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The Intranet is Not Dead, it's Evolving into a Workgrid
By Troy Campano, Senior Enterprise Architect at Liberty Mutual focused on developing Intelligent Workplace solutions
The Intranet Portal, sometimes referred to as just the intranet, was born in the 1990s as a way to deal with complexity in the workplace. The complexity at the time was dealing with how employees should find electronic information on a company’s internal network. And so, a static website was created to link together online resources like job postings, employee directory information, and policies for employees in a central and easy to find place.
The Digital Workplace
In the early 2010s as intranets became the home page for most employees in their corporate network, links and integrations with other digital tools the employees used throughout their work day emerged. The intranet started to become much more of a hub for the employee. At the same time, there was recognition that all of the digital tools an employee used within the workplace including – their applications, their mobile device, their computer, the enterprise social network they used to collaborate with, the business applications, the web conferencing tools, and the document and productivity tools the employee used all made up pieces of an overall digital employee experience – which we now call: The Digital Workplace.
While the early intranet days were about finding information, the Digital Workplace was about digitizing employee tools and information, and at the same time integrating those tools and information into an overall experience.
The Complexity of the Digital Workplace
During this period, a fundamental shift began to occur. Companies began purchasing more and more pointed software solutions, including many cloud-based applications for capabilities like: Project Management, Travel, Messaging, Learning Management, IT Service Management, Expense Management, Benefits, and much, much more. This also meant companies were rolling out many different mobile applications for these capabilities. The end result was significant cognitive overload for employees, receiving notifications, messages, tasks, approvals, and requests from all of these different tools, often burying the employee in email and at the same time making it impossible for the employee to keep track of this information and know what’s important right then in the moment.
Imagine, an intranet that takes into account an employee’s needs and preferences and delivers information on a contextual basis
The Intelligent Workplace
What is beginning to emerge as the next evolution of this platform is the Intelligent Workplace — a way to take all of these disparate and siloed applications that commonly don’t speak with each other and bring them together into an interconnected and simplified experience powered by intelligent automation and artificial intelligence.
Imagine being notified that your favorite food is available in the workplace cafeteria that day, so you don’t need to pack a lunch in the morning. Or imagine the weather looks great this Friday so you query your workplace digital assistant for how much vacation time you have available and then ask it to take Friday off for you, which it then schedules the time off for you in your HR system, turns on your out of office message for the day, and finally notifies your team that you will be out of the office that day. Instead of a manager having to log into six different systems to approve requests, they instead approve them all from a single place within the intranet or on a mobile device. Instead of an employee needing to call the IT Help Desk and wait on hold to unlock their corporate mobile phone, they can instead interact with a chatbot and unlock their mobile device in seconds. Imagine, an intranet that takes into account an employee’s needs and preferences and delivers information on a contextual basis.
Perhaps an employee is traveling to a different corporate office and as they arrive the various events happening in the office that day is available to them at the top of their internal company news stream on their mobile device. Imagine, instead of employees needing to interact with eight different enterprise applications, or use five different mobile applications, all with outdated and clunky enterprise user interfaces, they instead use a single application, the intranet, with a consumer-like experience across the web and mobile to complete common tasks – this is all possible with an Intelligent Workplace Platform, or what is commonly called a ‘Workgrid’.
The way in which employees work today is also evolving. Many employees have shifted from a ‘work-life balance’ view of their work, clocking in at a certain hour, clocking out at a certain hour, and leaving work completely behind to more of a ‘work-life blend’ where they may start working on a report during the morning, but then run to a doctor’s appointment, finishing the report later that evening. As technology moves forward, often the personal and work sides of an individual will also begin to blend together, sometimes even in the same application. In an intelligent workplace platform, or Workgrid, you may even see your personal tasks and work tasks come together into the same experience.
It’s All About Employee Engagement
What the Intelligent Workplace and Workgrid is really about, is employee engagement. There are several studies that show the importance of employee engagement and employee experience and the correlation to customer engagement and ultimately increased revenue. A Workgrid uses automation and artificial intelligence to create a simplified experience for employees, and that’s what it’s all about – using technology to simplify the day for employees so they can focus on what matters most instead of spending their time clicking through several layers deep in their intranet or ERP system to find the information they need.
As you look to evolve your company intranet, look at how Workgrid capabilities can not only transform your intranet and communications, but also make your intranet a productivity hub for employees to use to get work done, saving them hours in productivity along the way.