Financial institutions are entrusted with a lot of confidential information. They must maintain records of all transactions and communications, often going back years.
At the same time, they need to be able to share this information with authorized personnel quickly and easily.
Yet far too many financial institutions still rely on paper-based records and manual data-entry processes that are siloed in their departments and devices.
This is not only inefficient – it’s also insecure. Data can be lost or stolen, and unauthorized personnel can access sensitive information if it’s not adequately protected.
An intranet can help financial institutions overcome these challenges. An intranet is a private, secure network that employees can use to store and share information within an organization.
If your financial institution wants to improve efficiency, security, and compliance while ensuring the latest data-driven decision-making, learn more about a financial intranet’s key benefits and features.
What is an Intranet?
Internal collaboration requires technology that allows for instant connection. Intranets are typically used by businesses and other organizations to improve communication and cooperation between employees and leaders.
The term “intranet” is often used interchangeably with “extranet.” However, there is a critical difference between the two. An extranet is a private, secure network to share information with authorized outsiders, such as partners or customers.
In contrast, an intranet is used primarily for organizational communication and collaboration. It is not accessible to outsiders but is developed to enhance internal engagement.
What are the Benefits of an Intranet for Financial Institutions?
Financial institutions face various challenges, from maintaining compliance with regulations to protecting confidential information. An intranet can help financial institutions overcome these challenges in several ways:
Benefit 1: Save Time and Increase Productivity
One of the primary benefits of a finance intranet is that it can save time and increase productivity. Intranets make it easy for employees to find the information they need when they need it.
For example, let’s say you’re a loan officer who needs to pull information about lending criteria. With an intranet, you can log in and search for the report. There’s no need to waste time digging through paper files or searching for someone who has the report you need.
Benefit 2: Minimize the Risk of Sharing Outdated or Incorrect Information
While intranets make it easy to find and share information, they also help ensure that only accurate and up-to-date information is shared. How? By being a single source of truth for company information. With an intranet, employees no longer turn to outdated, inaccurate files saved on their desktops.
New generation intranets can guarantee staff read mandatory content like new policies, procedures, or regulations. Management can monitor that employees have read critical documents.
Finally, with an intranet financial institutions, like banks and credit unions, can control who has access to sensitive data and when they have access.
Benefit 3: Improve Customer Service
Customers demand the highest quality of service, and an intranet can help financial institutions meet those expectations. Intranets make it easy for employees to impress customers by quickly accessing various critical information with a click – and without having to transfer them to another department.
A finance intranet also provides an indirect benefit which can improve customer service. Today’s social intranets are designed to engage employees, improve culture and improve employees’ experience at work. We know that when employees are happy this positivity carries through to customer interactions.
Benefit 4: Enhanced Collaboration across Teams and Locations
Intranets facilitate collaboration by allowing employees to share information and work on projects, regardless of location.
For example, if your marketing team is working on a new campaign, they can use an intranet to share documents, ideas, and updates with the rest of the organization in real-time.
Benefit 5: Connect and Engage Employees
If a financial institution has multiple locations, an intranet can help connect and engage employees who might otherwise feel isolated.
With an intranet, employees can easily find and connect with colleagues – even if they’re in different time zones or continents. The same is true for hybrid workforces, which are becoming increasingly common.
What are the 12 Must-Have Features of a Finance Intranet?
When designing a financial intranet, there are several essential features to consider. But what makes a finance intranet truly effective? Here are 12 must-have features of a financial intranet:
Document management with the most up-to-date versions.
Financial institutions must be able to track and manage the most up-to-date versions of critical documents, such as loan applications, credit reports, and compliance manuals.
Real-time access to information for quick decision-making.
Time is of the essence when it comes to banks, credit unions, or insurance companies. An intranet should give employees real-time access to the information they need to make quick, informed decisions.
Centralized storage of policies and procedures.
Data is spread out across financial institutions, making it difficult to keep track of essential policies and procedures. An intranet can help by storing this information in a centralized location to offer immediate access.
A simplified and rapid search function.
Our world operates on search. Financial institutions need an intranet that will allow their employees to rapidly search for the information they need. With the ability to simply explore a key phrase or topic, you can find what you’re looking for in seconds.
Transparent and time-sensitive information sharing.
In an industry that is constantly changing, real-time updates are an expectation, not a luxury. Financial institutions need an intranet that allows employees to share information transparently and promptly.
Secure, compliant access and data storage.
Security is paramount in the financial industry. Your finance intranet should offer a secure way to store and access data to protect against unauthorized access – while maintaining compliance with industry regulations.
Top-down communication capabilities from senior management.
Senior management needs a system for communicating important updates to everyone instantaneously. As a centralized hub accessible to all employees, the intranet is the ideal space to do so.
For example, when COVID-19 lockdowns hit, financial institutions with an intranet could get the message out to employees quickly.
Just as top-down messaging is essential, so is cross-departmental collaboration. An effective financial intranet will make it easy for employees to collaborate with colleagues in other departments to share information and work on projects.
A great way to achieve this is with an intranet that easily integrates messaging tools. For example, if you choose an intranet built on SharePoint, you can also benefit from Yammer communities or Microsoft Teams integrations.
A staff directory and organizational chart.
Financial institutions can get large quickly, with many employees spread out across different locations. An intranet can help by providing a staff directory and organizational chart, making it easy for employees to find and connect with colleagues.
Knowledge sharing of the latest industry trends and development.
Did you know that a key feature of intranet systems is the ability to provide training and updates on the latest industry trends and developments? Financial institutions that offer these insights via intranet help their teams stay ahead of the curve.
Employee engagement features that limit staff turnover.
Staff turnover is a significant issue among financial institutions.
One of the primary reasons that many employees leave is because they don’t feel engaged with their work. A finance intranet can help by offering employee engagement features – such as forums, blogs, and social media integration – to keep employees engaged and equipped to do their best.
Features that facilitate hybrid working.
As mentioned above, financial institutions are under pressure to provide their employees with the ability to work remotely, whether from home or another location. Yet isolation can lead to low productivity and high turnover.
An intranet should offer features that facilitate hybrid working – such as desk booking and video conferencing – to make it easy for employees to stay connected and productive, no matter where they are.
Upgrade Your Potential with a Financial Intranet
An effective financial intranet can help institutions overcome many challenges – from data management and security to employee engagement and knowledge sharing.
A finance intranet can help employees work smarter, not harder, by offering features that address these specific pain points. Ultimately, this leads to a more productive workforce – and a more successful institution.
The 12 features listed above can ensure that you have a financial intranet that meets the needs of your employees – and helps your institution stay ahead of the competition.
Interested in implementing an intranet for your bank, credit union, or other financial services company? Not sure where to begin? Powell Software has worked with many financial institutions across the globe to develop a feature-packed intranet that enhances business operations and internal effectiveness.