A step-by-step guide for building an intranet in one hour

07 Apr 2020 5 min read
Written by Silvia Macovei, Head of Cloud Business

When you're looking to work better with your team, but have no tool in place to share and organize information, building one from scratch can be a daunting task. So today we’ll look at how you can put together a simple intranet for your team in less than one hour, with no coding skills, so you can start collaborating remotely right away.

Before getting started though, you should look at why you need an intranet in the first place. What would a successful intranet look like to you? Here are a few common things you may want the intranet to help with:

  • Gather scattered information in one place, help you organize it and make it easy to find
  • Bring your team closer together, so they can start collaborating on documents and discuss projects
  • Help people from different disciplines stay on top of changes and offer their input on company updates. Intranets offer an excellent holistic view! 
  • Limit access to sensitive content to dedicated groups and users (for GDPR compliance for instance)
  • Help foster trust, transparency, and engagement across the organization and serve as a communication platform for publishing updates and celebrating achievements.

A step-by-step guide for building an intranet in one hour.png

So assuming you've set up your goals, how do we build a functional intranet in less than an hour with XWiki?

Step 1: Create a wiki in a couple of minutes

You can go to try.xwiki.com and quickly create and validate a cloud wiki. Follow the pop-up tour that will guide you through some major sections within the wiki. You will be the administrator of your instance and you can start right away to discover and customize the wiki. Don't forget to activate some options available only to advanced users.

Step 2. Play around with the Sandbox

The Sandbox is excellent for testing and will help you quickly learn the ropes of adding and modifying content. If you get stuck, there is a Help section within the wiki with tutorials and one showcasing page templates and macros. Take advantage as well of the resources in our Help Center and the official documentation organized by type of users (standard, administrator, and developer).

Step 3: Start adding users and map your teams to groups

There are multiple ways to add users to the wiki. You can do this from the User Index accessible through the drop-down menu in the top right corner of the instance. Or, as an admin, go to the XWiki Global Administration, on the User & Groups tab, the Users section, and start adding users. You can also then create dedicated groups for your teams and arrange the users depending on preferred rights. If you’re using Active Directory to authenticate your users, there is also an app to integrate XWiki with it.

Your teams will be able to find and filter the users in the company directory.

Step 4: Blog app

The potential uses of blogs are unlimited. They can be used for anything that involves communicating or publishing information. The blog will serve as your main communications area, where you can share news about teams, projects in the form of blog articles.


Step 5: Meeting app

With most communication moving online you’re bound to have more virtual meetings with your team. The meeting app will keep your team organized and help store notes, so they can be easily retrieved later when needed.


Step 6: Calendar app

Team events should be added to the calendar. This is important particularly for people working on a flex schedule or across different geographies, who need to be able to accommodate meetings into their otherwise different schedules.


Step 7: Task Manager

Maintaining a project means to face numerous difficulties such as keeping track of the tasks, timeliness, risks, resources, monitoring the overall progress, and the progress of certain employees. If you are well aware of all these challenges, you also know about the task manager apps designed to make multitasking and managing the project easier. If you don’t have a separate app for managing tasks, this extension is a basic tool for keeping track of what needs to be done.

TaskManager Home.png

Step 8: Ideas app

We all know the classic brainstorming tools: pen and paper, post-it notes, and whiteboards. These are great when everyone on the team is in the same room, but what if you’re working remotely? And what happens to all the good ideas when the session is over? The current climate could be a moment to innovate. This app can provide the backdrop for your team to share or explore new ideas.


Step 9: File Manager

Although not everyone is naturally well organized, being able to keep track of and find computer files when you need them can make a big difference to your productivity and stress levels. The extension will help you make sense of the documents that you already have scattered across different computers. You can use it to organize the files added on the wiki.


Step 10: Invite your team to use the wiki

So you've created the wiki, explored the features, added the users, and installed some useful apps. Now your team will be able to use the intranet straight away, with some time spent to explore the wiki, so make sure everyone gets an invite:

  • Create a blog post welcoming your team to the new system and send it to the team
  • Invite everyone to fill in their profiles with pictures and more information about themselves 
  • Ask people to start contributing content and set up notifications.

Once the wiki is up and running and the basics have been covered, there are more actions you can take to personalize the intranet:

  • Adapt the look and feel to match your branding guidelines
  • Set up a custom rights system
  • Create simple apps with the app builder that match your particular needs, like an app for onboarding new employees
  • Explore the apps available in the extensions repository and on the store
  • Talk to the XWiki support team to set up your custom domain.

If you ever get stuck and the documentation is not enough to guide you, you can always get help on the XWiki Community forum or contact us for assistance.

For more inspiration, we recommend you check out this video of Anca Luca's talk from FOSDEM 2020, part of the Collaborative Information and Content Management Applications devroom.

Getting your intranet up and running is a matter of just a few steps. Moving forward, however, the possibilities are endless.


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