We built an Intranet. Although whispered about for years, this project bubbled up throughout a series of internal meetings as a potential priority for the agency. It was one of those things that easily could have been put on the back burner—something that would continue to be a nice to have, but might not quite be classified as a necessity. However, we decided to view this project as an innovation opportunity. And, now, we have a functioning fancy Intranet.
WHY AN INTRANET? WHAT PROBLEMS ARE WE SOLVING BY HAVING AN INTRANET?
As our agency continues to grow, the Intranet serves as a central hub to keep employees better informed. Over a few short years, our agency has doubled in size–we’re up to 100 employees. We also have three offices now. So, there’s a lot more activity, events and projects going on. The Intranet helps keep everyone connected. There are handy floor layout files that list seating arrangements. The color coded calendar lists all relevant events, birthdays, weddings, birth announcements and anniversaries. Although it’s digital, it promotes real-world socialization between different departments.
Not only does the Intranet streamline communication within our organization in terms of agency news and announcements, it acts as a central location for useful documents. We’ve gained efficiencies and reduced paper waste by digitizing multiple HR functions within the Intranet—PTO slips, health care documents, tax forms, employee benefits packets, direct deposit forms, etc. It’s quite convenient.
HOW DID WE BUILD THE INTRANET SO QUICKLY?
We identified a core list of features, built them quickly and got them out to the company. The minimum viable product had a small dedicated team able to work fast. They were empowered and encouraged to experiment and make decisions throughout the process.
As technology is ever changing with infinite opportunity, our team continues to evolve and explore new ways to bring innovations to life. This was a true collaboration between creative and tech. We challenged ourselves to shake-up the traditional process and push ourselves outside of our own comfort zone. Things were done in parallel, as opposed to a typical linear approach. The team remained adaptable working through any problems and adjusting direction as needed. Open, honest, constructively challenging, and frequent communication was key.
We also mashed up roles. Proof-readers had a chance to write their own copy, HR helped with content entry, business development participated in the QA. Too often, agency roles can operate within silos. Mixing up roles served as a great way to promote cross-department collaboration, and to gain better understanding of the different agency functions.
We will continue to use this small-team, phased and focused approach to continue expanding our new Intranet with cool features, quickly and often. Before we know it, Phase 2 will be rolled out, and we’ll soon need to update this post.
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Leslie Witham is the Technology & Innovation Director at GYK Antler.