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The maturing role of the intranet in 2024

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The ever-evolving technological landscape reaches every corner of an enterprise, uplifting new investment while differentiating outdated tools—including intranets. Often thought of as mere information repositories, modern intranets are posed to facilitate professional growth, frictionless onboarding, employee engagement, and cross-departmental communication that empowers an employee-centric organization.

Mary Kaplan, head of product marketing at LumApps, and Lisa Capra, product marketing manager at LumApps, joined KMWorld’s webinar, 2024 Trends for Your Intranet to examine how intranets can be leveraged to propel an enterprise toward modernity, inviting KM joy that contents every employee.

Kaplan explained that the reality of being an employee today is entirely tied to siloed workflows, repeated work, missed communications, and disengagement.

“Being an employee today does look quite different than it did—for many people—even three years, five years, certainly 20 years ago,” said Kaplan. “A lot of companies are definitely still figuring it out and haven’t settled on what it looks like to be an employee at their company.”

Doing more with less and tightening the metaphorical “purse strings” has pervaded the mindsets of many enterprises—and, as a result, impacted employees. According to a report from VitalSmarts, in recent years, more than 50% of employees have experienced a reduction or restructuring of teams.

While this may not be the fault of companies, Kaplan explained, it will be their problem. Keeping budget and resource waste small while still maintaining an engaging, accessible, and intuitive employee experience will be a key differentiator among businesses in the year to come.

Capra pointed to the following trends that might arise in the next year:

  • Leveraging your intranet to not just inform but also engage, upskill, and ensure satisfaction for every employee
  • Your employees are your greatest asset, where upskilling and supporting workers become a key focus
  • Cross-departmental collaboration—why digital transformation works
  • The race to incorporate AI

Providing some context to the first trend prediction, Kaplan explained that 2023 was a big year for intranets. Often seen as static, out-of-date, link farm portals, many intranet providers are considering a re-brand to represent the current possibilities of intranet more adequately as employee experience solutions.

“While intranets have been alive—and maybe I won’t say ‘well’—and used for at least 20 years, Gartner released the very first Magic Quadrant [for intranet] just last week,” Kaplan pointed out. “A Magic Quadrant specifically means that Gartner recognizes that intranets are a competitive enough market with enough representative vendors that it can warrant this Quadrant—this research and ranking.”

“The intranet of yesterday will certainly not be the intranet of tomorrow,” she added.

The pair then dove into the rest of their 2024 trends, landing on how intranet can play a crucial role in supporting and empowering these shifts in enterprise environments.

As employees and their experiences take center stage in enterprises’ foci, creating a knowledge system that is accessible, updated, and organized is fundamental in this effort. Older intranets, Capra pointed out, are guilty of not only being unintuitive for the employee but also arduous to manage and maintain.

Oftentimes, it is “difficult… [to integrate] with the new tools and technologies. If your current system is outdated, it might not integrate easily,” said Capra. “When you’re migrating to an intranet like LumApps—with a modernized data infrastructure, social, community-type functionality, and personalized content to ensure that employees actually get value from their visit to your intranet—it’s going to continue to drive usage and traffic there.”

“There’s no question—intranets have definitely evolved. If yours is maybe more than five years old, it probably no longer meets the demands of your employees,” Capra added.

While intranets used to just be about pushing top-down information, they have become more horizontal in affording employees a digital headquarters to engage with information and ask questions that benefit everyone.

Kaplan was remarkably candid, stating that “I don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all [solution]...no tool can solve all the problems that might exist in any organization today. It’s going to be a programmatic approach to really create the best employee experience at your company.”

LumApps’ intranet solution, however, can play a valuable part in that programmatic journey toward uplifting the employee in the enterprise. Designed for the employee experience, LumApps’ intranet reduces digital friction and empowers an employee experience that is as effective and delightful as a well-made customer experience.

“At the end of the day, the intranet that they [enterprises] provide and all digital tools that they provide are going to be designed around their employees and making it an easier, frictionless, more engaging way to be,” said Kaplan.

For an in-depth discussion of 2024 trends relevant to enterprise intranets, you can view an archived version of the webinar here.

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