Top 10 Reasons Why Intranets Fail & How To Solve Them

why intranets fail

Familiar with the in-house debates about ownership of the company intranet? Should it be IT, internal comms, or HR running the show? In fact, it should be all of these teams and more! These ownership mishaps are one of the reasons why intranets fail but no worries, this article will help you around them.

The modern digital workplace & your intelligent intranet should be a collaborative platform, helping to break down silos and bringing multiple stakeholders together. But most importantly, it must also be in the hands of the people using it, the employees.

As many continue to work from home, the intranet should be at the front and center, aiding daily working lives. Yet sadly, there are many reasons why this isn’t the case. Here we’ve highlighted the most common ones and here they are, the top 10 reasons why intranets fail:

1. No one is taking ownership

The intranet used to be in the hands of IT but it should be also in the hands of internal comms with de-centralized content editors. Anyone with content responsibilities needs to be involved in the decision making!

Renewi's Orgaworld
Renewi’s ICT and Communication departments worked collaboratively to successfully install Valo Intranet.

Case study: Our customer Renewi, a waste to product company in the Netherlands, said the success of its intranet deployment was down to great teamwork and collaboration between the ICT and Communication departments, as well as the experts at Valo’s Premium Partner Advantive.

Installing Valo Intranet was an ICT and Communication Department initiative. This cross-fertilization provided us with an attractive, user-friendly and future-proof intranet platform.

2. Not everyone speaks HQ’s language

The rise of globalization means companies need to support multilingual teams and global staff across different time zones more than ever. Content should be published in the main business language, typically English, with regional content in the employees’ mother tongue. This will help to break down language barriers, especially with blue-collar workers, and increase engagement with ALL staff.

Case study: Staples Solutions uses Valo Intranet’s multilingual feature to reach its international, multilingual workforce spread across 15 countries, 60 percent of which communicate in their native language!

Since Valo Intranet launched, each country now carries content in their native language. When head office publishes a news item, local administrators translate it and publish it on their local site easily, thanks to Valo’s multilingual feature.

3. Not everyone can access the intranet

Not everyone can access the intranet because not everyone’s job requires them to sit in front of a computer. There are millions of desk-less workers, including employees working in construction, manufacturing and on the shop floor. Yet they all need access to company communications, the digital workplace and the same tools as their desk-bound colleagues.

Delhaize Valo intranet front page
All Ahold Delaize’s staff can access Valo Intranet anywhere and anytime.

Case study: International food retailer Ahold Delhaize installed Valo’s responsive intranet to meet the demands of its modern, international, digital workplace and to improve the interaction and engagement between all employees.

Valo Intranet’s functionalities give all our employees 24/7 access to our internal operational procedures and news. The platform is fully responsive, so our colleagues can use it whenever and wherever they want, with any device.

4. Search doesn’t work

A frequent complaint is that the search function doesn’t work. Today’s overloaded workers want to be able to find the relevant information and colleagues, quickly. People haven’t got time to be sent into black holes of information chaos! This is extremely important now when the distributed work is becoming the new normal.

Case study: German hardware supplier Nüßing was fed up with its former intranet because of its time-consuming search functionality had lead to frustrated users. Its poor search functionality made it difficult to find information within it. Yet, since Valo Partner amexus installed Valo Intranet, employees can find cross-departmental documents quickly!

Find instead of search. That’s the first thing that comes to mind when I think of our new Valo Intranet built on SharePoint 2016. Finally!

5. Content is out-dated

Because many companies have had their old intranet for years, content is often out of date and irrelevant. The problem is that there is too much of it and employees can’t find what they are looking for. Employees don’t want to waste time sifting through dated content which should be relevant and limited!

City of Vantaa intranet - image of a computer
Since launching Valo Intranet information is clearly and intelligently structured.

Case study: The Finnish city and municipality City Council of Vantaa says publishing news is now much easier than before with Valo Intranet’s accurate, clear and rational structure.

The new Valo Intranet has pretty much changed our internal communication. Now publishing news is much easier than before. Information is clearly and intelligently structured.

Check out the proper steps & best tips for targeting your content to the right audience by Joanne C Klein!

6. It has a bad user experience

Today’s tech-savvy workers are used to intuitive digital experiences. With the rapid uptake of Microsoft Teams, this is where work IS happening. Employees need access to project files, documents and teams and news at any time of day from within the same platform.

Case study: The Swiss Epilepsy Foundation abandoned its former SharePoint intranet built by its ICT team as no one was using it. The former platform housed nothing more than documents and was lacking any design. Valo’s Premium Partner, Beetroot AG,  recommended Valo Intranet as it’s not only a great technical solution but also has a user-friendly interface as well, with top marks for accessibility following WCAG 2.1 criteria.

We’ve had great feedback from the users. They really love it. They now know that the relevant news and information is found on Valo Intranet.

7. There’s a chaotic governance structure

Which information should be group level, division level, local level or office level? There must be an agreed governance model to run a successful intranet.

Flowable Teamwork
Valo Teamwork has introduce a new governance framework for Flowable Group.

Case study: Since moving from FileShare to Valo Teamwork Flowable Group have improved their work-space governance. Now the IT team have control over the whole life cycle of the work-spaces within the organization. IT can also see who opens a work-space, and which department and location it belongs to and implement approval workflows.

For IT managers, governance processes are very important. Valo Teamwork is a great help. It keeps the platform tidy and clean.

If you need tips with your intranet information structure, see the top 10 tips from Heidi Selkäinaho! We’ve also got the best of the best when it comes to integrating your collaboration tools, such as Valo Teamwork, to Microsoft Teams – find out how!

8. There’s no stakeholder buy-in

Stakeholders who have not been included from the start or in the design process are unlikely to adopt a new intranet. One of the biggest mistakes is to push an intranet designed by group-level staff, mainly publishing content in English, on to a wider staff without asking internal stakeholders their needs or opinions.

Case study: Royal BAM Group knew that getting stakeholder buy-in from all their 10 operating companies would be crucial to successfully launching a new intranet for their 20,000 employees. The BAM Connect project is an example of how “like-minded people came together with similar challenges and a joint ambition”.

It was important and good that the OpCos participated in setting-up a network of editorial boards and steering groups, in order to get Valo Intranet up and running.

9. It has a poor user adoption rate

Because of the lack of training, workers don’t see a reason to use it or even learn it. Maybe it doesn’t meet everyone’s needs or content isn’t easily found. The user interface should be simple and intuitive so there are no unnecessary barriers to engagement!

KNAPP-valo intranet
Valo Intranet has improved employee engagement at KNAPP.

Case study: KNAPP’s former intranet wasn’t being used as employees couldn’t access content easily nor could they see the latest content that had been published. Since Valo’s Partner Solvion Information Management installed Valo Intranet staff have reported that KNAPPnet is very intuitive to use.

Our top goal for using Valo Intranet was to keep technical barriers as low as possible for both content editors and consumers of the intranet. So, our intranet becomes what it should be – a useful tool that our colleagues love to use.

10. There are data security issues

Employees’ personal data needs to be protected. Companies hold a mass of data for each employee including bank details, medical records, addresses, references, the list is endless. It all needs to be kept secure and IT needs to be kept happy!

Case study: St Oswald’s Hospice needed an intranet that ensured high-level security particularly around patient records. One of the huge selling points of Valo Intranet is that it keeps pace with Microsoft updates, which means it’s especially secure.

Patient confidentiality and cyber security are high on agenda. So, the fact that Valo Intranet fits in with that and is updated, patched regularly and maintained is of a huge benefit to us from an IT and Hospice perspective.

Thanks to Valo Intranet, the days of a tired, overcrowded intranet are long gone! Our top features and solutions, such as Multilingual support, People Finder, Quick Links and Mobile App, respond to the common challenges listed above – take a look at our features and offering!

We’ve also got plenty of other testimonials, eBooks, webinars and useful blog posts for you to enjoy and learn from. There’s also plenty of new Case Studies, lectures and session that were a part of our Valo Fest 2020 so make sure to check out the agenda and get the recordings if you can relate to issues like diversity at work, leadership and communication, Microsoft Teams usage and so on!


Do you want to modernize your old intranet to create a 21st-century digital workplace? Contact us for a quick chat, demo, or a call today!


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