Most businesses implement a shared drive in their infancy. A shared drive is simple to create, easy to explain, and low in cost. At some point though, businesses need to decide whether to drop the shared drive for a better system. Is your office ready for an intranet? Consider these benefits of an intranet and whether they would serve your organization.
A shared drive is great, until your company grows. Then, you have a space that's littered with "Dave's Spreadsheets" and "Susan's Policies." The openness of a shared drive makes it so the message isn't always secure. An employee can easily change and rearrange the shared drive in such a way that it makes it difficult for other employees to find the correct documentation. Eventually, it becomes a dumping ground of information with no quality control and little use to incoming employees. An office intranet provides better organization and security for employer information. Rather than every employee having the ability to rename, rearrange, and delete files, the intranet organizes information and allows employees to add to current information in a meaningful way.
While shared drives have search capability, it’s reliant on document titles. If you start numbering policies or reorganize, it makes it difficult for employees to find information. Rather than being a benefit, a shared drive becomes a time waste as employees spend more hours searching for information. An intranet allows for website style searching to better locate articles through keywords. This also allows employees to find additional company information that they may have not been specifically searching for but would help them better perform their job. When a business expands, so does the information that employees need to do their job. An intranet provides better access to that information.
One of the benefits of a shared drive is the ability of multiple team members to access and improve on the same information. Whether they sit in the next cubicle or across the globe, you want teammates to be able to see what each is doing on a project and add their ideas. A shared drive allows team members to revise that same content but not necessarily catalog the changes. In one keystroke, an employee can delete or ruin a document. An intranet allows businesses to more easily track revisions and revert that documentation to a previous version, if necessary.
Where do your employees get information? If you don’t have an intranet, the answer is probably varied. Some employees hear updates through their manager, some read it in company emails, and others read flyers in the break room. An intranet is a one-stop shop for employee information. Rather than expecting employees to memorize their boss’ words or find that old email, an intranet is a single space for employees to learn and refresh themselves on company policy, protocol, and procedure. Employees don’t need to run to the nearest manual or find that ten times over photocopied form to complete their work, they only need to get on the intranet and the up-to-date information is at their fingertips.
A shared drive is a great communication system for small businesses but once a business starts evolving, the shared drive is more of a liability than it is a time saver. An intranet is a curated space that provides up-to-date information, a space for collaboration, and a depository for all company news. If your business is testing the limitations of its shared drive, consider whether you need a company intranet instead.