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Are Intranets still needed in the modern cloud world?

Written by Lanware

Wednesday, 6 September, 2023

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The simple answer… yes! Cloud search and AI have not yet replaced the traditional landing page of the corporate internet browser. The humble intranet still has its place as the navigation aid to discover all the internal news, links, documents and policies of a business.

What is an intranet?

If the internet is the public super information highway, an intranet is an internal version of this, a way to present internal information to the business and critically, provide a way to surface corporate information to the many documents and internal websites or tools to people in the business.

What are the traditional benefits of an intranet?

Intranets have provided a centralised hub for storing and accessing important internal documents, policies, procedures and other information. The centralised nature of this hub traditionally ensures that people can find up-to-date information.

A number of other features such as company news and announcements have also provided a way to reduce the barrage of “All Staff” emails one gets throughout the week, reducing email overload and providing an alternate way of communicating with everyone in the business.

Other typical features of an intranet also include;

  • Secure data sharing
  • Process hubs such as employee onboarding
  • Collaboration workspaces, such as discussion forums

Whilst some of these features have been usurped by different cloud tools, such as Microsoft Teams and Microsoft OneDrive, the challenge of information discovery still remains.

Do you need an intranet if you use Microsoft 365?

Nowadays, a significant portion of company information is stored across Microsoft 365 products, and Microsoft does a great job at providing a search facility to allow you to find information across these products and will helpfully surface the documents, pages etc. that colleagues have been working on.

However, this search functionality requires you to first know what it is you’re looking for. This can be especially difficult for new starters to the business and is exacerbated as an organisation grows as the amount of information generated can be vast and overwhelming.

Intranets can still act as centralised knowledge repositories, using well-structured meaningful navigation, information discovery for documents, policies, and procedures can become more streamlined. This ensures that people in the business have access to accurate and up-to-date information, streamlining decision-making processes and reducing the risk of misinformation.

A modern intranet, built on SharePoint Online, included as part of Microsoft 365, is the natural place to become the corporate hub of all the information, news, documents and links that everyone is always looking for.

Is SharePoint the right tool for an intranet within Financial Services?

SharePoint Online, as an intranet tool, offers a host of benefits that enhance internal communication, collaboration, and organisational efficiency. Its centralised platform serves as a repository for important documents, policies, and information, ensuring that employees have quick and secure access to accurate data.

SharePoint’s robust collaboration features, such as shared workspaces, document co-authoring, and real-time communication tools, foster seamless teamwork among geographically dispersed teams. Customisable intranet sites allow organisations to tailor the platform to their branding and workflow, promoting a sense of identity and engagement. With its integration capabilities, SharePoint streamlines processes by connecting with other tools and systems, saving time and reducing redundancies.

Overall, SharePoint empowers organisations to improve communication, collaboration, and knowledge sharing within a secure and user-friendly intranet environment.

Is SharePoint secure?

The cloud might have broken down geographical barriers, but it has also introduced new challenges for data security. A SharePoint intranet can provide a controlled and secure environment for sensitive information. By keeping critical data within the organisation’s SharePoint site, in addition to utilising the security features of Microsoft 365, a SharePoint intranet can mitigate the risks associated with security incidents by introducing access controls, document controls, retention policies and encryption. This heightened security is especially crucial for financial services where compliance and data protection are paramount.

Do smaller financial services firms need an intranet?

Whilst intranets have typically fallen into the realms of larger organisations as they require significant development effort, the challenges presented for information discovery are prevalent across all sizes of organisations. The use of SharePoint Online as part of Microsoft 365 provides a simple and familiar experience for developing a basic intranet solution.

As part of the Lanware Finance Forward 365 solution, financial services firms can take advantage of a templated SharePoint Online intranet offering, tailored to the financial services sector and providing a simple way to get started with building an intranet that solves the challenges of information discovery.

 

Webinar: Thanks to SharePoint – Intranets are back in Vogue. Discover your potential.

30 November

Discover how to use Microsoft SharePoint to its full potential and quickly build your own modern intranet for your financial services business.

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