The key to success in business is to have a connected, integrated and involved employee base. All over the world, enterprise-grade intranet portals are currently used in the digital workplace to improve synchronization, store corporate documents, policies and executive directives, and thus, bolster productivity. The right intranet portal can work wonders for your company, delivering tangible results and putting you in a firm position in this day and age of the digital workplace. Having an evolved and highly integrated intranet which focuses heavily on delivering a highly intuitive user experience can be a crucial part of the success of your business.

The Basics of Intranet

The concept of an intranet is very similar to that of the internet, with one major difference - It is a closed and secure network within the scope of a company or a business which cannot be accessed from outside. For businesses, having an intranet portal in place addresses a multitude of problems.

Communication: It opens up smooth communication lines

Synchronization: It ensures that employees and departments are synchronized

Accessibility: Important data can be kept at an accessible place in an organized manner,

Business Processes: Important business procedures like CRM, project management, and productivity tools can be integrated into an intranet seamlessly.

As a terminology, Intranet portals are used widely for any system that facilitates employee collaboration within the corporate confines. However, I believe the entire ecosystem encompasses components far greater than just that. It is a combination of a website, portal and CMS. As per the Intranet Global 2.0 study of 2010, the scores of intranet solutions available today can be classified into 4 key groups –

  1. Content Management Systems
  2. Horizontal Portals such as Liferay
  3. Web development systems
  4. Social Media platforms

While an enterprise-grade intranet solution can be made to cover a lot of ground in terms of features and functionality, its ultimate success and justification lies in its ability to accomplish some core needs as shown below. There are the things that your employees care about, and would surely go on to make a difference for your business –

  • Org-wide Communications: Communication from the management to the employees can come in the form of information, reports, memos and news snippets. Your company intranet should be able to communicate these properly and on time to every single authorized employee.
  • Knowledge Management: The intranet should be able to house organization-wide knowledge base and resources to help your employees do their jobs well. These can include details of experts, people in the field, checklists, process documents, policies, ideas, industry trends and best practices.
  • Socially Engaging Intranets:  The intranet should also present a layer of social collaboration by incorporating features like blogs, wikis, social community forums, micro blogs, social profiles, powerful search, and collaborative idea management
  • Business Process Integration:  All your important business procedures like project management, customer management and process management should be rigorously integrated into your enterprise intranet.
The Modern Concept of Business Intranet

Intranet has evolved tremendously since its inception. Right from starting off as showing a unified welcome message, it has continued to add flavors to emerge as a more holistic system of today’s times. A brief timeline below succinctly depicts the evolution of Intranet 2.0

Ver 1.0 = Uniform welcome message to employees

Ver 1.1 = Simple communications

Ver 1.2 = Advent of basic document management

Ver 1.3 = Transactions such as employee extensions/profile

Ver 1.4 = Advanced document management 

Ver 1.5 = Credential based portal access and management

Ver 2.0 = Real-time news, social media element

Today it not only acts as a bulletin board and corporate document repository, but also provides a search feature and strong collaboration medium that is compatible with mobile and social media.

Open Source VS Commercial, License Based Intranets

An ideal intranet solution is one that is mobile friendly, personalized and works without creating friction. It needs to provide contextual and intuitive solutions for the needs of your employees, and serve as a seamless channel for communication.

One of the main difficulties faced by businesses is to choose whether to work with proprietary intranet solutions, or to go the Open Source route. Both these options have their own list of pros and cons. Here are some compelling points for you to consider –

  • Flexibility: Open Source solutions give you a significant amount of freedom, which is usually missing in proprietary, commercial software. Commercial developers are more concerned with selling their product than providing you with the right solution in most cases, while Open Source software gives you flexibility and control over distribution and customization.
  • Support: While licensed solutions do come with a solid backbone of seasoned, professional support veterans, in reality the need for support might just increase your overheads. Open Source software is ably supported, although informally. The community-based tech support providers are knowledgeable and active, and can supply effective solutions for your problems.  Moreover, at CIGNEX Datamatics, we dedicately support Open Source solutions.
  • Technology Continuity: What happens if your commercial software vendor decides that their intranet solution is no longer viable and pulls it from the shelves? You can avoid that sticky situation with Open Source solutions, which use industry standard language and database platforms and can live as long as you want.
  • Cost: Proprietary intranet solutions are often prohibitively expensive, and costs can easily accumulate over time. Open Source solutions cost nothing to own, and you only pay for specific custom development.

Keeping all these points in mind, the Digital Employee Engagement Platform (DEEP)™ by CIGNEX Datamatics based on Open Source technologies is a viable solution for your modern CMS intranet since it easily integrates with your existing enterprise IT applications. It is an evolved system which can keep up with your business needs, with 250+ customizable features and ready to be deployed within 60 days.  DEEP™ can be deployed on the cloud, on-premise or SaaS model and is scalable to support millions of users and all types of devices (responsive design). Organizations adopting DEEP™ can bring about 50-80% reduction in cost. With focus on collaboration, productivity and access to resources anytime, anywhere; DEEP™ can act as a next generation, agile intranet solution that can meet the dynamic needs of your organization.