10 Essential Features your Google Intranet must have

Oct 2021
5
Mins read

Does your organization run Google Workspace? Are you looking for a better way to operationalize your apps and services, heighten productivity, collaboration, and effective communication, plus enhance knowledge sharing and give your employees a branded online workspace? Then implementing intranet software that leverages Google Workspace is the right solution for a better digital experience.

Are you looking for the best Intranet software solution for mid-size businesses?

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What is Google Workspace for Business?

Google Workspace for Business is a collection of cloud-based apps and tools that are helpful for businesses, a productivity suite not unlike Microsoft Office. However, it’s just that - a set of apps. Unlike an intranet, which provides a jump off point for apps as well business information discovery, news, and intra-business functions like training and forms, Google Workspace alone is just the apps themselves.

Why is an Intranet for Google Workspace a good idea?

Google’s apps are great. Businesses are now built on repositories of data from Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides, with Gmail the default email of SMBs worldwide. Google apps have simple and easy-to-use UIs and come with inbuilt user familiarity due to personal use. Single Sign On makes access easy.

However what these apps lack is centralized management, functionality, publishing, and discovery system to use within organizations - hence why an intranet is an ideal overlay.

Are Google’s sites good enough for business Intranet?

Google does have Google Sites - the Google app that can be used to build websites and intranets easily. However if you take a look at the examples of the sites built and published on their own webpage, you’ll see a collection of dead links, out-of-date looking websites, and not very impressive content. As far as intranets go, they direct you to Google’s own Sites publishing service. In short, the Google Sites product isn’t yet mature enough for most businesses to use for an intranet builder - but if you just want to publish a basic ‘site on a page’ it’ll do just fine.


Ten Essential Features you must have:

1. Sync, Search and Manage Google files

Google Drive is the app where you can sync, search and manage Google files, however having the ability to do this from within your intranet too is a must-have.

Rather than heading externally, users can search for company Google file types centrally, access, view, and modify their personal Google Drive folder and contents, alongside shared folders - with automatic sync. 

2. Search for Knowledge and files

Your work assets will span across other file types and knowledge bases as well - not just Google files. Your intranet should allow you to search across other assets such as PDFs, Word documents, forms, etc. Built within the intranet, you’ll be able to surface knowledge-base articles, news, events, learning modules, and more.

3. Team Directory and organization chart

Know who’s who in the zoo with a team directory. A team directory allows employees to find the right people at the right team and get in contact for quick Q&As or in depth meetings. A team directory is even more essential in the current climate where working from home has become standard place and you can’t walk around the site to see where people are grouped.

With a proper team directory, you’re able to display an organizational chart that shows who reports to who, where various groups live within the organization, and even put faces to names. 

4. Sync with Google Calendar

Within-organization open and private group events, meetings, and workshops should be easily viewable and browseable for users, with all the relevant details available on an intranet calendar and dedicated events space. 

Calendar sync is a critical feature for a Google Workspace-based workplace so that people within the business never miss an event or have to copy and paste events across platforms. Get a calendar synced across apps.

5. Share Corporate Communications

Email newsletters may never be opened. SMS blasts lack any sort of depth of information. Do internal communications like the news feed, pushing your most important internal stories to the front of your employees’ reading space. Use the front page of your intranet and notifications for the most critical of your newsworthy news. When developing your corporate communications strategy remember: items need to be seen to have an impact.

6. Share Social Communications

Your intranet doesn’t need to be a stuffy and dull place, it can somewhere social - more aligned with social media practices, such as liking, commenting, and sharing.

By opening up content on your intranet to be more interactive, it gives you a chance to gauge the impact of internal employee experience campaigns for better social intelligence, learn about which sections of the business are more interesting to readers, heighten social awareness, and allow people to get help on topics more quickly.

7. Tasks - onboard new starters 

Onboard quickly by having a jump off point for new starters containing forms, informational videos and training, company information, security and OH&S tests, and more. Create templated tasks and add due dates that are personalized for each department, team, or role, so that each employee has a smooth, complete, targeted, and always up-to-date onboarding program. Managers can easily view task completion status for each onboarding process activity.

Digitize all onboarding activities and automate new hire checklists to ensure they’re up to speed within the right timeframes. 

8. Forms

Instead of having separate systems, email workflows, and forms submission, why not have everything live in one spot? With business-related forms creation, organized into categories (e.g. leave requests, notification of personal details updates, purchasing requests, etc.), and the ability to submit through the portal, everything is easy to find and complete. Create approvals for when other team members need to check over a form and trigger follow up notifications so nothing gets missed. You can even display a relevant landing page for intranet logon on the approver’s account.

9. Requests, Workflows and Notifications

Automations need to be inbuilt into a modern intranet platform, allows admins and users to get more done in less time, eliminating repetitive manual processes. 

We can add requests, workflows, and notifications to any document on the CentricMinds intranet, be it a form, Word Document, or any other filetype. These workflows form an approvals process, which can be directed to one or more people within the organization. Workflows may also require a multi-step process, for example approval through Marketing, Sales, and HR. A workflow itself may be specified for certain roles or groups.

10. Dashboards - to see the status of tasks, requests

Organizational insights are a key feature for administrators in an intranet platform like CentricMinds. This allows you to view active vs inactive users, groups, and last online. Project dashboards will also should the number of workflow requests and approvals, number and status of tasks (whether completed on time, overdue, or in progress) plus assignees and managers. 

See the performance of intranet pages, where people are visiting, and more.

How to launch a successful Intranet

A successful Intranet is one which:

  1. Is used as the main portal to company resources
  2. Delivers excellent corporate communications 
  3. Is available on any device, from anywhere
  4. Provides powerful search capabilities to surface relevant information quickly
  5. Is simple for all users to interact with
  6. Has links to all appropriate data and applications
  7. Is secure

Keeping this in mind, it’s easy to see why a Google workspace Intranet, one that combines the power of Google apps, is poised for success. From using the G Suite apps, you’ll be aware that each app already ticks the last five boxes - this is why they’ve become so wildly successful. All that’s missing is a modern Intranet platform that brings it all together.


Before you begin: Tips for success

Create an Intranet project plan

Make sure that you’re building the right type of Intranet - one that us user-centric and drives successful employee engagement. How can you do this? By outlining a plan before you dive in. We have the how to guide here.

Make sure that your Google Workspace is in the right shape to hook up to the CentricMinds Intranet Software

Organise folders, files, user accounts, and calendars within Google Workspace before hooking up to your Intranet. The better organised that your workplace apps are before you begin, the better the outcome will be.

Empower your user base

Get employee buy-in before you launch. By asking employees what they’d like to see in your company Intranet you empower them by providing a way to shape your digital future - as well as avoid any blind spots that you may have missed.

Consider other integrations

CentricMinds can integrate seamlessly with other products such as Microsoft 365, Salesforce, Slack, Trello, and DropBox. Don’t miss out on adding other software integrations into your intranet for the full picture on your business data.

Have a consultation with our team

We’re here to help you create and run a successful Intranet. Get off on the right foot by speaking with us before embarking on your new Intranet project. We can walk through your current company digital infrastructure, provide advice in making your business data prepared for Intranet-readiness, suggestions about best practices for your organization, and how to segment your users for optimal workflows.


3 Google Intranet Examples

If you're thinking about creating an intranet that integrates with your Google Workspace, you’re probably wondering: "What kinds of intranets are out there?"

Well, we've got good news for you. 

There are 3 main categories of intranet experiences that can be integrated with Google Workspace. Whether your employees are mobile or desktop, it's critical to decide what kind of collaboration experience you want to provide them with, and compare them to work out the best one for your employees, goals, and company.

Let's take a look at each type of intranet experience and see how they can benefit your company.

1. Corporate Intranet Hub for Google Workspace

This style of Intranet helps to connect people across an entire organization and makes them feel like they're part of one big team working towards the same goals. It brings together the most important information to keep employees informed and connects all of the dots for them so they can use it as a jumping off point to connect to apps and continue their daily work journey. It delivers a digital employee experience that is easy to navigate and helps everyone stay informed about what's going on.

The Corporate Intranet Hub for Google Workspace offers:

  • A hub for catching up on the latest company-wide news, announcements, and fun stuff.
  • Sync and access Google Workspace files securely within the Intranet.
  • Use a Corporate Intranet Hub to centrally store, organize, and sync all files.
  • Use a shared Google Events calendar that keeps everyone up to date on what's going on across the business
  • A place for employees to engage in corporate activities via group chat, fostering connection across timezones, teams, and divisions. 
  • People directory to discover, connect with and reach out to colleagues.
  • A convenient place for employees to locate and launch work applications they need throughout the day.


2. Team Intranet sites for Google Workspace

Team sites are great for keeping everyone on your team informed about what's going on in their respective areas of the business.

These intranet spaces are intended for particular groups, such as teams, departments, or projects.  They often come in the form of personalized intranet sites for teams or individual intranet pages for teams.

Team intranet sites meet the needs of employees by giving them quick access to all the knowledge, communication, and apps that are most relevant to their group. which gives employees the capability to access, act on, and share critical information. It gives employees a common space where they can communicate through chat groups and stay up to date on what is going on in their specific group and area of the business.

The Google Workspace Team/Department Intranet provides:

  • Techniques for displaying frequently used and relevant Google Workspace files on team pages.
  • Display the Google Team site calendar on team site pages so that everyone knows what is going on and when.
  • Project teams can use chat channels to share information, news and have two-way conversions to fix problems, swap ideas, or simply have their say.
  • Make it easier for new hires to get to know the project team or department by providing an employee team directory.
  • Use task management tools to track team tasks and projects in a single application.
  • Support hybrid and asynchronous work by giving everyone instant access to documents, tasks, and the most recent project updates, as well as news and announcements.
  • Employees in a group can stay up to date on news, announcements most relevant to their interests.


3. Employee Experiences - Intranet sites for Google Workspace

Employee Experience Intranet sites foster community and provide employee experiences that make employees feel recognized, connected, and happier.

They give employees a wide range of experiences, such as information on how to get started as a new employee, sites that tell people about the company's charitable programs, and employee inclusion and diversity experiences that recognize unique needs, perspectives, and potential in the workplace.

These intranet sites keep people interested and informed, let them talk back and forth, and encourage everyone to be a part of the larger work community. It’s a place where people can share ideas with like-minded peers, learn, and get involved with company initiatives.

Employee Experiences Intranet for Google Workspace offers:

  • Access to relevant Google Workspace files embedded within the pages of the site.
  • Display Google calendar events on these pages.
  • Providing FAQs for team members to find answers.
  • Chat groups in which employees can ask questions and converse with others who are interested in the same topics.


Intranet Pricing Solutions

If you're already invested in Google Workspace, you might be wondering how to get more out of the platform. That's where an intranet solution like CentricMinds comes in.

With CentricMinds, your company can have an intranet with all the features you require for just $17.90 per user per month!

Employees can securely search for, access, and discover files when Google Drive is integrated with CentricMinds Intranet.  You can integrate Google Calendar and Directory with CentricMinds, which makes it easier to display events and manage users and groups.


Your Google Workspace Intranet with CentricMinds

We developed the CentricMinds platform as a modern Intranet that anyone can use - not just the IT department, or skilled users in admin and management. It’s designed to take away the business pain that many of our customers consult with us about in competitor products, such as dealing with in-house custom developed solutions that fail to meet the mark, the need for external workflow management tools, and broken integrations.

It’s designed to just work, without adding significant management and maintenance overhead.

With CentricMinds, integration with Google Workspace is easy. If you’ve signed up for a free trial of the CentricMinds platform (which you can use out of the box) then you can follow the steps in our video to connect your Google Workspace.

From CentricMinds you can:

  • Map Google Drive folders to CentricMinds Drive
  • Preview Google files and version history from inside CentricMinds
  • Tag and organize Google files, finding documents easily with our Enterprise Document Management System
  • Synchronize Google People Directory for team directory, adding organisational aspects like location, projects and employee expertise 
  • Add Google Calendar events and use two-way synchronisation for the CentricMinds calendar function
  • Create workflows , triggers, and automations to enhance your Google Workspace apps all from within CentricMinds

Pull in the content you need from your Google cloud apps, then organise further to ensure the best employee experience from your intranet.

In closing

If you're looking for an intranet that integrates with Google Workspace, CentricMinds is the best choice. With its security, ability to be customized, beautiful intranet templates, and many tools—including forms, reporting, and project management—it's clearly the top choice for any company looking to build an intranet that integrates seamlessly with Google Workspace.

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