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5 Mission-Critical Characteristics of a Great Intranet Platform

So, your company needs an intranet platform. But intranets are the worst. They're out-of-date, overwhelming, and so unattractive. Worst of all, they're static.

You need more, you deserve better, and you want to devote your time and money to a project that will make your employees' jobs easier.

If you're looking to make an investment in a solution that is intelligent, useful, and timeless, you need an intranet platform that will grow with you. Here are 5 intranet characteristics that are absolutely non-negotiable.

Cloud-Based Integrations

Welcome to the 21st century, where nothing good is installed on-premises. If it's not in the cloud, it's not easily accessible. If it's not easily accessible, it won't be adopted. And if it's not adopted, it's a waste of money.

Employees are increasingly drawn to organizations that make it easy for them to work when and where it's most convenient for them. Providing a cloud-based solution means that you're giving your workforce the freedom to make choices that allow them to do their best work. As Gartner tells us, allowing your users to make important decisions increases engagement.

Flexible Content Management System

In order to keep your employees engaged, you must be able to publish fresh content to your intranet on a regular basis. If the ability to deliver content rests solely on IT's shoulders, you'll end up with a major productivity bottleneck. To ensure that messaging, announcements, and news updates are delivered in a timely manner, you need an intranet platform with a CMS that supports non-technical users.

As an added bonus, a CMS that provides one-touch translation eases the reliance on IT even further. It also stretches the reach of your messaging and delights end users even more than the new content does. Because if there's one thing an audience craves, it's content created for and delivered to them. Which leads me to the next mission-critical intranet platform characteristic.

Personalization Capability

Information overload and inability to find relevant content are two of the top intranet concerns. Providing enterprise search functionality can solve the findability issue, but to deliver truly relevant experiences, you need a more powerful personalization solution.

"Personalization capabilities must be two-sided. Content creators need to tailor information to precise audiences, but employees should also be able to set their own preferences."

McKinnon, C. (2020, June 16). The Forrester WaveTM: Intranet Platforms, Q2 2020


The concept of enhanced personalization in the modern intranet makes me think back to a paper we produced several months ago. It's called The Innovation Gap, and it's centered around the idea that workplace technology hasn't kept pace with personal technology.

For example, you can't get much more personalized than social media. Take your Facebook news feed, for example. Your feed includes updates from your friends and family, and the occasional add. The order in which posts appear is derived from a complex algorithm defined by you explicitly, and by your previous behavior, as collected by the backend technology (not-so-explicitly). But the end result is a social experience perfectly customized to you as a unique human being, powered by a combination of technology and human interaction.

My point is that the technology exists, and there's no reason it shouldn't be used by organizations far and wide to deliver the best intranet experiences to their employees. Imagine being able to decide what you prefer to see each day, all the while knowing that there's a back end technology safety net that ensures that you'll see everything that you need to see, whether or not you subscribe to it.

If that doesn't sound super exciting, imagine no longer having to sift through irrelevant information in the hopes of finding something useful. That's the true value of personalized intranet experiences.

Total Design Control

If the intranets you've interacted with look like long lists of links on an otherwise blank page, you'll be happy to know that modern intranets don't need to look like that anymore. Nor should they.

An intranet is a representation of your organization's brand, mission, and values. It should be as well-designed as your external web site. It needs brand colors, an intuitive user interface, bold messaging, and the technology to deliver every feature you want.

The point is that with the right platform powering your modern intranet, you can achieve the look and feel that works best for your employees.

Actionable Interface

This is the part where we really knock your socks off. In the intranets of the days of yore, information was pushed to you, and all you could do was consume the content and then leave.

But an intranet can, and should, be so much more. There should be an element of back-and-forth. It should be a vehicle for two-way communication to and from employees, the business, and the integrated applications.

I'll give you an example. One of my friends works in Marketing at another company. Every month, she forgets to forward her Shutterstock invoice to the Finance team. So someone on the team has to send an email reminder, she has to log into Shutterstock, download the PDF, and email it. It's not difficult. It's not time-consuming. But it's tedious, and they do the same dance every single month.

One day, I was explaining to her what our software does, and she immediately thought of her Shutterstock receipts. Because with a modern intranet powered by today's technology (like the Akumina EXP), the items you see in your intranet are not just informational; they're actionable. So she can see an alert that allows her to, without leaving the intranet, click a button in the notification window and send that Shutterstock invoice to the Finance department. No email correspondence required, no logging in to third-party systems, no multi-step procedures. Just a click of a button.

So, you see, the intranet is no longer a dirty word. It's now loaded with potential and promise. To truly make an impact on your workforce, consider these 5 mission-critical characteristics for your modern intranet.

Interested in a demo of Akumina's employee experience platform? Book one now!