Within a business, the necessity to be able to communicate with every single department within your company is pretty much vital, no matter whether it employs 50 people or 5,000 people. There are plenty of ways to do this (such as e-mail and telephone) but now, more companies are pushing towards an actual Internet platform, or intranets, as the medium for collaboration and sharing information.

An intranet is similar to the Internet in that it is a collection of documents that are connected via hyperlinks. However, the documents on an intranet are private and often only accessible by a computer on a local area network (LAN) or via the Internet with the appropriate login and password information.

To make an intranet you need a network, server, and content that is relevant to your organization.

Have menu options for each department that will be accessing the site.

The best tip about setting up your intranet is to customise it according to the needs of the people who will be using it. This means that the needs of your finance department is different from your communications department. The aim of this is to create a much more interactive intranet so you can see relevant information about what people are working on. Narrow down to information per department according to what is just relevant to them.

An example of customisation would be having individual departments can also set up blogs and each department can share information relevant only to their members, where they can comment on each post and share them with other users as well.

Make your content usable

Content becomes useable when it is available when needed. Reference material and records may well be available somewhere on your intranet, but they are not useful unless people can find and access them.

For instance, an expense procedure should be available at the point of need – when an employee is submitting their expenses. It’s no good if the 15-page guidance sits in the central library while he/she struggles. The expense system should offer contextual guidance at every stage or at least offer a link to the specific paragraph within the expense procedure.


When setting up intranet using any platform, be sure you pay particular attention to where documents can be centralised. Have a place to download documents, images and other information. Also have a place for administrators to be able to upload those documents, instead of relying solely on the company server or portable individual drives. Igloo, in particular, allows documents to be viewed using a built-in Flash player plus it supports most file formats, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF documents.

Have a structured layout

Good communication follows a narrative. There’s room for a variety of voices and structure on an intranet, but consistent structure helps people scan-read and find the relevant points.

There are good practices to stick to, like using several sub-headings, plenty of paragraph breaks, and short sentences.

In general, employees scan read until they find something salient; especially when under time pressure, employees expect important points directly underneath headings and sub-headings and contextual details further down. It’s not possible to understand what is important to all, so there’s no such thing as the perfect page – only a great page for the relevant audience.