How to build an intranet for your SME

25 May 2022 5 min read

Written by

Alexandra Nicolae

, Account Manager

Running a small or mid-sized business definitely poses more than just a few challenges along the way. One of the first concerns is having to carefully organize information so that no team wastes precious time browsing through email threads or trying to quickly find the right documentation but ending up getting lost. Think of all your company's data and information as books with colorful covers and imagine walking into a library where the color-coding makes no sense, there are no separate sections and some empty shelves are full of books that have been tossed around. Translated into the real world, this would paint the picture of relentless hours of work trying to make sense of what is where and risking privacy breaches. The solution to this problem is investing in creating an intranet platform, the perfect digital metaphor for a state-of-the-art internal archive.

What is an Intranet?

An intranet solution helps you build a secure and private network, only accessible to you and your employees. This allows everyone within the company to access internal and external resources and enables workers to communicate, collaborate, as well as share documents across departments. This solution can save you from navigating endless threads of emails and text messages while contributing to a better workflow that naturally derives from properly organized information.

Here's a short guide to help you get started with XWiki's most used features to set up an intranet or migrate your data from Office or even integrate Google Apps.

Getting started and setting up your wikis

The first thing you want to do is download and install XWiki, either on-premise or you can create a cloud demo.


In this case, you can create the Intranet wiki as a ''home'' and then gradually add subwikis as specially designated spaces for different departments. For example, the HR team would have their own wiki, just like the Marketing department would have their own wiki. The access rights can be customized afterward so that there is no issue regarding sensitive data on an internal level.


Hereare some more tips & tricks about getting started with XWiki.

Organizing your information

Parent Pages and Children

Information hierarchy is crucial when dealing with numerous data and files. Not having to browse through endless threads of emails or chaotically arranged folders is more than a basic commodity when understanding the ease this system brings. Parent pages and their subsequent child pages are the way to go when it comes to neatly storing information. Think of it as a folder drawer in which every file is arranged in an orderly fashion, and nothing gets lost or misplaced.


Enabling collaboration with the right apps

Task Manager

Keeping track of tasks in the easiest possible way is a bit of a game-changer for any business - whether it's something urgent, of high priority, or a list of notes you don't mind jotting down sometime in the near future, with a flexible deadline. It's an essential step when it comes to ensuring a clear schedule, understanding of tasks, and organizing information.

Here's a quick step by step showcase of how easily you can use the Task Manager application to track and check off items on your to-do list:



A calendar speaks for itself, at least most of the time. Having a clear overview of all employee activities, without any noise from external meetings with potential clients or other appointments is the best solution for a clear overview of your workdays. 


Flash Messages App

Pop-ups are a fun and lively way to send out notifications to the team. Be it a celebratory announcement wishing everyone Happy holidays, a work anniversary, a personal birthday, kind meeting reminders, or important news such as ''Friday is pizza day at the office'', the Flash Messages App is just perfect for either recurring reminders or on-the-spot announcements. It can liven up an ordinary workday while making sure your notification doesn't get lost in a flood of emails or other types of internal content.


Whether you work fully remote, sometimes see each other in hybrid formats, or drink your coffee alongside everyone at the office, any HR specialist will tell you that having an internal blog is a great idea. Getting to know your employees and allowing them to get to know their coworkers, as well as keeping a shared archive of photos and stories you create together as a team is made easy through the creation of a blog. A rich text editor and nearly endless editing possibilities let creativity shine through. Besides, you never know where the next great idea is coming from, so it's always good to encourage everyone to try out writing. 


Flowcharts, internal organization, demos for clients — there are many uses for diagrams in any company, perhaps too many to list here. However, instead of using third-party tools and having to read through and accept entire pages of terms and conditions or even give up sensitive data, why not use a comprehensive, readily available tool? 

We could spend hours walking you through the possibilities of designing just the right diagrams and figures, but we'd much rather let you try it out yourself by installing the Diagram Pro Application after watching this sneak peek.

PS: Not only do many clients use this internally, but we have just as much fun with it as well.


App Within Minutes

Last but not least, the diversity of internal needs of small or medium-sized companies has made it difficult to provide a one-fits-all solution. In this case, the actual solution is the possibility to create a fully custom app, which can adapt to any of your requirements and become exactly what you need it to be. Be it tracking orders, solving internal tickets, or simply sorting through a data checklist, the App Within Minutes extension is probably one of the most appreciated features. It's one of those things you have to try for yourself in order to be fully convinced you absolutely love it.

To give you a proper example, a great use case for the App Within Minutes is a custom solution we can call Employee Contract Logs. This was created from scratch to meet some basic requirements for demo purposes. We recommend a dedicated HR section as a best practice for virtually everyone. However, there is a risk of misplacing information when it comes to separating what everyone has access to from what certain professionals on your team, such as the human resources department, need to take care of. This is exactly what we had in mind when designing the Employee Contract Logs application, alongside the ease of navigating through personnel files.

Storing sensitive data is never an issue when it comes to using a custom intranet. Keeping that in mind, XWiki's comprehensive settings possibilities allow you to selectively give access to only the right people so that the Marketing team doesn't end up all lost in the new developer's contract log.


Securing your wiki: privacy and access

Having your wiki set up, extended with apps, and ready to go is almost enough, but not quite. Privacy and security are two essential features that should not be forgotten as these help ensure you can use your wiki to its full potential. One of the examples mentioned earlier is the fully custom user access setting that offers you full control over your users' rights. XWiki enables you to set wiki-wide rights, granular page-level rights, and the possibility to have programmatic rights, in case you need more control. The different levels of control allow you to either grant access to specific users or groups of users to information. You can also easily manage access to actions such as viewing, commenting, or editing.

All of this ensures that you not only have all your knowledge in the right place but also that you protect sensitive or confidential information. In some situations, this can even be part of being compliant with internal/regional control regulations.

The benefits of building your intranet with XWiki

We are confident that by now you have gotten the hang of why an intranet is more than just a bare necessity and what some of the most common features look like in action. The many possibilities XWiki has to offer in terms of creating an intranet can be summed up within 3 arguments.

1. Cost-effectiveness

Many organizational tools already available on the market have costs ranging from moderate to exorbitant. When choosing XWiki, you no longer have to opt for a myriad of different tools: one for storing sensitive data, one for keeping track of tasks, one for visual integration, etc. on account of having an all-in-one solution at your service. 

See our pricing offers, fully tailored to your company's size and individual needs here.

2. Fully customizable to fit your specific needs

The number of users, interfaces and skins, various fonts, multiple languages, widgets, and applications - that's not even the gist of it. The countless possibilities you have for customizing an internal network and constant improvements that can be brought along the way are guaranteed to take the Intranet one step further than a one-size-fits-all solution to the most appropriate solution for your specific company needs.

3. Values 

XWiki is a powerful Open Source knowledge management platform that helps your business save time and money while enhancing collaboration. It allows users across different departments to stay on the same page by accessing critical information in a fast and efficient way. Email overload and loss of knowledge when key employees leave are no longer an existing issue. With XWiki, vital information is only a click away, operations costs are reduced and data loss is prevented through backups.

The very core of XWiki stems from strong principles & values of honesty, transparency, quality, security, customization, support, and being a part of a community.

If you are ready to get on board, you can start building your intranet with XWiki today. Try it for free on the Cloud or On-premise or get in touch with one of our experts to discuss a custom project.

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