Laura recently left her job at a fintech startup and is starting a new role
in the wealth management division at a large bank. Tracking company news,
the latest sales announcements, and updated product information was easy
because there wasn’t much information at her old company, and she expected a
similar experience at her new job. During the onboarding meetings, HR
instructed new employees to search the company’s intranet to access key
forms and learn more about the company.
Finding forms was easy because the intranet highlighted the most common ones
for payroll and benefits in the top documents widget. But uncovering
information about the company was brutal – because the intranet was largely
a directory of stale departmental information and links to tools like
several CRMs, the primary GitHub code repository, and other SaaS tools.
Given the scale of information and the enterprise’s resources, Laura wanted
the intranet to behave like ChatGPT, where she could ask questions and
receive quick and easy-to-digest answers. Unfortunately, the intranet was
far from a personalized experience or with AI capabilities like
Why your company intranet is broken
Sadly, this is the case for many company intranets. Many were developed when
corporate communications and human resources wanted to control information
flows, so they selected content management systems (CMS) and developed
publishing workflows. They expected department leaders to develop sections
of the intranet and maintain them with relevant information, especially
content for people new to the company.
The strategy didn’t work for many companies because every department has its
own siloed workflow tools where they record most of their work and store
critical information. Worse, old, stale documents tend not to be
unpublished. CRMs, ERPs, customer support tools, and cloud repositories like
Microsoft One Drive and Google Drive have the company’s most important
content, but this information never makes it to its intranet.
Fixing the intranet starts with building AI search experiences
can fix the company intranet by centralizing access to information needed by
employees and making it easy to query. The approach requires a change in
technical strategy, and instead of HR or the communication department
serving largely static information, an
AI search platform drives an
automated, unified, personalized experience.
AI search platforms provide integrations
to data, documents, and information from primary workflow tools and
information repositories. They also integrate open and third-party data
sources such as news, financial reports, and company information – whatever
is required to help employees answer common questions.
What to expect in this transformation from controlled publishing to
First, expect that
ChatGPT will ignite the consumerization of search
in similar ways that the emergence of smartphones and mobile app stores
drove the consumerization of IT. More employees will expect ChatGPT-like
AI search capabilities
smart snippets, and businesses should consider where
natural language search
can provide advantages to improve knowledge sharing.
But leaders in HR and communications will likely struggle to give up control
from a fully managed intranet to one largely served by algorithms, including
machine learning and AI. One way to avoid detractors is to roll out AI
search incrementally to one or two enthusiastic departments ready to partner
on improving employees’ intranet experiences.
Roll out AI search to these employees first. Use
to monitor what they are asking for and how well the platform delivers
content recommendations. Interview and survey employees to get additional qualitative feedback.
Then plan several iterations of improvements before moving on to other
departments. A methodical and feedback-driven rollout is a key practice to
elicit buy-in and enthusiasm from other slower-to-adopt departments.
One way to grow adoption and improve employee experience is to embed search
experiences in other platforms with Slack integrations, embedding search in
CRMs like Salesforce, and developing low-code user interfaces. The key is
bringing intelligent search capability to the platforms and tools where
people work and collaborate.
Personalize the search experience
As more departments begin to use AI search experiences, rules-driven
approaches to rank and present search results become less useful. For
example, a factory manager asking, “Show me the results from last night’s
production run,” is probably interested in how many items were manufactured
and whether there were any assembly line issues. A data engineer working at
the same company may ask that same question but is really interested in
whether data feeds scheduled to load into the ERP ran successfully.
Search requires context, and in the example above, the employee’s department
and role provide important clues to the AI about what information is
relevant to them. Other contexts include separating newly onboarded
employees from others with longer tenures at the organization. Language,
location, time of day, and type of device are additional common contexts
used to tailor search results.
What to expect when employees use personalized search experiences
Personalized search experiences aim to deliver the most relevant results
based on who the user is and their search intent. Expect to begin delighting
users, converting detractors to supporters, and
delivering ROI from AI search personalization. Digital Trailblazers can take steps to
accelerate the timeline to personalized experiences
and the culture to trust machine learning predictions.
Filling the intranet with timely and relevant content
Another question about intranets is how companies will continue creating
fresh and relevant content for their employees. ChatGPT’s content generation
capabilities provide a clue on what to expect when companies
enable private large language models and generative AI capabilities
as part of their AI search platforms.
- Here are some ways the intranet can have a stream of fresh content.
- Generate FAQs for new employees and when people transfer departments
- Capture AI-generated meeting summaries and personalize them for employees
- Translate financial information into company announcements
Enable leaders to write blog posts and share searchable video transcripts
- Provide tools for HR and other leaders to draft and edit policies
- Summarize key customer support issues and sales interactions
- Translate press releases and new product capabilities into other languages
So what should you expect as more people experiment with ChatGPT and other
apps with LLM capabilities?
Expect employees to demand AI capabilities to help them with many aspects of
their jobs, accelerate learning, and support knowledge sharing. Digital
Trailblazers who rebuild their intranets with generative AI search
technology enable competitive advantages for their businesses.
This post is brought to you by Coveo.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do
not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Coveo.