Google is at the pinnacle of its achievements. The massive corporation owns a wide array of global services and products that millions of consumers use each day. With all of the popularity Google is enjoying, you would think their intranet would be fairly classy. And coming from Google, we would expect perhaps a little more innovation than usual.
So what’s the result of Google building an intranet? Easy: a much better intranet than you own or work with. Let's take a look, shall we?
The name of the Google intranet is Moma. It is unknown as to what the basis of the naming convention was, but it does seem a like a project name Google would come up with. Essentially Moma looks and feels a lot like the homepage of Google, with a few exceptions.
Moma uses a content management system - nothing new in the world on intranets. What makes Google’s CMS so special is the fact that it can be customized by every single employee. This allows employees to select which news they wish to read or even which services they want to be linked to on their own personalized Moma homepage.
But not only does Google have a better CMS than most intranets today, they have the best search engine. Unlike their search function available to the masses, the Moma search engine is a lot more complex. Users can add results to search pages, send feedback on the results, search contact information for employees, view bookmarked material, and even use a basic tagging system. Clearly Google put a lot of effort into their search functionality - which makes us wonder if these features may make the Google homepage any time soon.
Google attempted to get in on the social networking game with Orkut. Orkut is much like other social networks such as FaceBook, although it hasn’t necessarily reached the popularity that FaceBook has. But for those who work for Google, a personalized private social networking system is available.
If you’d like to contact someone within Google, and you are a Google employee yourself, you have complete access to employee records. Each employee has a picture, phone number, job title, and more displayed on their personal profiles.
This type of networking is important for large networks like the one Google runs, since it may be hard to keep in touch with coworkers across borders. If you have ever worked a small business with five or fewer employees, you know that communication is a strong asset. As a business grows, however, communication becomes more and more difficult to maintain. Obviously, this won’t be a problem for Google.
Chances are if you are running an intranet, you have employees who access it from home or on the go. This is done through a virtual private network, or VPN. It is fairly easy to set one up - surely nothing the network administrator couldn’t handle.
What Google accomplishes with their design is functionality. Google has stations across the globe - and any employee anywhere on Earth can access each locally-specific intranet from their laptop. Employees can dial into a European branch of Moma all while sipping a Mai Tai on the east coast of California.
What kind of tech support do you have for your intranet? Odds are if employees have a problem at 1 AM in the morning, they aren’t going to call the network administrator - who is probably asleep.
Google’s position on tech support is simple: it should always be accessible. Google has tech support centers based all over the world: from the United States to India. This will ensure that at any given time, at least someone is awake to take the late night disaster call. Google’s tech service, aptly named “Tech Stop,” has even grown to the point where at least one Tech Stop representative is available per Google building.
Although Google does have some nifty innovation, you could probably do without the majority of Google’s additions. A social networking tool, for starters, isn’t exactly on the to-do list for most corporations.
As for truly useful services such as the personalized homepage - you should absolutely hope to play catch up with Google. It’s this kind of innovation that cuts costs and improves user satisfaction on a whole new level.
What you can take from Google’s example is their amount of effort. Google didn’t automatically have a winner on their hands. In fact, Moma was reportedly extremely buggy in the beginning. If anything, it proves that determination and undying effort will eventually lead to intranet success.
Ok, you or your organization probably doesn’t have the millions of dollars worth of resources that Google has. Likewise, you shouldn’t expect to compete with their intranet.
But if anything is learned from their example - there is always room for improvement.