Getting Into Intranet

Flat design illustration concepts for creative process, big data filter, data tunnel, analysis concept Everyone has their morning routine:  drive intowork, fire up your laptop (which is likely outdated making this a twenty-minute activity), and settle in to enjoy your second K-cup of the morning. What comes next is a mixture of checking various devices, logging into multiple networks, and attending various meetings in multiple locations all in hopes of connecting with those in your business.

Now, call me crazy but I’m one that’s partial to simplification. But the modern business landscape seems to have other ideas. It’s true, the office is more accessible than it has ever been but that’s not to say this accessibility doesn’t have strings, or cords, attached. We now have the ability to work from home, however, you must be set up to connect to the company’s network if you want access to the same files you have at work. We have email on our phones, but anyone who has ever tried the frustrating task of opening and analyzing a spreadsheet on a six-inch screen knows it’s hardly ideal. We have created a situation where over-accessibility has led to a dramatic decrease in the quality of communication. In fact, I think the whole thing can be summed up best by the Drew Barrymore and her character from “He’s Just Not That Into You”

I had this guy leave me a voicemail at work so I called him at home and then he e-mailed me to my Blackberry and so I texted to his cell and then he e-mailed me to my home account and the whole thing just got out of control… now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting.”

Now, while our movie star example might have been referencing her love life, I think we can spin this to be applicable to business. This is the conundrum of modern day communication. As business professionals, we now have multiple ways and devices to connect with one another but those efforts always seem to end up scattered and require an inordinate amount of attention. Any manager will tell you wasted attention and scattered communication efforts lead to lower productivity, and as we all know, low productivity means wasted dollars.

With this transitive train of thought in motion, management is left to wonder how to get the collective on the same page and moving in the right direction. If only there was some magical solution that has been developed that can allow individuals to communicate and share all things work-related in one single place no matter what device is being used. Lucky for us someone thought that same thing, and they were technically inclined enough to do something about it. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the INTRANET!

An intranet (by definition) is a local or restricted communications network, especially a private network. While intranets have been around a while, companies have been utilizing the corporate intranet more frequently in an effort to increase collaboration and productivity in the workplace – and not to anyone’s surprise, it’s had resounding results.

 

 

 

 

 

These include but aren’t limited to:

  • 5X more likely to result in an increase in employment
  • 2X more likely to be profitable
  • 2X as likely to outgrow competitors of similar size who lack an intranet
  • Reduced costs
  • Improved interdepartmental relationships
  • Improved relationships with customers and suppliers
  • Increased transparency in the organization

 

How can one simple tool achieve all these things? It’s not rocket science; it’s just a matter of organization. Through providing employees with features like centralized accessible knowledge and quick comprehensive search techniques, individuals can find what they need when they need it. The solution breaks down would-be silos enabling individuals to respond quickly and effectively to problems. And above all, it gives members of your community access to the system anywhere.

So this should be an easy fix, right? Run to Office Max and grab yourself an intranet and everything is going to be a-ok? Wrong. An intranet is not a one-size-fits-all solution. With this in mind, the question becomes: how can you ensure your company implements the right intranet solution to accomplish your business goals?

Some might suggest that building your own network is the way to go. Who knows you better than you, am I right? According to a recent Modalis Research Technology survey, the average costs associated with building an intranet are about $40,000 and it can take up to 15 months to implement. I’m not sure about you but my organization generally likes our solutions to be implemented at a faster pace than that.

So an out-of-the-box solution surely must be the way to go because it’s cheap, easy, and effective right? Unfortunately, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. These all-in-one intranets provide limited opportunity for customization and often lack specific desired components. This means instead of adjusting pain points within the application, you will be left to cope and adjust your way of doing things to adhere to the parameters of the new tool. And that’s not to mention you will have the New Year’s Day-sized headache of trying to integrate this solution into your current systems and networks.

So what could be the true golden ticket of intranets described in the intro of this article? The solution comes from the SharePoint on the Cloud and Microsoft 365 technologies. Utilizing these two products and a trusted SharePoint developer like Synergy Computer Solutions means your company could receive all the aforementioned intranet benefits.

The main component to a useful intranet is the platform it’s built on. There is no doubt that the autonomy and features of SharePoint on a Microsoft 365 cloud platform allow you to benefit from all these perks no matter what your company’s needs may be. With the flexibility SharePoint gives its’ users, your intranet can be designed to incorporate as many or as few elements as your company needs. Furthermore, due to Microsoft’s new version of the program, the entire solution can now be accessed via mobile device without issue. Combine this with the competitive rates and comprehensive security that Microsoft 365 cloud services provides, your company will find itself in a much more economical and secure situation.

The customization that this suite of applications provides is also key because, as we know, no two companies are the same and each firm requires specific features tailored to their way of doing business. Some organizations want a simple build centered on document storage while others might want a social style intranet focused on connecting employees through chat rooms, message boards, and video conferencing applications. Either way, these projects need to be done right and deployed in a reasonable amount of time to prove useful. By utilizing SharePoint on the Cloud, and Microsoft 365 coupled with an expert SharePoint development team, this dream of productivity and connectivity can become a reality.

But what if you don’t have an in-house team of SharePoint experts at your disposal? Well, this is where the final piece of the connectivity puzzle comes in. You know you need an intranet, and you know what you want its capabilities to be based on your business needs. Now, you just need a partner to bring it on home. Enter Synergy and our IntraKonnect Solution.

IntraKonnect can be customized to scale up for organizations with thousands of people working remotely or scaled down to be a valuable tool for small businesses alike. With the ability to create a searchable document repository, house and play multiple movies in a YouTube style format, or allow your employees to connect through WhatsApp-style messaging and Skype for Business-style conferencing, IntraKonnect can provide the boost in collaboration your firm needs to take it to the next step.

This all comes delivered in one organized and streamlined dashboard by bringing you a custom built SharePoint solution, that can be housed on the cloud. Looking for a one-stop-shop style intranet that can connect your entire company? Yeah, We DO THAT.

Why Settle for “Good Not Great”

 

imgresWe all have that one thing in our home or office we literally hate using. Just think of the movie Office Space, Mr. Niena…..Nineana …Niniajhad?..however you say it, literally was swinging for the fence like Prince Fielder due to his problems with copy machine paper jams. For me it’s my snow blower, I can never get the darn thing to start, and when it does, it never works properly. Despite how much I hate it, you won’t see is me going all 1950’s and shoveling the drive way. Why? Because I have a small frame and can’t stand when I hit a crack in the cement and impale myself with the shovel handle (don’t lie, you’ve been there) Does it stop me from wishing there was something better out there? Sadly, no.

 

Can anyone else think about another product like this? One that does a lot of things better than average but not good enough to stop you from looking for something better? According to the Newsroom by Gartner Technologies, that other product would be Microsoft SharePoint. It’s widely known that Microsoft SharePoint is present in many an office building across the country, maybe even the world. What is less evident is that many professionals view working in SharePoint like eating crappy pizza after a long night out. In some aspect you’re disappointed, but then again part of you is still saying, “Meh. Any pizza is better than no pizza.” When Jeffrey Mann, Research Vice President at Gartner was asked about SharePoint, he replied:

 

A large part of its success comes from providing reasonable support for most of the things, most people, need most of the time. Together with support from the third-party developer ecosystem, this brand promise has made SharePoint widely deployed. However, few end users really love using it. It remains a tool that people are required to use, not one they want to use.”

 

imgresSo what we can gather here is we have something that professionals are using on a day to day basis that does things well enough, but no one really knows how or bothers to optimize it, or find a way to make it streamlined and practical. Typical approach right?
Remember the tale of the snow blower? Well had I taken the time to read the manual or asked for an expert opinion, I would have known hitting the primer button 20 times wouldn’t make it start any faster, and running it with the choke wide open wouldn’t help get me a clear driveway.

 

Same thing applies here, if companies would take the time or invest the funds to actually not just pay for the product but harness the powerful application they have available and properly allocate it’s abilities to better accomplish tasks, it would clear up ill feelings about the program rather quickly.  In fact one of SharePoint’s strengths is it’s versatility and ability to be customized, yet few people know or can take advantage of it. Tell me, how backwards is that? Your company hands you a square peg and everyday asks you to fit it into a round hole, repeatedly! I’d be frustrated to the point where my face changes color, might even switch jobs. Only thing is, you would likely run into the same issue at the next stop. Why? Because this problem is widespread and many companies won’t ask for help due to cost or lack of awareness. Mr. Mann continued to say:

 

We regularly hear end users and administrators complain about features or user-experience improvements that they would like to see in SharePoint. Although they want new functionality, they are less keen to have more upgrades, which are seen as expensive, disruptive and time-consuming.

 

So again this begs the question: instead of spending money aimlessly for people to use something they are not sure they like, why would you not outsource?  It’s been noted above a large part of the success of SharePoint in everyday business happens when you pair it with a third party as mentioned earlier. Why fight it? There is no shame in admitting an outside company can help you utilize something better than your current resources can. If this leads to you better utilizing and allocating your efforts, then it should be a no brainer.

 

What it comes down to is we have to get out of our way.  There is no shame contracting out a third party expert, much like there is no shame in reading the instructions.  Often times the cost of confiding in a SharePoint expert is less than that of the cumulative man-hours wasted with people fumbling around more than the Detroit Lions do on the field and in the front office. In the end, what you will end up with will be a better working program that gets the job done. You will have scored major points for streamlining your process and making your company’s SharePoint experience a walk in the park rather than dinner at your in-laws.