It is not always helpful to refer to intranets and extranets as separate solutions, since their basic purpose for shared information and interaction within defined and limited audiences is similar. Password protected zones on websites perform a comparable service, frequently for customers or members of trade and professional associations.
Businesses may use staff intranets to promote their company events, H&S and environmental policies, business plans, targets and achievements and as an online library for staff newsletters. They keep staff abreast of news and company objectives and where a business is spread over a number of locations employs remote workers or has a multinational presence, their value for maintaining cohesion becomes increasingly important.
External intranets can support a further wide range of activities, including online ordering, order tracking, inventory management and the sharing of mutually beneficial information. These facilities can save costs, lead to more integrated supply chains, improve business relationships and enhance customer service.
So what are the wider marketing and communications benefits of intranets?
- They can perform an important internal PR and communications role. Within a fully controlled environment you can build relationships with staff as internal customers so that they in turn can become the most effective brand ambassadors that your business could wish for – both enthusiastic and informed.
- They can act as proving grounds for testing new ideas and initiatives. The exclusivity provided by an intranet gives members an engaged interest in the enterprise that runs it. Moreover, there can be times when customers can provide a detached view that those working for a company might not come up with because they are too close to the business. An intranet can provide a forum for discussing such feedback and a number of exciting business and marketing strategies can emerge in this way.
- They can provide a selective database for surveys and for measuring and reviewing the success of projects, services and products. Periodical incoming advice from staff can provide useful feedback on how company activities can be fine tuned to achieve greater impact and success.
Because intranets can perform such invaluable services to a business, BBI Brandboost believes that their design, presentation and navigability should receive a similarly high level of attention as that normally devoted to building a company website. We have found that they can be great assets to all types of business, from SMEs to large global enterprises.
To discuss how your company intranet can enhance your communications with internal and selected audiences as well as supporting your wider internet and online engagement, contact BBI Brandboost on 01494 452600, by email or via the Live Chat function on our website. Let us help you to make your intranet a powerhouse for innovative and expansive business strategies.
By Ronnie Gunn
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