Six Hot Intranet Tips
Intranets are hot. Companies are realizing that they are great for posting phone lists, sharing files, and getting employees connected. If you want to go live on the Web, which is hassle-free, try Intranets.com or HotOffice.
Now, let’s get onto tips that will help you get a handle on simple Web-based intranets!
Remember big bandwidth. With externally-hosted intranets, your biggest problem is going to be sluggish speed of the Internet over traditional analog modem dial-up accounts. People tend to shy away from things that take too long to “load.” Be sure to upgrade your Internet access to a faster connection as soon as possible. DSL (digital subscriber line) is one route, ISDN is another. There also are cable options available. Your area will dictate which one is available to you.
Give it some time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. You could build an intranet in a day, but it's smarter to take your time. You don't want to overwhelm your employees with too many changes too quickly. You also don't want to waste precious resources (including time) on intranet applications that have a small payoff.
Focus on the phone list. If you are like most companies these days, you have new people arriving each week and some other leaving. Keeping up a paper phone list can be maddening. Try putting it on your intranet. The easiest way to see some productivity results from an intranet is to publish a phone directory. Web-hosted intranets like Intranets.com and HotOffice provide ready-to-use phone books (Intranets.com calls it "Group Contacts") which you can share with everyone in the firm
Use it. If you build it, they won’t necessarily come. You need to get the word out — refer employees to the intranet whenever possible. One way to encourage employees to use the intranet is to continually point them there for content and information. This gets them used to the idea of turning to the intranet for their information needs. Another way to ensure employees are turning to your Intranet is to put company news on it. Employees don't like hearing about company activities through the grapevine, so use the Intranet as a way to communicate what's happening.
Use layered privileges. Your intranet doesn’t have to read like an open book. Don't hesitate to block employees from specific sections of the intranet. The rank-and-file, for instance, don’t have to be privy to intranet-posted financial files, such as spreadsheet projections of earnings or profit-and-loss statements. Use the intranet's folder organization and access privilege settings to create public and private folders, then allow access to the latter only to those who need to stay in the know.
Start them out right. A sure way to get employees connected is to make the Intranet the start page. That way, when the boot up for the day, your intranet is there and waiting for them!
Voice of the Editor
Which isn’t completely true. I mean, occasionally I drop by when I manage to sneak out of the nonstop frat party over at Going Concern, but I’m mostly a wallflower over there. I’m happy to say that I’ve been given express permission (or explicit orders, if you like) to wander over here to AccountingWEB more often.
Why is that, you might ask? My job is to replace the irreplaceable Gail Perry as Editor-in-Chief. What does that mean? I don’t really know! I think it’ll be fun getting a feel for things, throwing in my own thoughts here and there, and listening to the discussions you’re having about the accounting profession.