What makes a portal top-notch?
Intranets and portals
Nowadays, no one in the business world asks “Intranet: yes or no”? The question is rather “Is it time for a modernisation?” and immediately afterwards “How much are we willing to invest?” The fact is that changes in the IT area are a constant. And they are always compelling us to modernise, in connection with the desire for improved function and greater competitiveness. Ultimately, the result depends on the depth of the budget: from average to top-notch.
Covering the basic requirements
Although each company basically thinks it is something special, practice shows that this is not the case. Especially when it comes to an Intranet portal. Most of the needs for internal communication and participation in common content are amazingly similar between very different industries and are on average 80%.
Agitavit also detected this characteristic and developed a basic Intranet package, primarily intended for small and medium-sized enterprises. It actually covers the maximum selection of the basic needs on cooperation, at the minimum price. Basically, it is a set of popular building blocks, which are optimized by our practice experience. Subsequently we train the client to maximally utilise the capabilities of the chosen platform, which is typically Cloud. In the final phase, we also ensure the migration of the data from the existing systems. We help to structure the data in a way that makes it much easier to find and co-use.
Many companies, especially medium-sized ones, reacted positively to this approach. Of course, one has to ask whether such a package is also suitable for large companies? What about the remaining 20% of the unsatisfied needs or business specifics? These characteristics are difficult to squeeze into a mould, because they are specific to each organization. As such, they are, of course, an additional expense, whereas the amount of the investment is entirely within the domain of the organisation itself.
The key is in the details
So, if we want to set-up a top-notch Intranet that will inspire its users on the one hand and win prizes on the other hand, we have to spend more time on the details together with the client. Typically, this is done in joint workshops with different groups of participants, where the processes, application examples, etc. are analysed.
One of the main objectives must be the maximisation of usefulness, the so-called user experience. Only when users recognise the practical value of the portal in the context of their daily work needs, they will accept it as their own. So we should make sure that they will be:
- Heard – by liking, posting, commenting, following and sharing contents;
- Visible, when a need for their competencies arise on projects;
- Notified on issues most relevant for them, using a news and notification system, personalisation, highlighted contents, etc.;
- Equipped with suitable tools, workflows, document templates, and self-help for a successful work.
Special attention has to be paid to the appearance, since it makes a significant contribution to the pleasure of use and overall impression. Prototyping is an iterative process that optimises the legibility, the harmony of colours, proportions, fonts and all other elements in various screen layouts (so-called Responsive Design).
A well-designed portal will therefore also be »IT-friendly«, since the management of the portal itself as well as the users’ problems will lessen the workload of the IT department regardless of the chosen platform.
A top-notch Intranet always pays off for a company, even if it is a little more expensive. However, this investment is not only financial, but also in the form of a greater dedication of the team on the part of the client. The same success pattern can also be generalized to the internet, extranet or any B2B portal. With various metrics incorporated into the system, this can later be confirmed and used as a starting point for business analysis and further improvements.