Friday, June 30, 2017

Your Intranet, the Front Door, and your Digital Workplace

Jeremy Williams, Sr. Director, Modern Workplace
Platforms

Imagine you’re heading over to an associate’s office for an appointment, meeting up with friends at their home, or walking into an office building to meet with a prospect. At some point, you’re going to walk through a front door and into a lobby or foyer. I’ve always found these areas a little interesting – they’re normally designed for people to spend a minimum of time there, but they form the basis of their first impression of your home/business/etc. Not only does it set the tone, but it is the central access point to getting to where you need to go. Be it a conference room, the patio, or the kitchen – the first time you’re there, you’re likely going to pass through the foyer.

Your Intranet is the front door to your Digital Workplace.

Extending the metaphor, your Intranet homepage should set the tone for your employee’s experience in your Digital Workplace. An effective homepage will provide you a good sense of what’s going on in your digital world – from keeping up on the latest news and happenings in the organization, to notifying you of tasks you need to accomplish, to quickly providing you insights to support your decisions. Ultimately, it will enable you to immediately access the content, tools, people, expertise, and communication channels you need to be most effective at your job.

From this initial [homepage] experience, you’ll likely be taken to the various content areas, tools, and/or experiences you need. The next day, you may bypass the homepage and instead head right to your team collaboration tool – because you know that’s what you need to focus on the most. You know that you can always get back to your central access point (your Intranet homepage), and you also know the experiences that you can go directly into. This is the why your Intranet is an important part of your Digital Workplace strategy – they’re an opportunity for a first impression, a place to support way-finding, and for many of your users, it’ll be their first experience the organization every day.

Don’t get me wrong - the rest of your Digital Workplace also needs attention. You’ll likely need modern collaboration experience, mobile apps, enterprise search solutions, business intelligence and analytics experiences, and more to meet the needs and expectations of your users. Just like an office building with a front door leading immediately into a wall of cubes would be confusing, so too would a lobby that had no attached rooms or offices. This isn’t an either-or option, it’s a symbiotic one where each supports the other.

In thinking of your Digital Workplace and your Intranet homepage, is it a personalized, purposeful, and resourceful experience; or is it a cluttered, outdated, and/or an eyesore type of an experience that doesn’t help you in your day-to-day activities? I sincerely hope you answer with the former, and if the latter, we should talk.

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