To me, business is the ultimate sport. It’s always on. There is always someone trying to beat me.”
Embracing the broader perspective of the above-given quote opens an entirely creative realm of interesting similarities between business and sport. Indeed, from strategy and planning to teamwork and collaboration, you need to focus on goals, performance, and results. Both domains involve certain risks and losses that can be overcome by constantly setting new benchmarks.
‘Benchmarks,’ yes, the standards you set for comparing things or performance, or it can be a product, service, or technology when it comes to business. Simply put, benchmarking sets specific standards that help you improve the process flow to achieve excellence.
Can benchmarking be used when selecting a collaborative platform, such as an intranet, for your workplace? What is intranet benchmarking? This blog, a comprehensive work on intranet benchmarking, will help you create a flawless list of benchmarks and features to help you choose the intranet that suits your business needs.
Why benchmark your intranet?
There is a specific change in the business landscape and work culture due to remote work, flexible schedules, technological integration, and the need to create a collaborative workplace. Modern organizations are highly emphasizing collaborative platforms like intranet to leverage the benefits of employee engagement, effective communication, and faster decision-making.
However, the question is, how to surpass competitors with similar intent, follow the same practices, and use modern intranets more effectively? To this, ‘intranet benchmarking’ is an exclusive answer. Firstly, let’s understand what intranet benchmarking is.
What is intranet benchmarking?
Intranet benchmarking refers to a process that organizations conduct to evaluate the current performance and effectiveness of their digital solution. It ensures that the existing internal communication, collaboration, operations, and workflows are up to the preset standards to achieve operational excellence. Apart from the performance matrices, it also addresses the functionality, usability, interface, and challenges to encompass the holistic user experience.
Apparently, it’s like preparing the fastest car for a race. It is not enough to concentrate on your car when trying to win a race; you must also analyze your competitor’s car. Similarly, intranet benchmarking is a lot more than an internal assessment. Its competitive aspect helps you identify the best practices and aligns your intranet with the prevalent industry standards.
How to effectively benchmark your intranet?
Intranet benchmarking, as a process, is not restricted to organizations with an existing intranet but also offers invaluable guidance to those who are planning to adopt a new solution.
Defining clear objectives for what you are trying to accomplish can be a good idea. And mapping the industry-specific requirements can be your first step. Secondly, choosing the relevant metrics for collaboration, internal communication, user engagement, accessibility, and productivity offers exceptional insights into areas of improvement. Furthermore, developing a comprehensive action plan based on modern workplace trends and best practices will help you fine-tune your intranet’s performance.
To help you define an effective benchmarking process, here is a complete checklist of fundamental matrices to consider while implementing a new or upgrading your existing solution.
A complete checklist to consider to effectively benchmark your intranet
1. Business objectives
Organizations strive to achieve an endless array of goals following different approaches. It can be enhancing customer experience, maintaining quality standards, improving collaboration, or increasing sales. However, highlighting objectives helps you shortlist features that can be your benchmarks for enhanced performance. For instance, if you are aiming to increase sales, you need to invest in a solution that offers faster access to sales resources, promotes cross-functional collaboration, and allows knowledge sharing to replicate a successful sales practice.
2. End user-friendly
An interactive user interface is critical to employee satisfaction, which in turn leads to better employee experience, engagement, and efficiency. Undoubtedly, a user-friendly interface with minimum technical complexities helps users easily navigate the platform, access resources, and even hunt for knowledge on their own. Implementing additional features like personalized sites, widgets, news and announcements, and a robust search mechanism can be an added advantage to boost your end-user experience.
3. Integration capabilities
Modern operational processes are no less than an intricate web of interdependencies. They require flawless integration with CRMs, human resource software, project management systems, and various databases to effectively pull the data. However, switching between multiple software and extracting data from external sources can be time-consuming and cost on your organizational productivity. Creating a platform that can integrate with your existing tools and processes ensures a consistent user experience, making it accessible even without leaving the intranet environment.
Many organizations, despite having an intranet, do not utilize it to its full potential. Unorganized document storage, manual processes, complex workflows, and lesser-engaged platforms can be draining. Well, what if you can customize your intranet, automate your workflows, or create custom widgets or notification settings? Certainly, customization as a benchmark ensures that your intranet is fully aligned with the organizational goals, culture, and processes. With a customizable intranet, you can deliver targeted content, allow or limit access to documents, implement tailored layouts, automate complex workflows, and more.
5. Support and maintenance
Software glitches, network outages, and security risks are not new when you have a digital platform connecting you across different locations. Certainly, regular security updates, performance optimization, and an in-house IT team to maintain your intranet infrastructure often led to increased operational costs. It is essential for organizations to ensure uninterrupted support services for the reliability, performance, and security of their intranet. Furthermore, having dedicated end-user training sessions with certified experts and technical support helps employees interact with the platform with ease, ensuring a smoother and more productive intranet experience.
Must have features to complete your intranet experience
The intranet breathes life into modern organizations; it connects remote workplaces, brings together your resources, and offers a collaborative workplace to keep you thriving. However, remember that ‘choosing the fastest car’ analogy that we mentioned before?
When you consider SharePoint-based intranets, all are the same. But what if all your competitors are using the same solution? Considering the core features that can set you apart from your competitors, or knowing your unique business needs can help. Let’s say, internal communication: Does it impact the overall productivity, employee engagement, and operational efficiency of your organization?
Certainly, having robust internal communication can be a critical factor that can position you ahead of your competitors. We’ll explore more of these features that you should consider while preparing your intranet benchmarking strategy.
1. Internal communication
Internal communication is important for effective employee engagement, knowledge sharing, and brainstorming. And intranets lacking integration with different communication and productivity tools can delay the overall response time and decision-making process. Select a platform that supports open and simpler communication channels where employees can indulge in group discussions and are able to share information, ideas, and opinions for a harmonious work environment.
2. Search functionality
Documents are the lifeblood of contemporary organizations. However, cluttered document repositories, misplaced documents, and data silos restrict employees from accessing the right information when needed. This, in turn, impacts their efficiency and knowledge-sharing abilities. An intranet that allows you to structure document libraries, pin or follow key documents, add metadata to them, and offer an in-place search functionality is undoubtedly a good choice, contributing to a robust document search mechanism.
3. Collaboration features
Lack of collaboration often leads to communication gaps, inefficient workflows, reduced innovation, and siloed organizational structure. However, having a collaborative platform by their side makes it easy for organizations to bring their teams, departments, tasks, and projects together under one roof. While selecting an intranet, ensure it has robust project and task collaboration features for effective control over documents, dependencies, task tracking, and project efficiency.
4. Content reach and user engagement
The key role of an intranet is to effectively manage and distribute information to the end-user. Certainly, organizations need to publish news, articles, and key announcements, initiate discussions, take timely feedback, and promote knowledge sharing to cultivate a culture of employee engagement. However, is the content you post accessible to the employees? Are you able to track the engagement levels of the employees? What features can help you enhance the social interaction and active participation of your employees? Consider these questions to be the core of your intranet benchmarking strategy to display an engaged, innovative, and modern workplace culture.
5. Workflow automation
Redundant and manual business processes are time-consuming and are prone to human errors, leading to reduced organizational efficiency. At the same time, when you streamline the workflows and automate them effectively, it helps you improve the reliability and accuracy of the process. Many processes like employee onboarding, form and document approval, document routing, and feedback collection can be automated using the intranet, ultimately contributing to a consistent workplace experience. So, workflow automation can be a critical benchmark to consider while selecting an intranet.
Experience intranet innovation with BizPortals 365 as your companion
Looking closely at today’s workplace dynamics, we can highlight five fundamental challenges organizations encounter when selecting an intranet. It includes challenging user experience, less employee engagement, complex and time-consuming workflows, non-configurable solutions, and high upkeeping costs. However, a flawless intranet benchmarking strategy outlining the loopholes and requirements of your existing infrastructure can help you choose the perfect fit.
BizPortals 365, a SharePoint-based intranet, is all set to revamp your digital workplace experience. With high-tech features to enhance employee engagement, productivity, and workplace efficiency, it helps you manage tasks, documents, projects, and processes all in one place.
For over two decades, we have specialized in providing collaborative workplace solutions for organizations of all sizes. Our team of Microsoft-certified experts closely assesses the current infrastructure to plan and customize widgets, site structure, themes, workflows, productivity tools, and much more to meet your specific industry requirements. For sure, we can help you check every box on your checklist to benchmark your intranet.