Intranets – the growing force of an internal website

The word ‘intranet’ doesn’t always provoke a positive feeling. Back in the day, they were often seen as an inward facing, dowdy internal system in contrast to the engaging, interesting and exciting outward facing customer website.

Times have changed.

Internal websites are indeed a positive force within an organisation. They can play a vital role in executing the internal communication strategy, helping to grow the internal brand through a variety of content including video, podcasts, editorial and animation. Their ability to showcase what other teams and departments are doing can help to improve connectivity and create opportunities to maximise both internal and external activities. They are at the epicentre of an organisation who has a vision to go fully digital.


Yes, an intranet is indeed an internal website – and this is something to rejoice. Intranets can do whatever an external facing website can do – but from behind the safety of a secure login. There is absolutely no reason for them not to be attractive in their look and feel, engaging through their content and exciting due to their functionality. It’s all there for the taking.


Since the pandemic, we’ve seen a sharp rise in the need for intranets and have most recently developed intranets for Corpus Christi College Oxford and the Oxford Department of International Development.


Their ability to safely store and enable the sharing of information, documents, forms, policies and procedures, records and minutes of meetings, important strategy and legal documents all housed within the right access controls (meaning that ‘who can access what’ can be determined) has fully supported teams who are now working from home.


But this is just the tip of the iceberg. An intranet isn’t just a place to centrally store documents. It can play a central role in harnessing the key administrative functions of your organisation and can be organised in a variety of different ways such as by team, function, geographic location or by staff/student/faculty in an academic set up.


Upon the basic set up of secure document storage and sharing, a whole raft of other processes and functions can be plugged in. These could be other external systems that you integrate into your intranet or bespoke pieces of functionality developed just for you. Some examples include:


  • Room booking systems – finding a room for a particular date and time, requesting it and then having it approved (or not!).

  • Catering services – ordering food and refreshments for meetings or events, as well as day to day communication with the kitchen – for example, notifying that you are in and requesting an order from a list of options. This helps the kitchen to manage demand and reduce food waste. This system could be further expanded to provide information for the kitchen to use to liaise with their suppliers and wholesalers. It could even plug in to staff rotas to marry up with demand, thus creating a complete holistic system for the catering department and indeed any department.

  • Event booking – managing event information by releasing a set number of tickets, sending reminders and allowing cancellations so that people on the waiting list can be offered a ticket. As well as providing all the information needed by event participants in one easily accessible location.

  • Timesheets – no need for clunky spreadsheets or bits of paper. An intranet can enable the individual to complete their timesheet digitally on a form where it then gets sent for approval (if required) and on to finance for processing and can further link in to the payroll system.


As the future of work evolves following the impact on all of us of COVID-19, an intranet could be the solution to improving efficiencies, better managing a more fragmented work force and is the starting blocks to going fully digital.


Get in touch if you’d like to chat about an intranet for your organisation.


Who are we?

We are Olamalu, Drupal experts and experienced web developers. We’re a friendly and down to earth team based in West Oxfordshire, who work together to achieve brilliant outcomes. We’ve been building websites and designing tailormade tech solutions for a huge range of different challenges for over 10 years. We work alongside clients and really get under the skin of the business, understanding not just what is needed now, but also how to plan ahead and consider the business needs in the future.

April 2021