15 years ago we started with two employees. Everything was fine, and all the company’s information was in their heads. There was no need for knowledge-sharing tools, as they talked all day every day.
However, as is the case with a lot of companies, we grew. And as we did, so too did the team, and the business knowledge we were creating. Once keeping information on hard drives or sharing via email became untenable, we started a OneDrive account to house all our information.
Initially, this was fantastic. Our four or five employees had access to a system with sub-folders for clients, and a repository of all the various information we needed. However, fast forward another few years and we were up to ten employees, with our shared drive growing steadily.
The team were trying to find sensible places within the drive to store information, and creating new folders that make sense to them. Fast forward another five years and there were fifteen of us. The shared drive was in complete chaos, and no one could navigate the hundreds of sub-directories. No one knew anyone else's logic around file naming. There were probably 20 versions of key documents in different parts of the drive, but no one knew which one was the most recent.
At this point we thought: hang on a minute, we build intranets for our customers which, whilst largely focusing around communications and large-scale corporate functionality, have an element of knowledge-sharing. We could create our own intranet, as a means to store our business knowledge. All we needed was somewhere to put all this stuff and to organise the chaos inside this OneDrive, and so we started to create SMLWRLD Essential.
SMLWRLD Essential began as a basic intranet, in which articles and documents could be organised into categories that made sense for our company.
Over the years everyone had got into the habit of adding stuff to the intranet, so the migration wasn't necessarily straightforward at first. People were used to saving information on their desktops and the OneDrive, so it meant a little bit of hassle uploading it all to the intranet.
However, as our team continued to grow, it became apparent that for new starters who lacked experience, it was a necessity that everything was on the intranet. From this point on, when we started projects we would put somebody in charge of making sure the intranet contained all the information that a new team member would need.
The Quick Links dashboard evolved over a number of years. We started out putting content on the homepage which didn't make a huge amount of sense in a lot of cases. What we kept on coming back to was the constant need to find various links, until someone came up with the bright idea of just putting all these links on the homepage. Immediately it felt like the perfect solution.
Initially, the Customer Directory was a feature of our bigger corporate intranets that companies used to map their internal organisation. For our purposes it made so much sense to include a directory to manage our customer base.
Bringing these elements together gave birth to the SMLWRLD Essential intranet that we now use every day.