An intranet can mean different things to different companies. For large enterprises, it’s a comprehensive internal tool, designed to help manage a myriad of corporate functions. However, for smaller organisations, the role of an intranet is not always so clear. Which is why we created SMLWRLD Essential, the definitive intranet for small to medium-sized business.
Put simply, the SMLWRLD Essential intranet is somewhere to put stuff, and find it again. The technical term for this is knowledge management. However, people often aren’t sure what that means, and therefore what an intranet does. The best description – and what we tell our prospective clients – is that it is somewhere to store, retrieve and share internal knowledge amongst employees.
The SMLWRLD Essential intranet is an alternative to shared drives like Dropbox or Google Drive, which is where small companies tend to store the bulk of their information. These drives tend to work fine to begin with, but can quickly outgrow themselves.
This is because, as a business grows, so does the knowledge being produced, and companies often end up having hundreds of sub-directories all set up by various team members.
Finding a particular item via the search facilities on these tools can become, quite frankly, a nightmare!
“An intranet is somewhere to create order from the chaos, and keep internal knowledge flowing between employees.”
What is a SMLWRLD Essential intranet?
SMLWRLD Essential has three main components to it. The first is document and article management. Its primary function is as a place to store your documents, policies and other internal information. Each item is tagged and categorised in a practical way that makes sense to the company that owns the intranet.
Further to this, those documents and articles are distributed in a very sensible way around the pages, which in themselves are categorised. Users can browse these pages easily by following the categories, and can preview documents before opening.
Often an easier way to find the right information is via the SMLWRLD Global Search, a search bar which works just like Google. With Global Search a user simply types in keywords, and the results are delivered in an instant. This completely eliminates the need to locate files manually, struggle with Dropbox directories, emails and various folders on company servers, or phone someone who you think might know where a file is. It even protects against a loss of business information when a knowledgeable member of staff leaves your organisation.
A lot of companies also struggle with managing customer information, which is often kept in relatively unreliable formats such as Excel spreadsheets. These spreadsheets were often started by the business owner back in year one, and over time the database has probably gotten too large, and been stored in a shared drive somewhere.
These documents might even get emailed around to different team members, who add their own client information, resulting in different versions being saved. These methods require a lot of management in order to keep on top of the information.
The Essential intranet bypasses all that with its second major functionality, a centrally managed customer directory, which works like a basic form of CRM. The directory shows customer information such as contact information, where they work and project names or contracts that you have with them. The information is searchable via the Global Search, meaning very little time is taken to find the information you need.
Whilst some businesses have tried to solve the issues they are having by using a system such as SharePoint, they often find that team members are passing around URLs and struggling with editing rights. This usually ends up involving other people in order to gain access, which is pretty clunky. In contrast, the Essential intranet provides a central repository for all your customer information which is easy to use and navigate.
The third major component of the Essential intranet is the quick links dashboard. A lot of organisations, particularly tech companies, end up with subscriptions to a variety of cloud-based tools. Most employees grow frustrated with trying to find the URLs for the tools they need, so save them to their internet browser bookmarks. Using a browser to keep track of all these tools can be suitable for more organised employees, but you cannot guarantee that all team members will follow suit.
This is why the homepage of SMLWRLD Essential has a centrally managed dashboard, with quick links down the side which can be easily maintained and updated. It is a single source of truth for all your third-party tools, and provides a practical way to organise tools for all team members, which is particularly useful for new starters.
The quick links can also be used to highlight things like key articles, documents and customer contract-based information. The Essential intranet dashboard acts a hub for all the relevant and key information within your organisation.