Mobile intranets kills the internal communications propaganda machine

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Mobile-first coupled with new media firms like Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post and Vice have set new standards for what makes truly good content in a digital age. A changed mindset for content consumers impact intranets as well where employees no longer tolerate the old-fashioned internal press releases from the communications department. Earlier this year, I sat down with intranet expert Frank Wolf, who is co-founder at German-based software startup Staffbase which focuses on employee app solutions, including for non-desktop workers.

Mobile content and intranet content

“People in all industries are in need of information throughout the day — but they don’t have hours to methodically sit down and search for the most relevant piece of information. A good mobile intranet should bring it right to them, wherever they are”

This quote by Frank Wolf is backed by a recent study by Nielsen and Google, which revealed that “in the moment” searches are very frequent with 85% of smartphone users looking for local information and 81% following up to take action.

This puts extreme emphasis on usefulness for all content, and especially for content on a mobile intranet.

No one browses the intranet

Your colleagues use your intranet because they have to and until now this monopoly on the digital workplace has seldom a boost in productivity or employee satisfaction.

We need to do better and in particular when on a mobile device, you can expect that there is something you colleague need right this second. If a piece of content can’t find it’s reader and provide something useful in this situation, it won’t be read.

Intranet content is purpose driven, it has to be useful. It usually informs rather than entertains, and it should aim to do so as skillfully as possible. With a mobile intranet it should above all do it as quickly as possible.

3 criteria for good mobile intranet content

These criteria are true for content on any intranet, but even more so on a mobile intranet:

  • Useful

  • Scanable

  • Findable

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If you barely have the patience to search and navigate your intranet to find what you need on a laptop, then it is not going to happen on the mobile device, when sitting on the train in the morning commute or while waiting in the airport.

As Frank Wolf argued earlier, our lives are made up of small moments of time and your intranet and it’s content should be geared towards them

Thanks to the advent of smartphones and ubiquitous internet access, truly compelling digital workplaces with creative and smart content will hopefully soon see the light of day.