Migrating your company’s intranet to a new solution might sound like an immense undertaking, but now might be the best time to be thinking about a switch. These days, businesses need intranets that better integrate with their digital workplace and can be a place to provide both editorialized and collaborative social content. Legacy systems face the possibility of withering on the vine, leaving businesses with unsupported systems. On the other hand, the benefits of a successful migration include more engaged users, faster communication, operational efficiencies and easier access to more thoughtfully curated content.
One can’t discuss organizational needs without acknowledging the current state of the world. Organizational changes, such as mergers, acquisitions, divestments and carve-outs are happening all around. Meanwhile, the pandemic as well as geopolitical change affect all industries. To weather these changes, businesses must maintain corporate memory and institutional knowledge. Having a corporate intranet that facilitates communication is one way to retain that memory.
One organization that recently migrated its intranet is Sika AG. Valérie Stadler, digital workplace manager for user adoption, shares their experience and offers examples of what businesses should consider when exploring an intranet migration.
Today’s intranets have a host of features that older systems don’t have. Feature parity should be something to explore when researching any possible intranet migration. Are the features in your potential new solution similar to the intranet you already use, or will there be a give and take between what you have and what you’ll get?
“For our business, we needed additional features such as communities, landing pages for our countries and other corporate functions, social features around communication,” Stadler says. “This would expand our networking possibilities and help meet our business requirements.”
“When doing an intranet migration it is essential to involve all departments across the organization so they know the impact on their business,” says Stadler. “Throughout the entire project, we had a close alignment with our IT and supported each other on the different challenges!” Stadler also suggests identifying several individuals to act as change champions. “Our change champions really helped Sika implement the digital transformation we set out to achieve,” says Stadler.
Any new platform will require employee behavior change. This will be especially true if your business has been using a legacy system until now. If your employees are used to a legacy system, they might need training and coaching to use a new platform that may be more social or collaborative.
Given how detailed intranet migrations can be, it’s important to see if your new system provider can automate some or all of your content migration. Identifying how much content to move to the new intranet will in part determine how much of a manual effort an intranet migration will be. Ensure your internal comms teams or other business owners have the time to migrate content or even review old content to see what to keep and what to trash or configure the new platform. If they don’t have the bandwidth, you’ll need a trusted partner who can automate some or all of these tasks and make the transition as painless as possible.
Migrations can take as little as a few months or as long as a year, depending on the amount of data your organization needs to move. Working with a vendor or migration specialist that has experience with successful intranet migrations can smooth the process of moving old data to the new system and ensuring the intranet is set up to specifications. “For our own migration, it was critically important to have a migration specialist like T-Systems helping us,” Stadler says. “Their assistance ensured we didn’t lose any important company data and that everything was mapped across correctly.”
Many organizations have transitioned into remote-first workforces over the past few months. With a majority of employees working from home, feeling disconnected from the physical workplace, and in need of being more connected to their peers, having a digital workplace in place is essential to fulfilling those needs.
However, communications platforms should be thoughtful to be effective. Internal communications departments must be able to distribute important messages to employees, be able to answer questions, and address insecurities in an efficient manner. Chat platforms solve the immediate need of quick peer-to-peer communication, but have proved inefficient for organization-wide corporate communications.
As legacy systems sunset, organizations need new intranet solutions that address these needs. Migrating your intranet to a new solution can solve these challenges. When migrating, ensure you have allies, both within and without your organization who can identify areas of improvement and act as change champions. Ideally, your new intranet should have feature parity with your current system, which can help with employee adoption. With many businesses sticking to a remote-first strategy for the foreseeable future, now is the time to improve your internal communications platforms with a new intranet solution.
Watch our recent webinar on-demand: How Successful Intranet Migrations Create New Possibilities.