One of the main reasons for getting an intranet is to optimize the organization and sharing of information. A small company can generate a tremendous amount of knowledge, which can get chaotic much too soon.
According to research from McKinsey, the typical employee spends 20% of their time looking for internal information or tracking down teammates to help with specific tasks. However, they also found that the use of a social technology can slash this time and raise productivity levels by 20 to 25 percent.
So, if you’re vetting intranet vendors and are looking for the top solution when it comes to organizing your files in a single place, we’ve rounded up the top intranet document management features that you should be on the lookout for.
In case you want more information on the best intranets, we’ve actually put together a roundup of the best intranet vendors with smart choices for all sorts of business needs.
That same study from McKinsey, titled The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies, also found that features such as a searchable record of knowledge can reduce the time that employees spend looking for information by as much as 35%.
A good search engine within an intranet should show you recommendations for what you may be looking for as soon as you type the first syllables. Further, it should also be able to locate more than one version of the same document, provided that they also do version control (as they should).
Lastly, a good intranet should also let you add tags to certain documents so they become associated with them as metadata. With proper organization, this is a sure-fire way of enabling people to find what they are looking for in just a few seconds.
Whether it’s Microsoft Sharepoint, Google Drive, or Dropbox, having your intranet sync seamlessly with what you’re already using can be make or break. As a digital workplace, it is crucial for modern intranet software to integrate with at least one of these. The top vendors integrate with all of them, at least via API.
However, the functionality and extent of each integration may vary a lot. Some vendors have cloud-based syncing only and send you to the drive in question when you open a file. Others let you open or at least preview any document without having to leave the intranet, which leads us to the third most important feature:
Some intranets are built around specific document management software, such as Happeo with Google Drive or IntranetPro with Sharepoint. In such cases, you can even edit documents, manage versions, and leave comments right in the same platform.
Most intranet vendors strive to enable organizations to gather all their people, conversations, knowledge, and important documents in a single hub. Adding real-time collaboration and document creation to this equation takes the idea of a social intranet to a whole other level.
Of course, “editing capabilities” is just one way of putting it. Some vendors go the extra mile with this principle and retain the same features of the document management solution right in their intranet. You can drag and drop. You can see previous versions. There’s bulk uploading and downloading. All sorts of customizations are possible.
The whole purpose of an intranet is to save time, which is why having workflows and automation within the document lifecycle is also essential. A survey from Harris interactive found that as many as 92% of knowledge workers still used email to edit and manage documents in 2014. With email still eating up nearly 30% of the average employee’s time, one should certainly look for ways to cut back on unnecessary email usage.
Within an intranet document management system, the workflow feature takes many shapes and forms depending on the vendor. In general, it should let you create sequences of steps that need to happen with certain documents, like an approval process before a file is publicly shared, or automatically creating documents from a template when certain actions are met.
A recent study by VMware found that making apps highly accessible from any device makes an overwhelming difference in performance. For example, 63% of respondents said that a digital workplace with high accessibility increased their personal productivity, and 77% said that it helped them accelerate their decision making.
When vetting an intranet vendor and looking at their document management features, make sure to keep an eye out for how these perform on the mobile version. You can ask to see certain actions during the demo, or use the free trial to find out for yourself. Key content management tasks such as editing a doc, going through comments, or adding data to an excel sheet should be easily done in a mobile device if the intranet is to have its expected outcome in your organization.
If you’re serious about getting an intranet platform, and getting it to a high adoption rate within your company faster than the lifecycle of an internet meme, it’s great that you’re looking beyond social features. An intranet with stellar document management capabilities, like those of a full-fledged document management system, is certainly a reality.
Now that you know which features to concentrate on when it comes to the knowledge management side of your next intranet, you’re better prepared to have productive demos and free trials. To help you out, you can always use our HR & Recruitment Software Buying Organizer.
Remember, a good intranet is supposed to make people’s lives at work easier. That’s where other metrics like employee engagement and job satisfaction will find their bedrock. For that to happen, the intranet has to address concerns that go beyond internal communication but are also part of any employee’s day to day.
This post originally appeared on SelectSoftware's blog where we write about the latest in HRTech.