of files, you can sort them by type, name, date accessed, and so forth.
Files aren’t the only thing stored on the intranet. Older communication, chats, and other important data can also be saved and accessed at will.
During the pandemic, a vast number of businesses faced unprecedented challenges in keeping the company’s employees engaged and active. Keeping employees engaged is much more complicated when everyone’s apart and working remotely. Coupled with the mental toll the pandemic took on all of us, keeping everyone lively and communicative has become very difficult.
Through its various features, especially communication tools, senior management can keep workers engaged more quickly. One of the main ways to achieve this is by giving employees a voice and proper channels through which to express their opinions.
An intranet’s various communication channels can help a lot here. They give team members a place to express direct feedback, provide new ideas, voice concerns, or talk about the problems they might face (and share those cute cat pictures).
On top of that, various social media-like features such as group chats, forum threads and employee profiles also help. Workers can talk, have fun, become closer, and truly become part of a community with them.
Building company culture
An often overlooked aspect of corporate life is building a healthy company culture. As we talked about initially, companies are now much more than simple groups of people connected by business interests. They’re living, breathing communities, and they react to the environment around them.
Through a company intranet, you can help build a company culture that will be welcoming, friendly, and warm. This is sure to make team members happier and also increase productivity. Especially in an entirely digital workplace, where organizing things like team building can be almost impossible, you’ll need all the tools at your disposal to create a company culture that connects.
Numerous social features, coupled with plentiful integrations, are an excellent way for achieving this, and a company intranet comes with all of that.
Practically all of the company intranet features we mentioned above help, one way or another, with fostering collaboration between employees and departments.
First, having an easy way to communicate – both with your team members and across different departments – aids employees to work together. Instead of going through management or sending countless emails, you can just reach out through the intranet and get things done.
A unified communications hub also helps employees pitch ideas or give feedback quickly, leading to exciting new developments or improvements to your product or service. Additionally, with file-sharing being easy in a good intranet, you can promptly send essential documents and blueprints back and forth. This removes the endless waiting for them to be faxed or emailed.
Through the intranet, even fully remote teams can work together without hiccups and slowdowns, all from the comfort of their homes.
Boosting productivity and streamlining work processes
Lastly, intranets serve to improve your company’s overall productivity and streamline essential business processes.
Important company news and updates can be quickly sent out, keeping everyone on top of the latest developments. File sharing and messaging make communication and collaboration painless. Employee directories make the job easier for HR departments and management while helping workers connect and improve new hires’ employee experience.
On top of that, intranets function as Content Management Systems as well, which makes content creation and collaboration much easier.
All in all,a company intranet’s features all help to massively improve productivity by optimizing and speeding up otherwise lengthy tasks.
Choosing the right company intranet
Now that we’ve covered the many ways in which an intranet can help your company, you’re left with the task of picking the right one for your business. There are plenty of company intranets out there, so it might be challenging to pick one out of so many options.
To help you out, here are the main features and capabilities you should look for in a company intranet.
- Mobile app and multi-platform availability
- Ease of use
- Robust file sharing
- Multi-channel communication
- Plentiful integrations
- Cloud access
- Top-notch security
Luckily, you can find all of these features and more right here at Brosix! Our secure instant messaging platform is much more than a simple communication tool – it comes with its private team network, which has all the features you might look for in a company intranet and more. Check it out.
Brosix Private Team Network
The Brosix private team network is just one of the many features of our messaging platform. It’s feature-packed with useful tools that allow you to manage how your team collaborates and communicates, boosting productivity. It’s like a super-charged company intranet that boasts a vast number of additional sound tools.
First of all, our private team network – and our platform as a whole – comes with military-grade security. It allows managers and administrators to set permissions for file access, view user activity (and set its deletion times), and even comes with its own antivirus system, preventing any malware from sneaking in.
Besides being protected from malware, all files and communication passing through the network are protected by high-level end-to-end encryption, preventing spying from malicious third parties.
Admins can also controlwho each employee can communicate with within the digital workplace, preventing unauthorized or unproductive communication.
The private team network comes with a high level of customizability. Via the Web Control Panel, administrators can toggle features for individual users at will.
File sharing is also easy with Brosix, as you can quickly send files of unlimited size to any authorized contact on the network. Files are automatically compressed and shared through P2P, meaning they get sent out faster and with less bandwidth used.
You won’t have any issues with collaboration either. Besides file sharing, our platform comes with co-browsing, screenshot sending, and screen sharing. This allows for easy collaboration and lets you seamlessly onboard new hires.
Of course, this is a messaging platform, after all, so you’ll have access to practically all channels of communication. This includes instant chat & chat rooms and both audio and video calls. This brings a tremendous amount of flexibility, as you can manage group projects, organize one-on-one meetings, or just quickly convey important information between users.
Company-wide announcements are also easy to make thanks to our broadcast message feature. Don’t worry; employees who are traveling or can’t access their computer won’t miss out on anything important, as our Brosix mobile app comes with all the messaging features.
All in all, if you’re looking for the best company intranet solution, you can try out our platform for free, with no credit card required.
That’s it. Hopefully, now you have a much better understanding of what a company intranet is, what benefits they bring, and how to find the best company intranet out there. We also presented our own solution that can go toe-to-toe (or even outperform) the top modern intranets around.
We definitely recommend getting a company intranet for your business, as it will result in better productivity and collaboration across the board, and all without breaking the bank.