With the New Year approaching, we asked five experts in building intranet projects what they think the main trends for intranets will be in 2014.
Our experts are based in five different countries and cater to clients in various industries who range from mid- to enterprise-sized. Clients include Ageas (Insurance), Kapsch (IT), VIRO (Engineering) and many more.
The question was simple:
What do you consider to be the main intranet trend for the coming year(s)?
Brian McKeiver, BizStream, Mich., U.S.
At BizStream we have been building intranets since 2001. It has always amazed me how different trends affect the way that we build and use intranets. A newer trend, Enterprise Social, is rapidly gaining steam and will continue to do so in the coming years. You’ll see more organizations increasing social collaboration within their own networks and applications.
Private social networks, such as Yammer or Kato, are becoming more ingrained in the workplace. I’m a huge fan of Enterprise Social because it lets teams efficiently share with and follow other team members without deluging their email. But you still need a good CMS or better CXM platform to build this type of collaboration that can easily integrate with social networks such as Yammer.
Simon Budd, Tellonline, Plymouth, Devon, U.K.
The trend is definitely a movement toward using the tools and technology found in CXM solutions. The ability to personalize user experience and increase the automation of communications is as invaluable in an intranet scenario as that on a website.
Daren Hawes, Web Design Magic, Sydney, Australia
Businesses of all sizes will understand the benefits of an Intranet. Though till now it seems that only large organizations have intranets, with affordable out-of-the-box solutions, more and more businesses will leverage the technology and reap the benefits. At the same time, more customer-experience oriented features traditionally only found on public-facing websites will find their way onto intranets.
Markus de Haan, Datacon, Tilburg, The Netherlands
The latest main trend has been cloud and SaaS (Software as a Service) adoption. Organizations are not just opting for out-of-the-box SaaS instead of on-premises or heavily customized applications, but are using the cloud as part of their infrastructure strategy; using Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to remove the burden of hardware support and upgrades. This leads to a scenario in which companies are using a mixture of existing on-premises applications, applications on an IaaS level and SaaS. An example of this -- where sales/customer information is stored within a SaaS application (such as SalesForce), an HR application is located on an IaaS infrastructure, and project information is located in an on-premises application. So a main trend or challenge for intranets in the coming years will be to overcome issues with integrating these.
Franz Pikal and Hans-Peter Zillner, CSS team, Vienna, Austria
In our experience there are three big trends:
Mobile Client Access -- Nowadays people are used to accessing information and communicating using their smartphones and tablets. The corporate intranet is no exception to this trend. Therefore you should consider a responsive design approach when planning a new intranet. Of course you should discuss security issues and policies with the company’s IT department.
Social Media Features -- Young employees spend a lot of their online life on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Social features within the intranet give employees tools they are not only used to, but are also happy to use. When it suits the company culture, such tools can enrich internal communication.
Enhanced Personalization and Targeting -- To avoid the infamous information overload, it is important to give people the right information at the right time. This key factor for success can be supported by implementing personalization (where the user decides what is important for him or her) and targeting (where the system knows the user’s profile and therefore preselects information).
Editor's Note: Read what Petr has to say about intranets in his 8 Features Intranets Can Steal from Customer Experience Solutions