The Future of Intranets: 5 Predictions for 2021

The future of intranets is rapidly changing. The tech landscape is moving faster than ever and so are user expectations. Indeed, 2020 was an unprecedented year and the pandemic has been the catalyst for digital transformation in the intranet space.

So, what will intranets look like in 2021? Here are our top five predictions for the year ahead.

1. Intranets will become digital workplaces

We’re going to see communication portals turn into collaboration portals.

Currently, people are working in platforms all over the place not only in Microsoft 365, but in other third-party systems needed to run their businesses as well.

2021 will see the technology bringing everything together, such as an HR portal, support portal and service desk portal into a single area.

This will make the digital workplace sticky and more meaningful for the end-user. This will not only make employees more productive, but it will also encourage them to come back to the portal every single day.

Key takeaways

  • Communication is one of the pillars of the intranet. But collaboration and co-innovation are becoming fundamental parts of the journey too
  • Integrations are what make a Digital Workplace sticky
  • Employees need to be productive so you need to provide the tools to make their experience delightful

2. Artificial Intelligence will power autonomous portals 

AI has a lot of potential in the corporate communication world. It is already underpinning things like categorization and tagging of content.

Microsoft’s recently rolled out Project Cortex is using AI to help make sense of all your corporate data. It can identify links between content or topics and can extract and categorize documents automatically. Eventually, it will automatically create portals based on topics and projects.

Your team will still create the content, but Project Cortex/AI will augment it and change it on a daily basis, keeping it fresh.

You can also use AI to build an automated, topic-based news page that will get data from a wide variety of sources, including trending content. You can even use it to create an automated newsletter, based on trends of the week.

Key takeaways

  • AI-Driven categorization and tagging of content (Project Cortex) will bring extra value and context to your most valuable asset – your data
  • Automated content creation will keep your landing page relevant
  • Ever-changing portals will create a personalized user experience

3. Digital assistants & chatbots will become more common

Digital assistants and chatbots will soon be able to deliver contextualized content in the moments you need them the most.

A bot, that is part of your digital workplace and is part of your work life, will know when you’re in meetings and who you’re in meeting with.

There’s nothing that would prevent a bot coming to you after a meeting and saying, “Hey, by the way, here are the files that were discussed during the meetings because they were shared so you can follow up on them. And I created a task for you based on the outcome of the meeting”.

In the future, the bot will act contextually, at the right moment. It will become like a digital assistant.

Digital assistants will actually help make you more focused and productive at work. Instead of you having to take notes, or looking at your to-do list, the digital assistant will let you know when things are ready or deadlines are due.

Key takeaways

  • Digital assistants will give you the right answer, every time
  • Bots will deliver contextualized content at the moment you need it the most
  • Digital assistants will detect trends in the workplace, suggest innovations based on user behaviors

4. Tech will enable the “ever-present workday experience”

The future intranet experience will be everywhere, all the time, every day, on any platform, on everything. It will be ubiquitous. It will connect all your systems and everything you need to utilise as an information worker.

Instead of going to the intranet, the intranet will come to you in the context of your work, or in the context of where you are.

At the moment, you’ll have an app on your phone in your pocket. But in the future, it’s going be a lot more than just that.

One of the technologies that Microsoft is working on is called SharePoint Spaces. This is a VR experience directly inside your intranet. So, think about an onboarding guide, where a user can go put on the VR headset and really be fully immersed in the onboarding process. This technology will really change the entire workday experience, making it seamless.

Key takeaways

  • The intranet will be everywhere you are in the digital workplace
  • Every experience you utilize is a way to interact with every colleague on the most important topics
  • The intranet will be in your browser, in Microsoft Teams, in your pocket, in your emails, everywhere

5. Content will be crowd-sourced & curated

The content on future intranets will be made up of automated, trending and contextualized information. The content will be crowd-sourced and very topic-driven.

For example, let’s say that you’re working on “project galaxy”, when you land on that page it will have crowd-sourced all the documents, conversations, information about that topic, that you’ll need. That page will be entirely driven by the machine.

A human content editor won’t add content to a page. Content will automatically be crowd-sourced and curated based on AI.

This is going to be especially useful for enterprise portals disseminating large amounts of information. But also great for smaller organizations, where internal comms teams don’t have the time to spend writing articles, and continuously providing content.

Key takeaways

  • Content is king and will be crowd-sourced from your community
  • The tech will be able to disseminate large amounts of information quickly & create automated content
  • Content editors will be able to identify trending content & easily monitor engagement

These five predictions on the future of intranets for 2021 and beyond will, in our mind, be the ones leading the digital transformation in the intranet space. But are you still looking into having an intranet? If so, take a look at our free “How to Launch an Intranet Quickly” eBook for how to get started quickly.

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