Are your teams working from different locations? Spread across time zones? Are your employees frontline workers rather than desk-based ones?
Or… all of the above?
You’re not the only one.
Recent research shows 74% of companies are turning their employees into remote workers. Covid-19 has triggered a new shift in the way we live, and work.
What’s often missing is a single hub for all these dispersed employees to come together. But no longer does it need to be a physical office. Forward-thinking organizations realise a virtual office can fulfil (almost) all of the same purposes as its historic counterpart.
- What to look for in an intranet software provider
- Top intranet software providers 2021
- Blink – The Frontline App
- Workplace by Facebook
- Google Sites
- Wrapping up
What to look for in an intranet software provider
Intranet technology has evolved at lightspeed recently. In fact, even the term ‘intranet’ is almost obsolete. Today’s software is world’s apart from the traditional intranet, which usually:
- Lives on a single site (in the same way a website does). That means its format is ‘one-for-all’, i.e. not tailored to specific needs, or adjusted to shifting information.
- Is static. The design is outdated, clunky and unintuitive, making it difficult for employees to find what they’re looking for.
- Asks for login credentials every time, which workers may not have to hand—or, with frontline workers, have at all.
- Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network), meaning workers can’t reach it without IT department help.
These create barriers to access. And a dodgy user experience.
New intranet software platforms are more sophisticated: it makes knowledge sharing and internal communication genuinely easier.
But which one’s right for you? There’s a TON of different intranet software on the market. One quick Google search and you’ll feel yourself drowning in the fancy options, feature packages, and product reviews clamouring for your attention.
Instead, ask yourself some questions.
- What is the user experience (UX) like? Is it similar to consumer applications such as Uber, WhatsApp and Facebook, so that it will be intuitive to use and easy to adopt?
- Does it integrate with systems and apps already used in your company, including collaboration tools, platforms, and productivity suites such as Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) and Microsoft 365?
- Is it available not just via mobile web but also native iOS and Android employee apps? Does it create true mobile reach and support?
- Does it personalize information, links, and access to applications for each user?
To help you out, we’ve done the boring bit (so you don’t have to). Here’s our shortlist of the 11 best intranet software providers available right now. All you need to do is choose one.
Top intranet software providers 2021
Blink – The Frontline App
Best for: organizations with a large frontline workforce
Blink is the market leader in a new generation of smart intranet solutions for frontline workers. It wraps all the tools required by frontline workers in a single user-friendly, secure platform, turning any siloed organization into a strong, close-knit community. We built it to address the specific internal communication needs and collaboration challenges of frontline and key workers. But, it works equally well for staff working remotely or from home.
- Puts everything in one app. Using Single-Sign On, every system, conversation, contact and content is accessible with one click. From updates to mandatory reads, chats to stories, and timetables to holiday requests.
- Integrates with hundreds of other workplace systems, from big names like Microsoft 365 to niche industry tools like GreenRoad.
- Democratizes content creation, putting it in the hands of staff rather than just the internal comms team.
Downsides Blink was designed for frontline workers rather than office workers.
Workplace by Facebook
Best for: budget-conscious businesses looking to get started fast without training their staff
Workplace by Facebook uses tools you’re already familiar with (like Facebook groups, Messenger, and video conferencing) to power an online collaboration platform for larger organizations.
- Lets you build team projects, conduct meetings, share updates, and communicate with partner and client companies.
- Supports integration with applications like Google Workspace, Office 365, Jira, and Sharepoint.
- Has a shared knowledge library for staff, with all reference material in one place.
- Offers many ways to communicate with the right people at the right time, including both group and private messages that support text, audio and video formats.
- Helps you engage workers with features like comments and reactions, auto-translation of posts, and polls and surveys.
- Has features to ensure that everyone can access the software, such as user access control through G-Suite or Azure, access codes for workers without email, and single sign-on.
- You can’t create pages to share static information.
- Facebook may not be the best platform to trust with your data, as CERN found out the hard way.
Best for: organizations focused on static knowledge sharing than regular updates
- Lets users save, review, and share files easily with people in your company.
- Comes with pre-built best-practice templates for different use cases such as HR, marketing, product, and so on.
- Has privacy controls and data encryption features that align with industry-verified compliance standards.
- Supports 3000+ marketplace apps for easy integration with 3rd-party productivity software such as Slack, Microsoft Office, Dropbox, and Google Drive.
Downside: It lacks social features you’d need to improve employee engagement and develop an awesome workplace culture.
Best for: task & project management with advanced communication features
SmartTask is an all-in-one cloud-based project management tool that can help you streamline internal communication in your organization. It is popular for its simple user interface. It comes with project management, task management, team collaboration, time tracking, CRM, custom analytics, and reporting features. It is suitable for teams of all sizes whether your team is working from home or the office.
- Manage tasks with the list, board, calendar, and timeline views.
- Handle multiple projects with the portfolio view and allocate resources effectively with the workload view.
- Collaborate with team members via instant messaging, commenting, and video conferencing directly from tasks.
- Invite clients, vendors, or external collaborators as guest users on your projects.
- Set project milestones, compare baseline, and auto-schedule tasks.
- Create custom project dashboards & analyze your team’s performance with productivity scoring.
- Integrates with Zapier, Integromat, Pabby Connect, Slack, and 1000+ other applications.
Downside: At first use, it looks like some features you are looking for are not there because of its simple UI.
Best for: enterprises looking for a large assortment of features in one tool
Looking for a social intranet platform? Interact is one of the top intranet platforms for those looking for something fun and interactive rather than corporate. It combines a social feed, internal communication software and a collaboration tool.
- Offers social functions and static communication from a single digital platform.
- Lets you personalize the tools to align better with your brand.
- Has built-in analytics to assess how your intranet is performing — you can identify popular content and search terms.
- Allows you to broadcast important communications through a wide range of channels, in addition to tracking the read and response rates.
- Supports polls and surveys to measure employee sentiment and get feedback from your workforce.
- Helps you direct your communications to the right group of workers by creating persona groups.
Downside: no integration with Google’s productivity apps.
Best for: large organizatons focused on corporate communication
Staffbase is an intranet software provider for big corporations with both dispersed and desk-based employees. It fosters internal communication with user-friendly features, such as instant notifications, content distribution, and integration with third-party tools.
- Makes it easy for staff to publish and gain work-related information from a single portal, including images, videos, and documents.
- One of the most popular corporate intranet platforms on the market.
- Allows workers to notify managers about work schedules, progress status, leaves etc, and conduct private and group interactions via live chat.
- Has built-in reporting to get a sense of how many employees use the platform, or the impact of your latest post.
- Lets you customize the look and feel of the app to match your branding.
- Offers integration with software you may already use, such as Office 365, SharePoint, and SAP.
Downside: its limited analytics functionality isn’t comprehensive enough to understand how workers interact with the app.
Best for: organizations looking for seamless integration with other Microsoft products
Sharepoint is a static, web-based intranet platform that integrates with Microsoft Office.
Organizations use it for managing, saving, and sharing documents and data internally. They can access SharePoint as a shared portal from any device.
- Connects easily with other Microsoft apps.
- Supports splitting your employees into specific divisions, with every division having its calendar and a visual timeline.
- Allows workers who are part of a division to exchange private messages.
- Has features such as lists, libraries, Microsoft Flow, and Power Apps to build forms, workflows, and custom applications for every device.
- Comes with document libraries to manage content with versioning and user access control.
Downsides: cost of implementation is high, adoption rates are low, and usability is poor – especially on mobile.
Best for: medium to largescale businesses looking for a feature-rich tool
Jive is an internal intranet software and an enterprise social network. Organizations use it for internal communication and collaboration, and knowledge sharing.
- Helps workers stay updated, connected, and engaged by facilitating multi-channel communications and easy file sharing.
- Uses AI to assess your workers’ strengths and weaknesses, and helps organize balanced teams.
- Lets you deliver personalized news updates on both mobile and desktop devices, to which users can respond, comment, and share.
- Allows you to upload, tag, and share videos that can be your own, or imported from Vimeo, YouTube, and other platforms.
- Provides a single inbox to fetch and manage all your communications and conversations in one place.
Downside: A complicated interface, and lacking integrations.
Best for: top-down knowledge sharing and short-term projects
Google Sites is a simple website builder. It supports internal collaboration and communication by allowing users to create responsive, intranet software sites without any coding or development.
- Supports top-down knowledge sharing and short-term projects.
- Offers easy integration with Google products, such as Docs, Drive, and Calendar.
- Has an intuitive drag-and-drop editor to arrange your content in any way you prefer.
- Lets users can collaborate on site content with sharing and security settings similar to Google Docs and Google Drive.
Downside: weak on engagement and facilitating open communication with social features.
Best for: 100% desk-based organizations
Jostle is a cloud-based intranet software provider for companies looking to streamline their internal communication. It helps organizations align teams, share news, and recognize employee contributions.
- Lets you view team matrixes via an attractive visual interface to understand who does what.
- Filters employee data by department, location, and more when sharing content.
- Has a feature called JostleTV that lets you transfer content to TV screens in your offices.
- Allows users to broadcast an announcement to the entire organization.
- Integrates with commonly used tools, from Google to Zapier.
Downside: some features may not apply to your business. It also lacks customization features. And you can’t disable these unused areas or reallocate them into something more appropriate.
Best for: organizations who rely on Google and Microsoft products
LumApps is a SaaS intranet software provider for desk-based organizations. It boasts a robust set of employee communication, social networking, and site design tools.
- Integrates with Google WorkSpace and Microsoft 365 to support content management and internal collaboration.
- Supports multilingual communication with 30+ languages, and automated translation with Google Translate.
- Has a basic WYSIWYG editor and pre-built templates for content creation.
- Provides built-in analytics reporting to measure impact and usage.
Downsides: Lacks a robust search function to find the information you need, and advanced formatting and editing capabilities essential for content creation.
Choosing the best intranet software providers for your organization is a serious undertaking. 16% of Gen Z and millennial employees have quit their job because they felt the technology provided by their employer was inadequate. The
Your intranet platform is going to stay with your workers for a long time; once you have adopted one, there will be no quick and easy way to switch to another one. Each intranet platform has its own learning curve, and you are likely to assemble an enormous amount of data on the intranet you decide to use.
So due diligence is key. Reflect on what your needs and priorities are. Do your research. And finally, take advantage of free trials and demos. Taking them for a test drive is the only way to figure out the best intranet platforms for your organization.