Leapfrog the Intranet—work is not a destination!

Sitrion ONE: The award-winning employee app

Just recently, we celebrated our relationship with Microsoft and my comment about “Work is not a destination” caused quite some feedback. The discussion basically circled around the question: Do we need an Intranet? The short answer is: No! The long answer is more complex. The idea of an intranet sounded great 10-15 years ago in a desktop world. All the things you needed in one place, a portal to your work. But just like web portals failed (hey Yahoo), the concept of a central destination to jump to special destinations is seriously flawed.

Do we need an Intranet? The short answer is: No!

Destinations are optimized for the systems owner and not for working people. HR portals or Intranet homepages help nobody except those who own those pages. There is no person in your company that is paid to go to online places. Work is not a destination, not offline and not online. Work is creation, caring, interacting, and collaborating or as one of my more outspoken friends says: “It's about getting sh*t done.”

Leapfrog the Intranet

If you’re tasked to relaunch the Intranet: run! There is no upside in building a new intranet. You’ll fight the political fight over real-estate with dozens of other teams or application owners and you end up with an adoption that barely justifies the investment. Let’s face it. The Intranet is dead - just like the desktop is dead

"If you're tasked to relaunch the Intranet: Run!"

So how can we deliver value to our employees in a more modern, personal way? To address this, let me illustrate two use cases and why the current form of delivery has failed and also provide some ideas on how to improve this.

Internal Communication

Reaching your people is a key aspect of powerful communication. And people have chosen mobile as their preferred channel: Smartphone penetration is de facto complete and smartphone users spend close to 3 hours on their mobile device. In their Q4 Financials, Facebook reported 1.23bn DAU (daily active users), with 1.15bn mobile DAU. A staggering 66% of those use mobile as their exclusive channel.
 
My point: 2/3 of your people don’t want your newly designed Intranet. They want everything on their mobile device. If you analyze this further, you find that employees use small moments during the day, e.g. on the way to lunch, waiting for a meeting or call, to read communication, news and work instructions for their job. Those mobile moments make a big difference in your employees’ engagement and productivity.

People Services

The ‘hyperlink’ is probably the biggest inhibitor of innovation in the workplace. Instead of bringing the services to the people, we go the easy way and link to solutions and hide services behind links on the Intranet. If you have a forced landing page with links to mandatory services (e.g. HR), you’re likely to see a massive drop of Intranet adoption. The core issue with the Intranet is the complete lack of context and often personalization. Political forces fight for real estate and even the tiniest service gets a link. Why does it take more time to get a day off than booking a flight on Expedia or buying a birthday gift on Amazon?
 
We’re all very different people. I care for different things than you do. My HR needs are different than yours. I am running a company, you run a communications team or help employees to develop their skills. That is the moment to leverage the true power of an employee app. Employee services (HR, travel, expenses, POs) reach people directly, and only those services that really matter are provided. You can notify the employee about critical updates and tasks to drive satisfaction and adoption.

“The Intranet was a great milestone, but the future is mobile.”

All the data points to an end of the Intranet era. This is just another step to focus on work, not the destination or location. The simple fact is, the Intranet was a great milestone on our journey to make work better, but the future is here and it’s mobile. 
 
See how we are making work better in the real world with our Sitrion ONE ‘day-in-the-life’ employee stories.

Daniel Kraft, CEO & President

Daniel Kraft is the President & CEO of Sitrion. He is passionate about innovation in the workplace, with a particular interest in social collaboration, mobile work style and the integration of work and life. He is public speaker on various topics involving employee engagement and productivity and has been featured on TEDx. Daniel has held executive positions in several leading enterprise software companies and worked in North America, Europe and Asia. He is married and has five children.

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