3 things you must consider when designing a mobile intranet

Delivering the corporate intranet on mobile devices is perhaps the most effective initiative you can take to increase intranet usage.

Not only will the intranet become omnipresent, always available to users in any situation. Also, youll make the intranet accessible for new employee groups that have not been able to fully benefit from the intranet before, such as frontline workers.

As an extra benefit, youll have new methods available, like mobile push notifications, to motivate staff to go to your intranet. However, designing a mobile intranet requires special considerations for the medium youll be delivering your service through. Here, well go through three central points you really should consider when adding your intranet to mobile devices.


1. Mobile app vs. responsive intranet

A responsive intranet can be viewed from different devices and screen sizes. A mobile app, on the other hand, is a separate application that is downloaded and installed on smartphones and tablets. Responsiveness is definitely good for usability. But, even though a responsive intranet has the advantage of being instantly available in mobile browsers, a mobile app, however, has at least seven important benefits:


A mobile app spares users from typing on a small screen

Typing the full URL of the intranet in a smartphones browser can be troublesome. Even if users take the initiative to save the intranet as a shortcut, its not ultra-intuitive to navigate to the intranet from a mobile browser. When users first have the mobile intranet app downloaded to their smartphone, they can find it effortlessly, just like theyre used to navigating to any other app on their smartphone. An act we are all trained so proficiently in, the behaviour it is automatic. Also, depending on your security settings, the app can spare employees typing in their intranet login every time they open the intranet on their phones, making it simple for users to open the intranet and start using it.

A mobile app can engage with push-notifications

App notifications are a proven tool for engagement. A mobile app tool can help lead your users to the intranet. Both for reminding employees that they have the intranet app there on their smartphone, and for calling direct attention to news or other important content.


A mobile app can offer offline access

Even though the world is very wired, mobile intranet users can come in situations where connection to the internet isnt stable. You might have staff working in emergency situations, on the ocean, or just in areas with a slow internet connection. With a mobile app, you can allow offline access to some content and functions and enable employees to report back from the frontline, from any place in the world.


A mobile app delivers a clean version of your intranet

A responsive intranet offers a one to one representation of the desktop intranet on mobile devices. While this has some advantages in terms of recognition for the employees who are very used to using the intranet on their desktop (and this might not be a large percentage of all employees), it most likely will cause confusion.

A mobile intranet should offer users content and navigation especially optimized for use on the go. As you can custom design both navigation and content for the mobile experience in an app, a mobile app allows for this.


A mobile app enables pages to load faster

Users really dont want to wait for pages to load. A study performed by Google found that longer page load time drastically increases the likelihood of a visitor bouncing from a mobile site.


If a mobile app is well designed, its remarkably faster performing on a mobile device than the responsive desktop version. Thereby, improving usability significantly.


A mobile app is more secure

Offering you intranet in an app, instead of in the mobile browser, will enable you to make the mobile intranet available through mobile device management (MDM). In this way, IT can fully secure the intranet content and, also, remove the app from particular phones e.g. in situations where an employee loses his or her phone.


Users fancy apps

Mobile apps are not just the future of mobile usage, its also very much the current trend. The app share of total mobile minutes lies between 80 and 94%, depending on country. This means, users spend the absolute vast amount of their time on mobile devices in mobile apps.

Delivering your mobile intranet as an app will make your intranet available in a way that users like to consume content and use tools on their smartphones.

2. Content and navigation

When you first designed your intranet, you probably considered scenarios for intranet usage and asked yourself how the intranet could help different groups of employees in their workday.

Its a good idea to repeat this exercise when you design your mobile intranet, as a mobile intranet can be used in whole new situations.

We see mobile intranets being used by field staffers during the workday, when people check their phones at home at night, when staff transport themselves to and from work using public transportation, during lunch, and even during a workday in the office alongside the desktop intranet, perhaps motivated by app notifications.

The needs for information and tools differ in these situations. For example, people generally like to check news when they commute. Field workers need tools readily available to either retrieve vital information, report from the field, or be social with their colleagues using social features and messaging.

You can probably add situations and needs to the list that are unique for the way employees in your organization will use a mobile intranet.

Understanding the circumstances in which different staff groups in your organization will use a mobile intranet and what they will need from the mobile app in these situations can help you design the optimal mobile app.

Not only the way the intranet is used is different for a mobile intranet. The phone as a medium has restrictions the desktop doesnt. In the context of a smartphone, people are limited by the small screen. Typing in long texts when reporting would be troublesome and timely, as would a heavy intranet navigation confronting users with many choices and levels of navigation.

With a simple navigation designed for the mobile experience, people can quickly retrieve the information and tools they need.

You can help users further by considering the trouble of using small smartphone keys. Offer a list of options or type-ahead for filling out forms from the mobile app and enable users to report back with images, video, and/or audio.

Considering and carefully designing the content, tools, and navigation of your mobile app is worth the effort.

3. Security

Delivering confidential content on employees private smartphones obviously composes a risk.

This risk can be almost eliminated by offering the mobile intranet as an app through mobile device management (MDM) on managed corporate smartphones and by asking users to log in every time they open the app. However, often strict security can affect usability negatively.

If users must log in to the intranet app every time they open it, it creates a barrier between users and the intranet. On the other hand, if employees can freely download the intranet as an app from Apple Store or Google Play on their private smartphones, they might feel the intranet is more present, fully integrated with all the other apps they use to live their lives.

An alternative, or supplement if you like, to strict security around the app availability, could be to restrict the supply of content in the mobile intranet. In this way, you can ensure highly confidential content is not accessible from the mobile intranet.

Its about finding that elusive balance between user friendliness and security, and, of course, remain in line with company policies.

The original article was published here

New mobile app from Wizdom

Wizdom, Gartner Cool Vendor and top-rated intranet solution provider built on SharePoint and Office 365, is proud to announce the launch of the companys new Mobile app for Wizdom. The app is included in the Wizdom product license and can be implemented after updating to the latest Wizdom version


With the ever-present need to be mobile and access essential company information and workflows on-the-go, the new Wizdom Mobile app enables companies to take their intranet one step further to make it available to users as an app on their mobile phones and tablets, making the intranet more accessible than ever.

With the new Wizdom Mobile app companies get the most used intranet features right out of the box. For example, Quick Access enable users to swiftly access tabs with essential intranet functionalities like corporate news, focus content, noticeboard messages including Social Functions, resources, links and more.

People Directory offers users to look up contacts with only a few clicks in the app while the Custom Design features allow companies to setup the app with pre-designed themes or create a custom theme with colors and fonts that completely aligns with company branding.
Lastly companies can fully tailor the mobile experience for their users via Wizdom Configuration Center where admins can define and setup the content of each tab in the app to ensure a targeted and engaging intranet on mobile.

Within Wizdom, the launch of the Mobile app has been eagerly awaited. Were extremely happy to bring our Wizdom customers this feature-rich Mobile app as part of their product license. Our developers have worked hard to implement all our knowledge and valuable feedback from our many customers and turned it all into our first Mobile app. Customers who have had a sneak peek are already embracing this tool and we are sure many more will follow and extend the reach of their digital workplace says John Wainer, CEO at Wizdom.

Wizdom mobile app is IOS and Android compatible and works with SharePoint 2013, 2016 and Office 365. Please contact us for more information on how to get started.


The original article was published here

What are the big intranet trends?

Sometimes customers ask simple but great questions: “What are the big intranet trends I need to be aware of as I consider rebuilding our corporate intranet?. As intranet and sharepoint consultants its very easy to become immersed in detail and forget the bigger picture. Whilst I hadnt thought of this obvious question myself I certainly had lots of opinions in answering it. I thought Id share them in a blog post. Some of these trends have been around for a long time but are gathering momentum and importance. Others are new but clearly more than just fads. If you have any to add please send me an email and I will add them to the post. For context, the person who posed this question works as a comms professional in a multi-national with 100,000 employees. Shes working on a project to build an enterprise-wide site serving all employees. Having said that, most of these trends are relevant for small companies too.

Consolidation, harmonisation & decomplexity

We are seeing a lot of large companies looking to consolidate their intranet. Many enterprise intranets have grown organically and in a decentralised manner. Rather than a single company intranet it is in fact a collection of many – sometimes dozens of intranets owned by business units, brands, regions and countries, and departments. Large companies have come to the realisation that the employees user experience is very poor on these sites. Theres no consistency of structure and design across sites. Theres not consistency of standards. And a large, sprawling collection of sites is near impossible to govern if you want to address this consistency not to mention the resource requirement to run them professionally. It makes sense to have a clear out and harmonise the user experience – create like information architectures across like entities (e.g. countries, departments etc.).

Grown up intranet governance

Intranet governance is all about defining the rules, processes and people involved with managing and improving the intranet, and ensuring it supports business goals.
Governance has always been a buzz word when talking about intranets. But the reality is that its often been non-existent. Or rather, it starts off with good intentions but rapidly falls away to nothing. Lack of governance causes many of the problems that lead to the sprawl and complexity mentioned above. Many companies are starting to grab the governance bull by the horns and look to not only develop sensible and realistic governance frameworks but are really making this a core part of their intranet operations. Theres a mature realisation that intranets do not run themselves and are not successful just because of superior technology and good design. Theres clearly more resource going into building proper intranet teams to manage the day-to-day processes to keep an intranet healthy and we are even meeting people with job titles like intranet governance manager.

Intranet user adoption

This intranet trend is very much part of intranet governance but is worthy as a standalone due to its importance. There are graveyards littered with intranets that died because they had too few users. Intranet user adoption is all about putting in place plans and tactics to not only drive usage of new intranets but to do it on an ongoing basis. Its not just about promotion. Why should I (an employee of XYZ Corp) use the intranet? How will it make my working life better, easier, quicker etc.? If you can answer that question in a compelling way then you are on your way to cracking user adoption for your intranet. Companies with successful intranets have recognised that user adoption needs serious thought and its built into intranet project objectives and is a key component of intranet governance frameworks.

The intranet in the cloud

“The Cloud” has become such a buzzword that it risks sounding like a massive fad. However, when an intranet is built into the cloud all sorts of benefits and efficiencies come to the fore. The major one is ease-of-access. Employees can access their intranet on any device from anywhere in the world. They no longer need to be connected to the corporate network or VPN. Thats excellent for adoption. Another major benefit of a cloud intranet is ease of collaboration. People can work on documents simultaneously. No more version control issues caused by email. Sure, there are security implications with the cloud intranet but there are many clever ways that security risks can be mitigated and reduced. Even the most conservative companies are moving their intranets to the cloud. If there is some data that they just dont want to trust to the likes of Microsofts Office 365 datacenters then they can host this data themselves and have a hybrid intranet setup with non-sensitive data in the cloud and sensitive data on-premise.

Employee centricity

Many intranets reflect organisational structures. Employees looks for information and tools according to the silos in which they belong. For example, youll find the expenses form in the finance department pages and the leave request form in HR. However, for some time now weve seen this organisational centric view of the world shift towards one which is more employee centric. Information is structured in a way which is far more intuitive for an individual. All policies & procedures are to be found in a single searchable library. All forms and commons processes are found in a single place, irrespective of who their owner is. This approach makes life easier for employees as they are able to find information and tools faster. This is good for user adoption. It goes without saying that productivity wins like this are good for companies too.

Business Process Automation (BPM)

We hear a lot about intranets being used to drive soft benefits like communications and employee engagement. I strongly believe that intranets are entering a second age whereby they will also drive hard productivity and efficiency benefits. This will happen through business process automation, online forms and transactions. This is another intranet trend that has been with us for some time. However, improvements in cloud technologies – especially the ease with which business processes can be brought online – is accelerating this curve. BPM is now much more mainstream even for smaller companies. Common business processes like onboarding, appraisals, booking leave etc. will all be managed online. Smarter companies are using the same tools to automate complex operational processes.


employee centricity and an intranet trend - screengrab of common tasks toolbox for emploiyees
Example of an employee centric common tasks toolbox with automated processes workflows and forms

The intranet as a collection of apps

In intranet circles its fashionable to talk about the digital workplace. Modern cloud intranets – especially those built on SharePoint – come as part of a suite of tools that make up the digital workplace. A company on Office 365 will have tools like Skype for Business, One Drive, Yammer etc. running alongside their SharePoint intranet. Were seeing a trend to integrate these tools closely into the intranet so that for example a user can find a colleague on their intranet and start a web chat with them there and then, right off the page. Similarly other cloud-based third party apps designed to address particular business challenges are becoming part of the intranet. If for example your company has a need to gather digital signatures from employees as part of a business process, theres an app for that. As more apps come onto the market businesses can pick and choose those they want integrated into their intranet.

Enterprise social networks (ESNs)

Personal social media tools like Facebook and Twitter now have their workplace equivalents. Enterprise Social Network (ESN) tools like Yammer, Chatter and Jive are bringing some companies valuable productivity and engagement benefits. ESNs make it easier for employees to collaborate and share efficiently without email. Famously in 2011, Atos, a large global technology firm, announced it would ban internal email and replace it with an ESN. Interestingly, in 2013 as the email ban was gathering pace, Atoss operating margin increased from 6.5% to 7.5%. Earnings per share rose by more than 50%, and administrative costs fell from 13% to 10%. Employees also reported that they had more focus time and were happier without the constant interruption of email at work and at home. This is a great case study but must be viewed alongside those where companies have tried and failed to build successful social networks. Once again, the technology is not the only thing you have to get right. Those that succeed do so because they pay attention to a whole host of factors when introducing ESNs. Most importantly they focus on implementing ESNs in those parts of their operations where there is a clear and specific reason to use social. We want to be more collaborative is not such a use case. As ESNs grow in popularity we are seeing them being integrated deeply into the intranet so that social conversations can happen alongside the tools, pages and documents that make up the intranet.

The smart intranet

Not being able to find anything on the intranet is perhaps the commonest complaint we hear from end users. Its likely to become one we hear less and less as modern intranets become more intelligent. Search engines on intranets are improving dramatically both in terms of the relevance of search results that they present to end users and also in terms of the way they can be fine-tuned and tweaked by intranet administrators.

simple representation of a social graph in the workplace
A simple representation of a social graph in the workplace


But on modern intranets intelligence goes much further than search. For example, theres ‘Information discovery’ whereby the intranet suggests relevant content to you based on what your colleagues are looking at, whats being discussed and whats being presented at meetings. In simple terms the modern intranet has a brain (called a social graph) which knows which of your colleagues you work closely with. It analyses their online actions around document creation, viewing, sharing etc. Based on these connections the intranet can suggest content that is relevant to you right now. This could be as simple as a personalised list of trending documents on the homepage. Or it could be something more sophisticated such as search results which are not only based on the keyword you used but also what your close colleagues are finding relevant. Artificial intelligence and personal assistants like Siri will find their way onto intranets too.


This last one really goes without saying. If you want to reach sales reps, factory floor workers, field workers and other employees who are not desk-bound you have to be available on mobile. This means not only having an intranet which can be accessed from a mobile phone but one that has been optimised so that the user experience is adapted for mobile. This means a big, thumb-friendly navigation, swipe gestures, fast loading etc. Whilst this is a really obvious and growing trend there are still many, many intranets out there that are not mobile accessible.

Conclusion: productivity is the major intranet trend

As mentioned, many of these trends have been gathering pace for some time but others are new and upcoming. Hopefully youll also have noticed that many of them overlap and build on one another. This makes them all the more likely to last. This overlap in trends is also going to lead to much more integration between the tools that make up the digital workplace and the intranet. This will drive adoption, usage and ultimately productivity. Take a step backwards and look at the economic climate that were in. Developed economies are maturing, growth is slowing and consumers are stretched. If companies want to deliver shareholder value they’ll need to focus on productivity. Rising trends in intranets and the digital workplace chime well with this drive for productivity in the workplace.

The Future of SharePoint (London Sessions)

Dan Hawtrey, MD of Content Formula a SharePoint consultancy in LondonI just got back from a session hosted at Microsofts offices in Paddington and attended by a bunch of SharePoint consultancies. The session was hosted by Jeff Teper, Corporate Vice President of SharePoint and OneDrive and Dan Holme, Director of Product Marketing – essentially, the team responsible for the new direction and vision of SharePoint and OneDrive for Business.

This event was the London follow-up of the Future of SharePoint webinar held on the 4th May. In a nutshell and in case you missed it, the 4th May webinar revealed a host of exciting changes to SharePoint:

– Simple and powerful file sharing and integration with the various OneDrive apps
– Mobile and intelligent intranet, especially via the new SharePoint app available on Windows, iOS and Android.
– Open and connected platform, enabling developers to extend and hook deep into SharePoint without needing to be a DotNet expert
– Security, privacy and compliance enhancements

You can get a more detailed run down of the new SharePoint 2016 features and some interesting videos on the MS Office blogs.

Whilst there was some repetition of the key points from the 4th May, we learned a few new things.

A 7-point framework for employee engagement in the digital workplace

Modern organisations are using a number of clever techniques to accelerate internal change and make it stick. This free e-book puts forward a simple and effective 7-point framework to use to deliver change campaigns and programmes.

Jeff Teper underlined the importance of the Microsoft Cloud first, mobile first’ strategy by saying that these days the starting point on any enhancement is, what’s it going to look like on a mobile phone? The team lived up to this and we spent quite some time demoing apps on an iPhone 6 (yes!) projected onto the wall.

They revealed that Delve – one of the most innovative tools on Office 365 – will increasingly focus on people. The file discovery experience will be ported over to OneDrive and SP. This makes sense as its not good or intuitive to ask users to jump from one tool for file discovery onto another for file browsing.

Office Graph will become even more important and we can expect lots of innovation here. Well see it extending beyond the Office 365 file universe with Bing and Cortana feeding into Graphs clever AI algorithms. Could this be the start of a serious threat to Googles dominance in search? Perhaps Bing is positioning itself as a business search engine what youd use at work?

Apparently, Delve is increasingly seen by the product teams at MS as a place to test out new innovations in AI and Office Graph. If and when these catch on the product teams will look at ways to bring them into the mainstream 365 tools like SP and OneDrive.

There was a lot of discussion about groups and teamsites. Microsoft held up their hand here and said that they had messed up by going in two different directions when it came to team collaboration. They acknowledge that it had become confusing and customers were unsure about whether to opt for a teamsite or a group when wanting to collaborate. Thankfully, the vision for the future is much simpler. Think of it like this: a group is essentially a list of people. The site is where that group goes to get stuff done and to share. However, there wont always be a group associated with each SP site. For example, if you have a site related to online training a group doesnt really apply as everyone would need to access it.

The SharePoint team have been using the word intranet a lot in their recent communications. This has never happened before and signals that Microsoft is moving into this space and offering an out-of-the-box intranet. And they are open about this. It is not going to be massively complex or feature rich but were told we can expect it to do the basics well. SharePoint consultancies like ourselves will add value by customising this around specific business needs and lines of business. And theyve provided the tools for us to hook into SharePoints functionalities quickly and efficiently. For us this is in fact great news. It means we can focus on delivering ROI through automation and productivity tools that are tailored to specific business needs rather than re-inventing the wheel.

There was a bit of an elephant in the room and I was struck that no one spoke about Yammer. I went and spoke to Dan Holme at the end. Yammer is currently being re-egineered at the back end so that it integrates better with Office 365 and can actually be hosted in the various data centres around the world. Dan assured me that its definitely not being killed off and that MS is investing in it. Whilst there are some overlaps with groups, Yammer definitely has a place in organisations and a lot of MS customers are seriously invested in it. Once the back end work and some UI enhancements are made we can expect to see Yammer take more of a front seat when it comes to SharePoint and OneDrive integration. We can expect to see simple things like share on Yammer buttons next to files. That will be cool but long overdue.

In summary I was impressed with what the team had to say. Jeff Teper is clearly passionate, knows his stuff and has an answer to almost every question thrown at him. If he doesnt have a solid answer he thinks out loud in response. Hes also not scared to acknowledge mistakes which is refreshing. We can expect to see lots of innovation from the SharePoint and OneDrive team.

The 5 minute business case for a mobile website and intranet

Blurred phoneYour website must support your overall business strategy, and you no doubt care about engagement, conversions (of some kind), and ultimately, sales.

Equally, your intranet must support your business strategy, and help employees get things done efficiently and effectively.

But your website, alongside your social channels, also supports your PR and reputation.

Hopefully, you and your stakeholders consider your online estate, of website and intranet, to be invaluable, but youre missing out if they do not work well on mobiles and tablets. If people cant use your website on smaller screens, they go elsewhere meaning your website is not as valuable as it could be. Further, the frustration caused to your mobile visitors could harm your reputation.

Employees with mobile access to a non-optimised intranet will struggle to complete tasks even tablets may offer a poor experience owing to the small navigation targets that can be hard to touch with a finger.

Yet it can be daunting to prove that moving to a mobile friendly design is worth the effort, and so heres exactly what to do go straight to your stats.

Step 1 compare the dwell time of visitors

Find the average length of time people spend on individual pages; this is sometimes called dwell time in conversation. Remember that very short visits are considered bounces and are of little value. When you compare time spent on your site by desktop users with time spent by mobile users, youll see a stark difference.

Google Analytics gives you the average session duration for desktop, mobile, and tablet users within the Audience > Mobile > Overview report.

Google Analytics

If your website is not optimised for mobile surfers, you might see that the average session duration for mobile is in the seconds basically, people bounce off your site when they realise its taking too long to load, or when they get frustrated with having to zoom in on tiny navigation.

In comparison, desktop dwell time should be in the minutes as people take the time to look around, and properly read your content.

A further column within the same Google Analytics report may tell you that people look at four or five pages on desktop, but only one or two on their mobile.

Yes, people have different priorities when using their mobile device to surf your site they may just want your location, or your latest blog article, but these things are still very much enhanced by a site design that is optimised for mobile and tablet use.

Employees have different priorities when using mobiles too often its about locations, phone numbers, and maybe approving documents and decisions. Optimising your intranet for mobile use isnt about making all the content available, its about making the right content and functions work well on smaller screens.

Step 2 make the case for mobile

The business case is clear. Now that youve done your three minutes of statistical research, you need only communicate what your company is missing out on.

X% of our web visitors use a mobile device, yet our website is not optimised for smaller screens and so performs poorly for these mobile visitors. Desktop visitors spend Y minutes on our site, giving them time to understand our offer, whereas mobile visitors spend around Z minutes on our site they reject our websites design and go elsewhere.

Desktop visitors tend to view V number of pages, and mobile visitors tend to view only W.

With these facts, we know we are missing an opportunity to engage certain potential clients, who expect a company like ours to be available to them any time, anywhere.

Optimising our website design for mobile use would capture this missed opportunity, and we would then see a marked increase in dwell time and page views, affording us greater chance to truly engage more potential clients.

If employees have mobile access to a non-optimised intranet, you could write a similarly concise business case based on your intranet stats. If employees do not have mobile / home access to the intranet at all then youll need to build a case for providing secure access and a mobile solution.

In five minutes, you can justify the move to a responsive web design or a mobile version of your online presence. The solution may take some time to implement, but once stakeholders agree that mobile must be part of your website strategy, momentum and budget will follow.

Mobile intranet

We use cookies to give you the best experience on our site. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find more about the cookies, please see our Privacy Policy