From traditional intranet to digital workplace

Three experts give their opinion on how the future's intranet looks, how to anchor it, and why investing in it. Mads Richard Møller from Intra2 and IntraCom Consult, Lau Hesselbæk Andreasen from J. Boye and Kurt Kragh Sørensen from IntraTeam provide great advices to those who want to invest in the digital workplace.

How would you describe the future's intranet in relation to the digital workplace?


The future intranet becomes a place that you can reach with all your private or corporate devices like mobile, iPad, TV and PC. We're not talking about an intranet in the future, but about the digital workplace where you can do all your work without having to think about which system you need. The digital workplace, on the other hand, can be selling more, saving money and be more effective as it makes it easier for you to do your work wherever you are.


The digital workplace has the potential to become far more business critical than a traditional intranet, because it embraces one to many communications, many-to-many dialogue / knowledge sharing, and self-service and collaboration tools. It is adapted to the individual employee and simultaneously supports professional and social communities - across organizational and geographical boundaries.

It is an access to all internal digital resources, but also to relevant external digital resources, and it is accessible both through personal computers, shared info screens and mobile devices.


The future intranet will vary more in terms of shape, appearance and functionality than it has been before. There is so much you can put on an intranet: News, self-service solutions, instant messaging, phone book, training materials, policies, guidelines, micro blogging, search functionality and more.

Doing everything is an overwhelming task. The company is therefore forced to carefully consider exactly what their intranet should offer the employees and what the expected outcomes and business benefits of the different parts of the intranet should be. It will, of course, vary from company to company or organization to organization. The traditional intranet was typically characterized as an one way communication channel for "corporate information". It's still an important feature, but the real value creators in the future will be all the functionalities and applications that make it easier for employees to perform their jobs: For example, self-service solutions and better-organized workflows, such as replacing physical papers and forms.

Anchoring the digital workplace - What's does it take?


It's important to inform employees and to get their input on what's happening inside the organization, so you can design and deliver the best and most useful solutions and functionalities. Also, be aware of whether there are changes in the business strategy and business goals that have implications for the different business areas, and thus the digital workplace as well.   


This requires a much broader and more binding anchoring than it used to be when an intranet had to be anchored. Both at management level and among users.

The last-mentioned is necessary for the digital workplace to function in the daily routines for many different employee groups, with very different tasks and working conditions.


The challenge today is that most intranets are owned by the communications department, and the digital workplace requires a much broader ownership. Ideally, the digital workplace is managed by a department highly located in the organization structure, which can help the individual employee to perform his work, through technical, process or professional support.

Why invest in an intranet?


You need to invest in a digital workplace to help your colleagues perform their work quickly, efficiently and amusingly.  


Hvis man holder fast i begrebet 'den digitale arbejdsplads' er det vanskeligt at forestille sig en arbejdsplads, der ikke bliver mere og mere digital. Og hvis man ikke arbejder strategisk og investerer i udvikling af virksomhedens digitale arbejdsplads, så bliver man ikke klogere og bedre til at digitalisere analoge/ fysiske processer eller forbedre og optimere eksisterende digitale processer.

Keeping the term 'digital workplace' in mind makes it hard to imagine a workplace that is not becoming more and more digital. And if you do not work strategically and invest in developing your company's digital workplace, you will not get smarter and better to digitize analog / physical processes or improve and optimize existing digital processes.


A functional and well-designed intranet with relevant tools and self-service solutions can save time. An investment that focuses on making business critical information readily available to the right employees will always pay off. If you can save the individual employee a couple of minutes per day (and it shows all statistics that you can - and often many more), then the income from an investment is quickly earned.   

An intranet is typically one of the platforms that affects most employees in an organization and as such it can be an important cultural carrier: An effective tool for tying a global organization together, creating the feeling that you are part of something bigger than just your own department.

Three tips for companies considering investing in the digital workplace

Lau Hesselbæk Andreasen:

  1. Start looking at the company's pain points and make a thorough needs analysis. Wait for the technology.
  2. Use as far as possible your current the technology. Often the real problems do not lie with technology (though it often gets the blame), but has to do with the organizational culture, internal political frictions and ambiguity about need and purpose.
  3. Be realistic about what the organization is ready for and able to achieve.

Kurt Kragh Sørensen:

  1. First, sell the idea of ​​the digital workplace to the management.
  2. Anchor the digital workplace in the business strategy to help the management implement their strategy (sell more, save costs, develop products faster etc.).
  3. Remember to define what you want to use the digital workplace for before choosing a system or systems.

Mads Richard Møller:

  1. Build on your own and others' experiences: Both best and worst practice.
  2. Make sure that all parts of the company are co-investors. Then they will also be co-responsible to make the digital workplace a good business case.
  3. Be realistic in the short term (in terms of competencies and resources) and ambitious in the long term.

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