Tag: employee experience

Better Content and Data Consolidation through a Corporate Intranet

Posted by on August 01, 2019

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A corporate employee intranet provides an all-in-one, consolidated center for documents, communications, and important company information. Through better data consolidation, a company is able to improve upon its productivity as well as its audit trails. Consolidating information leads to better communication and happier, less distracted employees. Today, 71% of millennials report being unsatisfied with their current collaboration tools, and 45% of boomers report the same.

The Self-Service Capabilities of a Modern Intranet

Modern internet platforms make employees both empowered and agile. Employees are able to self-service many of their own needs, pulling documents and data as desired, referring back to old discussions, and finding contact information as needed. Rather than having to make requests of other employees, management staff, administrative personnel, and IT technicians, they are instead able to directly access the content that is relevant to them.

This is tremendously effective on an enterprise-wide scale. When every employee is able to fulfill their own requests, the entirety of the organization moves far more smoothly. Employees no longer need to wait to get information back, nor do they need to interrupt the processes of another employee to get their answers. Altogether, this reduces the amount of time spent on each interaction and project.

Improved Analytics and Auditing through Data Consolidation

Through a corporate intranet, data can be collected with greater accuracy. The more data your organization is able to collect, the better its analytics will be. Analytics is the key to business intelligence, providing insights into how an organization may be able to optimize and streamline its business processes. Many organizations today are increasing their investments in business analytics for this reason: improved analytics leads to better business.

That’s not all: better data also leads to better audit trails. During internal audits, businesses are able to identify core inefficiencies and create actionable solutions. However, in order for an audit to work, the company must already have strict controls over its data. If its data isn’t being reported consistently or isn’t available in a consolidated fashion, the audit isn’t going to be accurate.

Data audits can happen for multiple reasons. They can be used to identify inefficiency throughout an organization. They can be used to streamline operations and improve business processes. They can also be used to identify discrepancies which could indicate mismanaged data. An intranet doesn’t just consolidate information, it also consolidates information about information.

An intranet will not only collect documents, but also who uploaded these documents, who accessed these documents, who modified these documents, and who deleted these documents. With an intranet platform, data is never completely lost; even if it’s deleted, it can be recovered. Every user is responsible for their own actions, and the organization will always know whose hands last touched information.

Connecting to the Remote and Global Worker

Employers today are hiring more remote workers than ever before. Even local employees now occasionally work from home — in fact, the number of employers offering work from home options increased by 40% over the last five years. It can be difficult for out-of-the-office employees to feel as though they are valued and as though they are productive. They may not be able to work effectively with the other team while they are out, or they may not be apprised of things that occur when they are out of the office.

An intranet is the answer. When connected to externally, an intranet allows even remote workers to feel as though they are a part of the team, by giving them instant access to all of the same information that other employee have. Over time, this also leads to other employees regarding remote workers as equally engaged. Otherwise, in-office workers can quickly grow to resent or to avoid remote employees.

Intranet services make it easier and more feasible to hire remote employees, which in turn makes it easier for businesses to reduce their own costs. Out-of-office employees require less overhead and open doorways into other markets, where talented and affordable talent may be acquired. Through remote employees, companies are able to acquire a diversity of talents and skill sets, assembling the perfect teams.

These teams can then work together seamlessly within their internal platform, rather than having to struggle through individual web-based and cloud-based tools. These enterprise solutions are further able to scale upwards very quickly, thereby making it possible for an organization to quickly grow while still protecting its collaborative infrastructure.

An intranet service makes it easier for organizations to manage large volumes of data and documentation. As companies continue to grow and employees increasingly move towards remote, global work, an intranet platform becomes even more important. Intranet services empower employees to find the information they need faster, while also ensuring that businesses maintain complete accountability over their data and analytics.

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Creating Better Employee and Customer Experiences with Liferay and Crafter

Posted by on June 21, 2016

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The modern customer’s needs are ever increasing as they want information combined with the convenience of interacting with your brand whenever and wherever from various digital touchpoints and devices. Meanwhile, employees are demanding digital experiences that facilitate rapid information access, communication and enterprise collaboration.

To meet these demands, organizations are leveraging Web Content Management (WCM) solutions such as Crafter CMS to help deliver consistent and personalized experiences throughout the customer journey. And internally, portal solutions such as Liferay Portal are being used to address a variety of social business and collaboration needs.

But what happens when you want to share the same content across both internal and external sites? Is integration the key? While many organizations are realizing the business benefits of an integrated solution, it’s important to keep in mind that integration isn’t always the answer, and when it is, the approach taken can determine your implementation’s success.

Understanding Platform Differences

Gaining a clear understanding of how each technology can be used for addressing various business needs means recognizing what each technology is under the hood.

At a high level, Liferay Portal is a multi-tenant, site-based platform, allowing the creation of multiple sites — including websites, portals, social collaboration environments, e-commerce, big data solutions, and mobile apps. The sites are built with Liferay’s portlets, all of which sit under the Liferay umbrella, meaning these sites are being published to the web by Liferay.

Crafter CMS, on the other hand, is an enterprise WCM tool with robust content management features — including user-friendly content authoring, in-context preview, workflow, multi-channel publishing, versioning, and content delivery.

Architecturally, Crafter is very different from Liferay in the way content is delivered. Crafter employs a decoupled architecture, where content authoring and delivery occur separately. Crafter’s authoring component, Crafter Studio, is where all the authoring takes place, along with content being managed in an Alfresco repository.

Unlike Liferay, where publishing occurs within itself, Crafter publishes to a completely different environment through Crafter Engine, the delivery component. Crafter Engine is able to serve content to virtually any channel, whether it’s a website using any front-end framework (PHP, .NET, Java, etc.), mobile app, or other third party system. This is the fundamental difference between Crafter and Liferay, and understanding this is a vital part of knowing when to integrate or not.

Perspective Differences

Liferay and Crafter are both powerful platforms that can be used to address a variety of business needs, including many similar, overlapping use cases. This overlap creates confusion around when to use each of these tools and if they should be used together. We’ve seen organizations integrate these products for the wrong reasons, which result in a lot of wasted effort to correct those mistakes.

Determining if your business will benefit from using these two products together requires you to think about perspective. Based on your business needs, if you see a lot of overlap between the two products, then one platform should suffice and it’s probably not a good idea to integrate. However, if there isn’t much overlap, then integration makes much more sense as it allows you to leverage each solution’s strengths.

The amount of overlap really depends on your unique requirements and what you’re trying to accomplish with your website(s). Keep in mind that much of this is attributed to how websites and content management has evolved over the years and its affect on marketing’s needs. Today’s organizational websites have grown to become much more complex, often involving multiple sites that are then integrated with other enterprise systems, such as marketing automation, CRM’s, e-commerce, and analytics to provide a richer end user experience.

The key consideration here is the total number of web assets your organization has. Are you a small organization with just one website, or a large enterprise with a global presence with hundreds of web properties to maintain?

For smaller organizations with only one website, then either Liferay or Crafter on its own is fully capable of addressing most, if not all, content management needs. However, it becomes more complicated when it comes to larger organizations with more sophisticated digital experience needs that typically involve many different sites and touch points.

In the latter case, an example of an integration pattern that doesn’t work is when Crafter is being used solely for managing all web content, where the entire site is then published through Liferay as the front end. This pattern fails because Liferay controls its own look and feel, so trying to control it outside of Liferay breaks its architecture.

When there are multiple sites involved, it only makes sense to use both Liferay and Crafter when Liferay is just one of many delivery channels. An example would be an organization using Liferay for its employee intranet and Crafter to manage its global and regional websites. When the organization wants to publish content that needs to be delivered across all websites along with the intranet, that’s when it makes the most sense to integrate.

In this use case, Liferay manages its own intranet page. Within the page is an area that’s managed by Crafter that enables access to enterprise content while still adapting to the look and feel of the intranet.

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This decoupled architecture, where content is separate from delivery, also makes it easy to expand and add additional delivery channels (mobile, social, etc.) for true multi-channel publishing. We’ve found this to be a great integration pattern for organizations that desire the flexibility to scale.

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To summarize, Liferay and Crafter are both very powerful at the platform level. If you’re thinking about integrating the two, it’s counter productive to perform a feature by feature comparison. Instead, design your solution based on your use case and not by focusing on features, as many different technologies will have the same features, but address each use case differently. And remember that integration isn’t always the answer, so do your research to understand the pros and cons. When done right, integrations can yield tremendous long-term benefits.