What Employees Can Expect When Rebuilding Your Intranet With ChatGPT Capability

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.

ChatGPT driven intranet

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 ChatGPT. 

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 Worse, old, stale documents tend not to be unpublished.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

Digital Trailblazers 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 algorithms

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 such as 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 search analytics to monitor what they are asking for and how well the platform delivers useful 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 more easily 
  • 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.

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About Isaac Sacolick

Isaac Sacolick is President of StarCIO, a technology leadership company that guides organizations on building digital transformation core competencies. He is the author of Digital Trailblazer and the Amazon bestseller Driving Digital and speaks about agile planning, devops, data science, product management, and other digital transformation best practices. Sacolick is a recognized top social CIO, a digital transformation influencer, and has over 900 articles published at InfoWorld, CIO.com, his blog Social, Agile, and Transformation, and other sites. You can find him sharing new insights @NYIke on Twitter, his Driving Digital Standup YouTube channel, or during the Coffee with Digital Trailblazers.