As a small business owner, you wear multiple hats at any one time. From sales to human recruitment, accountancy and IT – you need to have expertise in all facets of running a business. Perhaps the hat that fits least well, though, is IT, and usually this is because it’s the area that is least understood. In addition, technology is changing so fast that it can be very hard to keep up to date. But what about if there were an IT solution out there that also delivered benefits in all areas of running a business? You’d be mad not to go for it, wouldn’t you? Well, in this article, we look at how, in a single platform, a hosted intranet can deliver business benefits that will be felt throughout your company. That’s why your small business needs a hosted intranet.
What is a hosted intranet?
In simple terms, an intranet is a private website that can only be accessed internally by staff members. An intranet also acts as a central management system and provides software with which you can upload, edit and manage digital content. Therefore, in one platform, a hosted intranet contains all the business tools and information that staff need for their jobs.
It is possible to build an intranet on your own, but for small businesses, this isn’t really a feasible option as it requires a considerable investment of time and resources as well as superior technological expertise. A much easier solution for small business is a hosted intranet. Here, for a modest monthly fee, your intranet is hosted in the cloud by a specialist intranet provider. Building an intranet with a hosted solution is surprisingly easy and does not require any great technical expertise. Often, there are templates that you customize to suit your own business requirements. And the hosted intranet provider is usually happy to provide ongoing support as well as assuring the security of your data.
What are the business benefits of a hosted intranet?
In short, the hosted intranet can provide multiple business benefits. It will make your daily working life as well as those of your staff members much easier. It’s as simple as that.
Detailed below are some of the main business benefits. These are by no means the full list. Like a great many small businesses before you, you will find that a hosted intranet positively impacts on a whole range of your operations in ways that you would never have thought of.
Once upon a time, communication in your small business was easy. Everyone could sit around a table, and first thing on a Monday morning was a great opportunity to catch up on the company news over a coffee. As soon as your business outgrows that one table though, communication can quickly become an issue. Your working day also seems to get busier and busier, and it can be difficult to find the time for any kind of communication. And yet we all know how critical communication is to the smooth functioning of any business – large or small.
An intranet makes communication easy. Login to Facebook and you see a digest of news. Login to Twitter and you’re presented with a similar series of updates. The home page on your intranet will act in the same familiar way. Latest company news, critical information and key events will feature on the home page, providing all employees with the same key messages at the right time. Uploading news is easy. With a few clicks of the mouse, your content will be uploaded and refreshed so it’s not an onerous task to make sure that the process of communication runs smoothly.
Hosted intranet software also offers the possibility of streamlining your business processes through automation. You’ll be able to do away with paper-based systems and endless email. So if one of your employees wanted to book a day’s leave, with the hosted intranet they will be able to complete an application form online which will then go directly to the manager for approval. A process that previously would probably have taken a day or two plus paperwork and emails now takes just a matter of seconds and a few clicks of the mouse.
Additionally, there is no limit to the processes that can be streamlined. From personnel functions, such as staff appraisals, claiming expenses and payroll through to general business functions, such as resolving a customer complaint, creating a new supplier in the system even to manufacturing a new product, all of these processes are capable of being streamlined on the hosted intranet.
Furthermore, if your small business regularly makes use of Google apps such as Google Calendar, Google Sheets and Google Docs, then these can be embedded into your intranet with a widget for easy and convenient access.
Sharing information on the hosted intranet is quick and easy. The intranet is the central hub for all document and file storage. Using a familiar file explorer interface, files and documents can be shared internally and externally, and there is unlimited storage space. Moreover, an advanced search capability means that staff members will easily locate the information they are after. Another advantage is that the intranet will be the source of the most up-to-date versions of any documents, so time wasted on checking with colleagues or sifting through emails for that updated version of the product manual will be minimized.
As well as information sharing, the intranet can manage the organization’s collective knowledge. From best practice blogs and forums to frequently asked questions as well as external policies and procedures, all the knowledge relevant to your business can be shared and managed using the hosted intranet. Linked pages, databases and forums means that staff will have access to a host of data and information to support their daily work.
Hosted intranets: essential to any small business
We’ve touched on only a few of the benefits to be gained from implementing a hosted intranet. No doubt you will discover a host more like many a small business before you. Perhaps the overriding benefit of the hosted intranet is the fact that all this is possible within one easy-to-use platform. And with a hosted intranet you can be up and running and reaping the rewards in a matter of hours. You’d be mad if you didn’t, right?
For more information or an informal discussion on the possibilities offered by a hosted intranet, contact the friendly team at MyHub.
NOTE: This guest article and its corresponding image were submitted by MyHub and are used with permission.