Since about 1994, the intranet has been the primary internal communications hub for many businesses. That said, research tells us that fewer than 50% of employees use their organisation’s intranet on a regular basis yet people pick up their phone more than 85 times a day. This begs the question, what is the point of an intranet, and would your staff be better served by a mobile app?
Don’t get us wrong, intranets have performed an important function for the past couple of decades, particularly within larger organisations. As a resource for storing accessible information and company assets, sharing expertise and ideas, and creating a project management hub, the concept is a good one. However, the delivery mechanism is no longer fit for purpose in our smartphone age.
Furthermore, there’s a growing body of evidence showing that it makes good business sense to invest in workplace apps, yet employers are slow to respond to the needs of their workforce. For instance, research shows that mobile apps can boost productivity by more than 34%, yet 59% of employees feel that their organisation isn’t working fast enough to address the need for apps.
Still need convincing? Here are seven more arguments to consider:
1. Mobile accessibility
The majority of intranets aren’t mobile-friendly so they are only really useable from a desktop or laptop. With employees frequently working remotely or spending a considerable proportion of their working lives on the road, this presents a major barrier for employee engagement.
2. Efficient use of time
It’s often the case that many members of staff are involved in the upkeep of an intranet, managing documents, uploading and deleting files, updating and organising information, yet all of this time and effort is wasted if their colleagues aren’t using the resource. A user-friendly app is not only easier to manage and keep updated but is likely to be used daily by employees, whether they are at their desk in the office or out in the field.
3. Cumbersome vs compact
While an intranet can act as an encyclopaedia of your business, with absolutely everything you need in one place, it can also be a cumbersome experience to use it. An app can contain all the same information, but rather than feeling as though you’re trawling through the Yellow Pages looking for that vital nugget of information, a smartphone app is a superfast rolodex of data – your entire company in your pocket.
4. Responsive to your needs
The interactive nature of an app means that the information can respond to your needs in the here and now. Going to a regional office and need to know how you get there? Use the interactive map and directions. Want to find out more about a colleague before you meet them? Click through to their social media profile pre-meeting. Want to voice your opinion on a hot topic? Use the polling and survey function to share your point of view.
5. Job-specific functionality
On an intranet, you may have to trawl through vast swathes of information to find the bits which relate to you and your job. In an app everything can be tailored for your role and function, so all your training support, assets and data, tools and documents are at your fingertips.
Internal communications is a two-way street and the beauty of an app is the ease with which employees can provide instant feedback to your organisation. Whether you want to conduct a formal employee survey or just gather comments and input on something, it’s a quick and simple process. Users can comment on others’ draft documents, share ideas, amend information and it’s all trackable too.
7. Cost/benefit no brainer
As explained by Techwalla, considerable investment (both upfront and ongoing) is required to create and manage an intranet: “Intranets aren’t just costly to implement, they have to be maintained. Costs to consider regarding your intranet include software updates, server upgrades, training of new employees, and consultancy regarding intranet improvements and modifications. A company with an intranet network will also need a full-time IT staff to maintain the network, keep computers connected, and deal with problems as they arise.” In comparison, an app is likely to be much more affordable.
If your organisation is still grappling with an unwieldy intranet, or needs to update its internal communications framework, Communicator App could be the answer. Contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your needs and how we can help.