Intranet or Digital Workplace? Why You Might Need Both

digital workplace and intranet

Intranet and Digital Workplace. What is the difference?

The digital workplace has gained a lot of popularity in the last few years as the perfect virtual replacement for the physical office space. With its ability to streamline internal processes, boost productivity, and improve employee experience, more and more organizations are planning to implement their own digital workplaces.

An intranet, on the other hand, has been around for decades and it has since evolved drastically to fit the needs of the changing workforce. While it is easy to assume digital workplaces and intranets are the same things because of some overlapping features, they aren’t. They are two distinct platforms that can be used together to make processes within the company more efficient.

What is an intranet?

An intranet is a private enterprise network in an organization that helps employees communicate and collaborate. While older versions of intranets focused only on knowledge management and one-way communication, modern intranets focus on employee experience. The main goal of the intranet is to offer greater personalization and integration functionality to make it easier for employees to manage their work,

Intranets have always been the home for data that is needed by employees for internal communication and over the years that hasn’t changed much. But instead of being a dumping ground for files and documents, the intranet now offers a more organized way to store and access data.

An intranet:

  • Serves as the main repository for all the company data
  • Allows employees to work closely together
  • Helps employees communicate effectively
  • Streamlines internal process
  • Supports the organizational culture

What is a digital workplace?

With a digital workplace, employees get access to all the digital tools that they need to handle their everyday work including project management, process management, case management, and collaboration. As the virtual replacement of the physical office, a digital workplace helps in integrating all the different applications that are used within the company to make it easier to access all the business tools and data through one centralized platform.

A digital workplace platform can help in:

  • Collaboration with other team members
  • Managing projects and tasks
  • Automating repetitive and mundane business processes
  • Resolving tickets and service requests
  • Integrating third-party applications
  • Generating reports to make more informed data-driven decisions

Where does an intranet fit in a digital workplace?

The modern intranet often becomes the dashboard of a digital workplace. It’s a quick place to check in and see data from essential applications and communication from coworkers. It also works as the central base for all company information and communication.

Your workplace tools like project management and process management form the basis for your work management and collaboration. However, an intranet can further enhance the employee experience. The outcome is improved employee experience and customer experience.

An intranet gives employees the feeling of a cohesion as the digital workplace forms the anchor of your essential digital tools. It can function as an elevated way to store durable communication.

Here are the major ways how intranet fits into the workplace

1. Intranet adds integration functionality to the digital workplace

There are now applications to accomplish just about every type of task you can imagine. In fact, enterprises now use over 508 applications on an average. That’s a lot of applications and it comes at a big price too.

The more applications you use in your organization, the more time employees will have to spend switching back and forth between different applications which will only waste time, decrease efficiency, and overwhelm the employees. Not to mention, there is also a constant battle of remembering multiple logins and handling siloed data.

By fitting intranet into a digital workplace, you get centralized access to data within the organization through its powerful integration functionality and authentication method. Intranet can work as the single doorway into the digital workplace and you would only have to log into the intranet to get direct access to all the business tools, information, and communication. The idea is to use the intranet as the identity provider so that employees don’t have to log in to different applications over and over again.

2. Intranet makes searching easier in a digital workplace

The digital workplace stores a vast amount of data. It can be anything from work guidelines to briefs about company culture, and project work details. But without the right search capabilities, organizations would only have a vast amount of knowledge with no way to utilize it.

With the right integrations, an intranet can easily source information from the whole digital workplace and make it easily searchable. An intranet allows you to search for content, not just within the workplace, but also in your connected cloud storage and other applications. In other words, it becomes the enterprise Google for your organization and helps you find any information or any person within the company with a simple search bar.

3. Intranet improves employee experience

Over 80 percent of business leaders and HRs believe employee experience is very important to their organization.

By combining with a digital workplace, an intranet makes it easier for employees to find the right information and the right people at the right time which directly leads to better employee experience. With integration functionality, personalization, social features, and a user-friendly interface, the intranet transforms the complete user experience of the digital workplace.

An effective digital transformation needs both a digital workplace and an intranet

An intranet acts as the main enterprise front door for the digital workplace.

The workplace brings in the highly functional intranet and extends it to include more applications, better communication, and well-streamlined digital strategies.

When it comes to digital workplace and intranet, it’s not an either-or situation. You don’t have to decide between them and stick with it. You can use both intranet and digital workplace platforms together to get the most out of them.

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Chintan Jain

Chintan Jain

Chintan Jain is the Associate Director of Product Marketing at Kissflow Workflow, a unified platform that enables organizations to manage all types of work in one place. Chintan is a skilled marketing practitioner who writes extensively on topics like workplace technologies, work management, and the digital workplace. He also actively contributes to various business and technology platforms.