Most organisations have a diverse range of applications, some of which staff may use irregularly. Providing access to applications via the intranet enables staff to locate applications via a single point of access.
0: Links to applications and other business tools are not available via the intranet. There are many other applications accessed via other mechanisms, and potentially competing with the intranet.
5: All relevant business applications are accessible via the intranet and applications are grouped both by type and by topic (such as a link to the travel booking application being available from a travel page).
Core applications have been made available on the intranet
Most staff are required to regularly complete common tasks, such as filling in timesheets, requesting leave, or providing figures for centralised reporting. The intranet should provide web-based mechanisms for efficiently completing these tasks.
0: Most common business tasks are still completed via manual, paper-based processes that are inefficient, time-consuming and prone to error.
5: The intranet provides efficient web-based mechanisms for completing the majority of common tasks.
Common forms can be completed online
Beyond just linking to PDF versions of pre-existing forms, the intranet should provide the ability to fill in common forms online. This is a relatively simple way of positioning the intranet as a ‘business tool’, and delivering measurable efficiency benefits.
0: Forms are provided on the intranet as PDF documents which must be downloaded, printed, and filled in by hand. At worst, the intranet may be missing some of the forms used across the organisation.
5: The majority of common forms can be filled in online. This includes both simple forms and those requiring authorisation or more complex form logic.
Applications are found and accessed in a simple and logical way
As the number of applications accessible on the intranet grows, the challenge is to provide meaningful structure and navigation to help users quickly locate the required system.
This includes ensuring that applications can be accessed from relevant areas of the site, as well as using meaningful links and descriptions.
0: Applications are accessed in an ad-hoc way on the intranet, and links to systems are generally the systems’ names or acronyms (rather than human-friendly descriptions of the functionality provided).
5: Applications are linked to from one or more key locations on the intranet, as well as being accessible from other relevant areas (such as links to the leave system from the leave policy page). Links provide meaningful descriptions of the functionality, rather than system names or acronyms.
Staff are provided with a single user experience across all internal systems
A single ‘user experience’ should be presented to staff, regardless of the system that provides the information. In practice, this means that there should be a single ‘look and feel’ across the intranet and other internal systems (such as HR systems). This greatly benefits the ease and confidence with which staff use all systems.
Note that this includes all web applications that staff would generally consider to be part of the ‘intranet’, recognising that staff rarely understand the distinction between the intranet, other applications and portal software.
0: There is no visual consistency between the intranet and other internal systems. Each system has a different appearance, navigation and page layout.
5: All internal systems are visually consistent, provide the same navigation and operate in consistent ways. Information and tools are provided in the same way, regardless of the back-end system that is being used.
Applications and the supporting information needed to use them should be tightly integrated. This means that staff must be provided with the relevant tools, policies and guidelines in the one location, ideally with the key information provided in a ‘context-specific’ manner within the intranet application.
For example, the leave form should not be located in one section of the intranet, while the leave policies and guidelines are situated elsewhere (and not cross-linked).
0: Applications are provided completely independently of the policies, guidelines and other supporting information needed to use them. There is no cross-linking between applications and related content.
5: Applications and supporting information are tightly integrated, including extensive cross-linking between applications and related content. Where appropriate, key information is provided in a context-sensitive manner within applications.
There is ‘single sign-on’ across all intranet-based applications
A single user name and password should allow access to all intranet-based applications. Ideally, users are automatically logged into the intranet when working on the corporate network, and then are not further prompted when accessing specific applications.
0: Multiple user names and passwords are required to access each intranet-based applications. Users are prompted when each application is opened.
5: ‘Single sign-on’ is implemented across all intranet-based applications, allowing a single user name and password to be used by staff. Where possible, users are automatically logged into the intranet, and are not further prompted when accessing individual applications.