T wo of the most important things an intranet can do for your organization are connecting people and sharing information. With new ways of working across timezones and locations, a company intranet is a great way to keep your employees engaged and connected – if people have a reason to visit it, they know where to find it, and they know how to use it.

But all too often, an intranet is not at the centre of company culture, meaning its value is diminished and its potential untapped. This is perhaps not surprising, given the overload of mobile-friendly communication channels which have opened up in the last decade. But as increasing numbers of people reach for the screen in their pocket, smartphone apps are becoming the go-to for company news and information.

So what does that mean for communication and information sharing in the physical workspace, like an office or factory? And how can digital signage help?

Encouraging communication

Securely sharing information and resources within an enterprise can be easily done with an intranet. They provide a scalable overview of communication across the organization, and in theory they open up two-way conversations between employees and outside traditional employee silos.

When implemented effectively, every person in the organization is empowered to create impact in a culture of sharing and learning. But as social technologies shift into the enterprise arena, overengineered, infrequently updated, and often cumbersome intranets are competing with simpler, streamlined, and more intuitive alternatives.

But the advantages of an intranet are hard to ignore. The question is really how it can evolve alongside new ways of working. And that’s where digital signage comes in.

Pushing information

Around the world, it’s common to find physical workspaces utilizing digital signage for internal communication, from reception areas to communal spaces. The trick is to use digital signage to make sharing and seeking information more human centric and interactive so that users get the information they need, when they need it the most.

Similar to an intranet, digital signage can be a platform to push out information to employees wherever they happen to be in their daily work. And mobile phones become their tool to interact, creating a two-way conversation.

From office to warehouses, digital signage gives organizations a clear communication channel to deliver information to employees, whilst removing the need to visit a device or terminal like a tablet or computer. Instead, those big screens in workspaces and communal areas like cafeterias and common rooms, can be used to instigate interaction and responses.

The idea is simple: employees see the announcement on a digital sign, and interact with it using a smartphone. Posting a QR code onscreen enables organizations to bring information to devices and make it easy for employees to read more. Furthermore, it presents opportunities to collect information. For example, a voting system on a mobile device could be used to interact with a live poll displayed on a digital sign.

For meetings or digital notice boards, smartphone technology provides an opportunity for interactivity by adding a sticky note. In this way, it becomes much more interactive than essentially static digital content in the form of a communal reminder list. The digital sign can open up new ways of communicating back and forth between business leaders and employees.

If a smartphone’s always with you, it becomes a tool which can be used to respond to onscreen content. For example, an event might be advertised which requires an email sign up. Staff could simply scan a QR code and acquire an invitation. This kind of approach might mean employees only have to check for information once or twice a day, rather than receiving multiple messages or revisiting their inboxes numerous times throughout the day.

Of course, that’s one possibility for how people could be encouraged to interact with it. Another key to replicating the benefits of the intranet through digital signage, is by making it more accessible on a personal level, not just a company level.

Interesting information

We live in a world of technological things vying for our attention. And the workplace is no  exception. One of the traditional problems with company intranets is that much of the content is of little or no interest to employees. With digital signage, it’s possible to blend corporate messaging with useful social information that will help capture employee interest.

The more obvious and more accessible information becomes, the more you can get people involved with it, and the easier it is to create engagement. Corporate information alone is not something that everyone’s interested in. So if you include other less corporate content, such as new about company or local sports teams or social events, you create a source for everything which attracts users to consume more – they’re drawn in by one thing and they stay for something else.

To make the essential business data more engaging and relevant, some organizations are combining visualizations produced by business intelligence systems, like Microsoft PowerBI, with digital signs. Not only does this mitigate the issues around secure employee access to powerful data-driven insights, it makes transparency and the sharing of information much easier within your organization.

Alongside this ‘hard news’, purpose-made widgets enable organizations to embed softer content, such as the weather, local newsfeeds, and even user-generated content such as bulletin boards and messages in the form of notes or shout-outs.

Are digital signs the new intranet?

That’s a tough one! Like company intranets, digital signs enable you to provide a rolling feed of information which piques people’s interest and allows them to engage with it, either through passive absorption or interactivity. Whilst digital signage might not replace the intranet entirely, it certainly offers creative opportunities for connecting people and sharing information.

Thinking about implementing digital signage to improve information sharing and communication in your organization? Get in touch for a virtual coffee and a chat with us.