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The heavy lifting of choosing a new intranet

Yellow crane against a blue sky.

The heavy lifting of choosing a new intranet

This is a guest article from our friend, Jenni Field.

“We need an intranet.”

“We need to review our intranet to make sure it’s doing what it needs to do.”

“We need to explore what the future looks like digitally to make sure we are up to date with where we should be.”

These are three statements we regularly hear from clients looking at their internal communication infrastructure. While SharePoint has taken the organisational world by storm, there are still lots of organisations not wedded to Microsoft and there are many more not wedded to SharePoint as the solution, despite having Office 365 licences.

But the task of finding out what is out there, what’s right for your organisation and what the future holds in a fast-moving industry is daunting. It’s why teams reach out to consultants like me and the team at ClearBox Consulting. The task ahead is just too hard because, where do you even start?

When I was given a copy of the latest report to review, I was looking forward to finding out more about some of the tools and platforms I’m familiar with and learning a bit more about those I might not know. I have read the ClearBox reports before and shared them with clients because they are invaluable in their insights. So, what does 2022’s report tell us and why am I writing about it?

Report cover. Free.

What you can learn from the free report

Firstly, it tells me that an intranet is no longer an intranet. The new phrase, employee experience platform (used in addition to intranet) is one that is only just coming across my desk. While it’s fresh terminology for me, it completely makes sense when I think about the conversations we have about mapping the internal communications strategy to the employee life cycle. That is the employee experience, so having it mapped to the digital infrastructure of an organisation makes sense.

There is a great mix of platforms in this report; from those that need SharePoint to those that don’t work with SharePoint at all. It doesn’t matter what your current IT strategy is, there will be something in here to help you explore the digital internal communication solution for your organisation.

I love that the scoring is based on scenarios. When we look at digital solutions, we have to look at the user stories. Reviewing the different platforms based on these broad aspect of the end user experience highlights the importance of remembering that organisations are made up of people. And while technology is important, we have known for years that technology is no silver bullet.

Why this report is important for improving internal communication

I help organisations go from chaos to calm by helping them improve communication. As well as the bigger picture and consultancy around alignment to strategy, this often includes reviewing internal communication strategies and advising on solutions to calm the chaos, and sometimes those solutions are digital. When you work with organisations in a variety of industries, with varying employee numbers and organisations based around the world, the technology options are vast. I have yet to work with a client that has exactly the same requirement and requires exactly the same solution. It’s why I say in my book, Influential Internal Communication that:

“It’s just not possible to take a cookie cutter approach to helping diminish the chaos when the core component in organizations is people.”

ClearBox has done the hard work here. It’s a weighty report at nearly 800 pages, but the breakdown of the data and the ability to easily see the elements that are right for you means that you won’t be trawling through 800 pages of information. The independence of the reviews is reassuring and I don’t know anywhere else where the heavy lifting is being done and made accessible to everyone.

I already have several clients I need to share this report with to help them think about next steps as we work through the focus groups, surveys and interviews to gather the data to work out the best solution for them. If a new intranet is on your radar this year, download a free copy, read the first section to understand how to read the report and dive in.

Download the latest PDF for free and get the ClearBox reviews of 33 intranet systems. Updated with revised reviews 3rd October 2022.

Jenni Field

Jenni is an international speaker, author, podcaster and business communications strategist.

In a career spanning nearly 20 years she has worked in defence, retail and hospitality as well as not-for-profit. It is this experience that contributed to the development of The Field Model™ and her book, Influential Internal Communication which was published in April 2021.

Before setting up Redefining Communications, Jenni worked as a Communications Director for a global pharmaceutical business and prior to that she was Global Head of Communications for a FTSE 250 hospitality business.

Jenni is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), she is a Chartered practitioner and is qualified in internal communication.

Connect with Jenni on Linkedin and Twitter.

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