Redesigning the Intranet: How CMS Technologies & Social Tools Engage & Excite

Usually, the words ‘intranet’ and ‘exciting’ aren’t used together in the same sentence. But the days of traditional intranets serving as pure document repositories are long gone.

The explosion of social tools and CMS technologies has given birth to the next generation of dynamic websites, including the corporate intranet. Once viewed as dry, stale sites — the corporate intranet is now coming to life as innovative tools and technologies are reaching beyond the public sphere and being applied to private, employee-centered websites. And thanks to popular social tools like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, employees are now looking for internal communications to be as easily accessible, relevant, and digestible as their social media feeds.

Regardless of the catalyst, it is safe to say that we’ve seen a steady increase in demand for exciting and engaging intranets, anchored by the hottest CMS website design. It’s no surprise, with more and more workers dispersed across locations and functional teams, companies are searching for new and better ways to communicate, collaborate, share information and build community.

According to estimations by McKinsey Global Institute, “social technologies can raise the productivity of interaction workers in large organizations by 20 to 25 percent if they become fully networked enterprises.” These newer, non-traditional intranets enable companies to take advantage of the latest technologies to design fun, engaging and collaborative sites that provide two-way communications and ubiquitous information for users.

In the past, intranets were just a collection of links and static pages with company information and repositories of documents for employees to access. These traditional intranets are referred to as “push platforms” because the information is produced in advance and pushed out via one-way communication to serve anticipated needs. The problem with this approach is that it actually inhibits internal communications and prevents members of an organization from easily collaborating and engaging with one another in a meaningful way.

We recently worked with a large media organization to solve this exact problem and implement a next generation intranet site built on Ektron’s CMS technology platform. The company wanted to take its internal communications to the next level and foster an inclusive culture by providing “…more, better and different kinds of communications.” They envisioned a widely accessible intranet that encouraged real-time communications modeled after popular social media networking tools — enabling employees to follow, like, post and build personalized circles; as well as easily find relevant content.

Celerity worked with the company to help it achieve its vision for a “social, relevant, and accessible” intranet site in less than 10 months. Today the company boasts a lively and engaging site that features:

    • Social networking capabilities
    • Distributed content contribution
    • Dynamic events calendar
    • External news feeds
    • Comprehensive employee profiles
    • Extensive search capabilities
    • Interactive employee lifecycle
    • A mobile accessible version

These are exciting times in the intranet world and more and more organizations are seeking this same type of user experience. We remember the first time we were asked to work on an intranet project and how boring we thought it would be. Well, that tune has changed and we are enjoying these implementations as much as we do when working on public facing sites.

So our question for you is: how engaging is your intranet?