If you’ve worked anywhere founded before the 2010s you’ve probably had to deal with some sort of intranet. It was the business world’s answer to today’s Notion, Bamboo HR, and Slack but mixed into one platform.
Intranets were one of the few pieces of software older generations were all over — and with good reason. They were convenient, practical, and capable of being tailored to each organization’s needs. But as time went by and technology evolved, they were relegated to the back of the storage room along with DVDs and infomercials.
So, while you can still find intranets in the wild today one question remains.
Are they still relevant? And, do you actually need to invest in one for your business?
Let’s find out.
Not to be confused with a funky spelling of ‘internet’, intranets are company-wide private networks that securely connect all employees of an organization. They help make daily operations and communication easy by centralizing everything in one place. And, because you need special credentials to use them, they’re a step above when it comes to security.
Basically, before there was Slack, Toggl, and ClickUp businesses used intranets to access all the tools they needed to do their job. So, if you didn’t know who to contact for help on a project or you had HR paperwork to fill during onboarding, you would turn to the company intranet. There, you could find company directories, document libraries, and even instant messaging features.
But, as cool as they were during their time intranets, like everything else in business, had some noticeable pros and cons.
While old intranets might have a bad rep due to their poor user experience and outdated features, modern ones offer plenty of positives.
Newer options (like Microsoft’s Sharepoint) are much more user-friendly and provide access to information in one convenient spot. With remote work taking off, preventing your team from platform-hopping has never been more useful.
The best aspect of intranets, however, is how customizable they are. You can tailor them to your business's exact needs making them an efficient organizational tool.
On the other hand, intranets have been going out of style for valid reasons. Things like months-long set-up timelines and constant software updates have made teams strongly dislike them.
They’re expensive for smaller budgets, and require specific backend knowledge to maintain. On top of that, having all your important documents in one spot does make it easier for security breaches to happen.
Good question! The short answer is: it depends. With the amount of cloud-based and easy-to-implement software options out there, you can certainly go far without one. In fact, if you’re just starting out or have a smaller team you can probably get away with a mix of Monday.com, Staffbase, and Teams (or whatever combination works for your people).
But, if your team is larger and you’re finding that things are slipping through the cracks then it might be smart to consider intranets. The issue is that a full-scale intranet development and implementation can be incredibly expensive and time-consuming.
So, what are you supposed to do? Is there even a middle-ground option?
We know that intranets can be great, but not everyone has thousands of dollars and endless months to spend on implementation. Applications such as Notion or Confluence are great middle ground option. For those organizations that want intranet benefits without the big effort, Epoch is a great lightweight solution. Epoch has a direct link / iframe with both Notion and Confluence, and is on time intranet-adjacent solution in the interim.
At Epoch, we help people teams deliver impactful employee experiences through everyday tool integrations and centralized scheduling and communications. All while providing you with data-driven insights and feedback to help you understand exactly what’s working — and what isn’t.
Curious? Book a demo here.
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