Why Your Employees Hate Your Outdated Intranet

:: By Tim Eisenhauer, Axero ::

Back when the concept of the “intranet” was first introduced to the business world, many organizations were quick to be the first in their industries to make the shift toward what was commonly referred to as “the future of business.”

While simplistic and with minimal features, the first intranets still served a vital purpose: they provided a central place to get information about your company. Over time, however, the things that businesses value in a strong intranet changed dramatically.

Today’s intranet allows for constant change, and it’s becoming even more central to conducting daily business than in the past. The intranets of yesterday were self-limiting in many ways, and the sad fact of the matter is that they’re still being utilized by organizations throughout the world.

Many people that continue to use outdated intranet platforms don’t realize what they’re missing out on or don’t recognize what is holding back their work flow. Some employees, however, are fully aware of the issues they face, which can have a dramatically negative impact on morale and employee engagement.

Understanding why modern professionals don’t want to use an outdated intranet platform is the first step toward making a change for the better. Here are a few reasons why it’s time to switch things up.

Stale & Outdated Information

“The information I need to do my job is outdated.”

In order for an intranet to perform at its peak, the information contained within it needs to be constantly updated. No one wants to waste time browsing through document after document of stale information. This is one of the biggest issues associated with using an outdated intranet platform.

Stale information is not only annoying to deal with, but the repercussions of taking it verbatim can often be severe. If logistical processes have changed, for example, following old protocols could prove disastrous. An intranet is simply not functional these days if it makes updating information difficult in any way.

Poor Search Functionality & Impossible Navigation

“I can’t find the information I need to do my job.”

Every employee who is part of your intranet needs the ability to find exactly what they need at a moment’s notice, which is one of the biggest issues associated with using an outdated intranet platform. Finding crucial information buried deep within the intranets of yesterday was extremely difficult, and no one wants to return to this period of time. Searching for documents, user guides, conversations and more should take seconds, not hours. For businesses that are still using outdated platforms, this continues to be a huge problem that wastes countless hours each month.

The user interface (UI) of your intranet is one of the most important features to take into consideration when making a decision about which platform to go with. Old intranet platforms, however, are great examples of what not to look for in terms of UI. Outdated intranets can be extremely difficult to navigate, and for those who aren’t technologically proficient, they can be next to impossible to use. Difficult navigation not only gets in the way, but often brings projects to a complete standstill.

A Lack of Branding Capabilities

“Our intranet doesn’t even have our company logo. It has the vendors logo.”

Your company’s intranet should always be viewed as a virtual expansion of its culture. Branding serves a huge role in this regard, and anyone who has ever built out a physical office knows just how important it is that the space reflects an organization’s image. This is not only important for when clients and customers visit, but it can have a hugely positive impact on employee engagement. Incorporating your organization’s brand into your intranet is extremely difficult when using outdated platforms as the options you have at your disposal are typically few. With new intranet software, however, your branding is front and center.

Frustrating or Nonexistent Communication Tools

“I can’t reach out to people in my company who have the knowledge to help me do my job.”

One of the major benefits of switching to a social intranet that embodies today’s design philosophies is that they typically feature robust communication tools. Group and private messaging, forums, comments, blogging and chat are all effective ways to communicate with colleagues, but they’re more likely to be found in modern intranets than those of the past. It’s likely that you’re still using email to communicate with other employees in your organization. How often do emails get buried? Are you sure that the attached document is the most up-to-date version? Outdated intranet software is that it makes communication inherently difficult, and saving conversations for future retrieval is often not even an option. For businesses that rely on heavy communication, this can be enough to cause the ship to sink.

Low-Quality Document Management

“My intranet is a document dumping ground, where documents go to die.”

Managing documents in an effective manner is nothing short of a necessity for businesses that are looking to get ahead in today’s world, but it also happens to be one of the trickier parts of the day for many employees. Outdated intranet software usually comes with a document management system, but they tend to be more like “document dumping” vehicles than anything else. Sure, you can add documents to the community, but organizing them, ranking them, sharing them, finding them or commenting on them in any forward-thinking manner is usually not an option. Once a knowledge base of your documents grows large enough, this can make finding what one needs a daily problem.

Poor Content Publishing & Sharing

“I have to reach out to my IT department to publish on our intranet.”

Content marketing is the name of the game these days, and businesses small and large are starting to do their part to stay on top and become experts in their own respective fields. Content creation should be made as easy as possible if you want to get the most out of your staff’s abilities. Because the content creation platforms associated with outdated intranets tend to be extremely basic (or, to that point, nonexistent), companies that are stuck in the past will surely fall behind as their competitors move forward.

Inability to Segment the Community

“Our intranet is too crowded.”

When you have a number of different teams or departments working within a social community, the chances that confusion may come into play are quite high. This is especially true as organizations grow in size, as the more people who are utilizing a social intranet, the more crowded it can become. Modern intranets allow for specific spaces to be created, which can be used to segment the community and prevent an overlap of information from occurring. Many older intranet platforms simply do not come equipped with such a feature.

No Room for Fun

“Our intranet is down-right boring.”

Anyone who has found success in business can likely attest to the notion that a workforce is almost always more productive when there’s an element of fun involved. After all, it’s important to break up whatever monotony the day may bring along in order to keep attention spans high and morale from falling. Today’s intranets serve as excellent platforms for incorporating fun into the mix, unlike those which are antiquated and don’t allow for very much at all in the way of customization.

Consistent Updates

“Our intranet is so old that we can’t even upgrade it to the latest version.”

As the concept of the social intranet is always in flux, it should stand to reason that today’s platforms need to come along with consistent updates that require little-to-no work on the part of the user. Many older intranet platforms don’t take advantage of updates nearly in the same way as today’s options, which are able to adapt to whatever changes the industry sees and what the company needs to be successful. With this in mind, you can rest easy knowing that you won’t have to constantly buy new software once you make the switch to a modern intranet.

Tim Eisenhauer is a co-founder and president of Axero, maker of Communifire, a widely popular social business platform used for implementing social intranets, collaboration spaces and social knowledge management. 

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9 mistakes you’re making in Photoshop

Each version of Photoshop comes with new features that let you work smarter instead of harder, but old editing habits are hard to break—especially if you’ve been using the program for a long time. Here you’ll find a roundup of some common editing mistakes and how to avoid them.

Perform edits on separate layers

psmistakes 1

Here you can see all the layers in this image.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

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CurrentC Alerts Users of Unauthorized Access to Email Addresses

Just hours after publishing a blog post answering some questions about its upcoming CurrentC mobile payments system and touting the security of its cloud-based storage of sensitive information, the company behind the effort, Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) has alerted users of unauthorized access to their email addresses.

Thank you for your interest in CurrentC. You are receiving this message because you are either a participant in our pilot program or requested information about CurrentC. Within the last 36 hours, we learned that unauthorized third parties obtained the e-mail addresses of some of you. Based on investigations conducted by MCX security personnel, only these e-mail addresses were involved and no other information.

Details on the unauthorized access have not been disclosed, but iMore‘s Nick Arnott earlier this week took a look at some of the personal information being collected by MCX and CurrentC and noted that he could ping CurrentC’s systems to look for valid registered email addresses on the system. While he did not find valid addresses, the system appeared capable of returning a substantial amount of personal information about such accounts.

Security has of course been one of the main selling points of Apple’s new Apple Pay system, with data stored in a Secure Element on the device and payments authorized through Touch ID and tokenized account numbers being used instead of actual credit card numbers to process transactions.

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Apple: iOS 8 now installed on 52% of all devices

Does it seem like a lot of your iPhone or iPad toting friends have updated to iOS 8? You’re right — new information from the Apple Developer Support pages shows that iOS 8 is now installed on 52 percent of all iOS devices.

Of the other 48 percent… via Feedbin Starred Entries for mkbriney@gmail.com by TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Small Business Shopping Social Network Launches in Arlington

Startup Monday header

Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

YOPP screenshotWhat do Arlington businesses Lyon Hall, Casual Adventure, Trade Roots and One More Page Books have in common?

They’re all on the small business social network app, YOPP, created and developed in Arlington as a way to help small businesses reach customers in the mobile-dominated technology landscape.

“We’re enabling small businesses to compete in a world that’s heavily in the mobile commerce space,” YOPP founder Shana Lawlor told ARLnow.com last week. “We feel we can give the businesses on our platform the ability to compete and stay relevant.”

YOPP fully launched in September. In January, ARLnow.com discussed the app — which was then called MainST — with Lawlor, who was preparing to launch the beta in the spring. Since launching last month, Lawlor said the user base has quadrupled over the last few weeks with customers finding deals for small businesses in Arlington and D.C.

The app allows its users to search for items they want and notifies small businesses when customers nearby are looking for something they sell. If an Arlington resident plugged in they were looking for leather bracelets, Covet at 5140 Wilson Blvd would be able to message the customer and tell him or her to come by, even offering a discount.

The message apparently is resonating with the app’s early users. Lawlor said she was projecting 500 users by the end of the year, but the app has already been downloaded more times than that, she said.

“In D.C. and Arlington, there are so many cool areas to shop that people don’t know about,” Lawlor said. “There’s a shift in people’s thinking about where they want to shop when they find these really cool places… The majority of users are looking for very unique things, and they’re really passionate about what they’re trying to find. Finding an alternative to the search engine is very exciting for them. it’d be increasingly cool if we can help people find these things all the time.”

YOPP screenshotYOPP will be powering Arlington Small Business Day, which Lawlor founded, this year on Nov. 29. The deals will be offered through the app, the participating businesses will be highlighted in the app’s map function, and those looking for the perfect Christmas gift will be able to ask their fellow users where to go.

The app “works everywhere,” but YOPP is focused on Arlington and its surrounding area at the moment. By the end of the year, Lawlor hopes to launch the app fully in New York City and 10 other markets.

“People love to go shopping in certain cities,” Lawlor said, “but there’s no resource telling them where to go once they get there.”

Lawlor has five part-time employees and expects to bring three of them full-time next year. The former exporting business owner has found herself in the heart of D.C.’s tech scene since launching YOPP, with an office in 1776 in D.C. and being named one of Bisnow’s Top 40 women in D.C. tech.

“I was very flattered to be among the women there,” she said. “When you’re a young startup and when you’re put in a group of successful women, it’s a compliment.”

ASBD and the Halloween and Christmas shopping seasons should be a boon to YOPP and, Lawlor hopes, Arlington businesses. She’s been working for years to create more of a community among the business owners in Arlington, and her company appears on the verge of doing just that.

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