Run Your Company Intranet With WordPress and BuddyPress

Intranet for WordPress and BuddyPressThought WordPress and BuddyPress were just for the public environment? Companies have discovered BuddyPress and how to maintain employee communities.

Can’t find a BuddyPress Intranet Theme Demo? Unfortunately, due to the nature of a company intranet, demos and samples where companies are powered by a WordPress/BuddyPress Intranet can be hard to come by, a true intranet is basically behind a gateway, with some public information on the front end, sometimes with just a landing page with an entry login box. Here are some sites to look at for general BuddyPress design samples.

(MORE DETAILS ON ADAPTATION CAPABILITIES BELOW)

Intranet Advantages for WordPress and Buddypress

  • Large Groups of Employees Can be Managed with Buddypress
  • Themes Being Developed iPhone, Android, Tablet Compatible
  • Regular WordPress Plugins are Compatible
  • Functional Issues Have Been Corrected Over Time
  • Supports Multi-Blogging
  • Intranet Messaging Inboxes for Contact After Going Offline
  • Navigation Menus and Content Can be Adjusted by Member Level
  • Department Wide Events Calendar Can be Maintained Effectively
  • Contact Profiles Are Easily Accessible
  • Users Can Chat Behind the Gateway (with a plugin enabled)
  • WP/BuddyPress is More Cost Effective Than Alternatives
  • A Well Constructed Intranet Saves Loss of Employee Time

So there are plenty of additional advantages. Below, there’s some description of what can be done with plugins that have been developed and are available now.

Capabilities of BuddyPress to Serve an Intranet

Large Groups of Employees Can be Managed with BuddyPress

Small Business Corporate Intranet Powered by BuddyPressThe entire concept of BuddyPress has been directed towards the participation of large communities of members and each of the core functions provides for fluent management of communication between users. The plugin community is smaller than the general WordPress developer community, however, there are some innovative plugins available and people excited (to say the least) to advance building infrastructure that helps manage communications online with the WordPress version of social networking.

Themes Being Developed iPhone, Android, Tablet Compatible

Intranet Software for TabletsWordPress themes have gone smartphone and tablet capable.  You can use these devices to access a BuddyPress intranet.  People are mobile, your intranet can be too.  Also See: HTML5 BuddyPress Smartphone Theme DemoBuddyPress Mobile Plugin

Regular WordPress Plugins are Compatible

WordPress, BuddyPress Intranet PluginsThe gravitation of BuddyPress to function with the regular WordPress distribution has provided an amazing extension advantage being able to utilize many of the general WordPress plugins in unison with the BuddyPress system/BuddyPress specific plugins.

Functional Issues Have Been Corrected Over Time

Internet ToolboxWordPress Multi-User (WPMU) has been branched into the regular version of WordPress, including the ability for users to have individual blogs (with the correct setup). BuddyPress was initially designed to use with WPMU, but now works as a plugin with regular WordPress. Throughout this evolution, issues have been actively corrected and expanded over time. The BuddyPress Roadmap also shows additional possible features.

Supports Multi-Blogging

internet-thugs-1Just like WPMU and BuddyPress, the current version supports multiple blogging (individual blogging). This can be done behind an intranet gateway.

Intranet Messaging Inboxes for Contact After Going Offline

MailboxBuddyPress has an internal messaging function with notifications, which can be a nice alternative to email for company specific communications. Most companies aren’t willing to abandon email of course, but the internal system is still really nice for casual employee messaging at the time they might be viewing an item.  There are also ways to send email by group or department.

BuddyPress Mail

Groups Allow for Department Specific Sub-Organizations

GroupThe most powerful component of BuddyPress by far are the groups. Portions of members can be categorized and placed with those of similar departments or function. This is perfect for an intranet environment and provides for easy communication with social networking styled walls, information pages and massive extendable function.

Forums Provide a Reference Library and Q&A

Forum HelpSince the inception of the active web environment, people have just been used to forums, how they look and how they operate. Let’s face it, it’s just comfortable for a lot of users. BuddyPress puts the power of forums in a supportive role behind the categorization or organization of groups. This makes the group function an even more powerful intranet tool where people can post support requests, start a department wide dicsussion topic, request input and share information and ideas.

BuddyPress Forum

Activity Streams Lead to Information as it is Posted by Others

Posting ActivityThe power of social networking is seeing information as it is posted. BuddyPress can support activity streaming which allows employees to see active discussions, topics and information pertinant to them as it is occouring in realtime. This makes participation easier.

Activity Stream

Navigation Menus and Content Can be Adjusted by Member Level

NavigationWith the correct setup and use of a BuddyPress Membership Plugin, navigation menus can be presented to specific employees in particular departments and associated content can be delivered to specific people (and not to others). In a tiered work environment, this requirement is very common in the intranet structure as well. Groups can also be restricted to certain people.

Department Wide Events Calendar Can be Maintained Effectively

CalendarEach department of a company may be running entirely different directions. Meeting schedules are different, events vary by location or region and some events that apply to one arm of an organization may not apply to another. This can be easily organized with a BuddyPress Events Calendar Plugin.

BuddyPress Event Calendar

Even More…

Contact Profiles Are Easily Accessible

These days, people are located everywhere and have individual contact information. BuddyPress allows for unlimited profile fielding, allowing for categorized display of about any type of information. Maintaining an active searchable directory is possible and employees can use the intranet as a resource for locating an employee in the company.

Information associated with them (phone numbers, mailing addresses, email address, instant messenger ids and just about any other type of information) can be made available. It’s also nice to see a photo of others people in the company, especially for large companies where people may have similar names.

BuddyPress Profile
Here is a Profile from a University Website Organized by Department

Large Numbers of Employees or Participants Can be Preloaded

Having setup WordPress/BuddyPress installations for both intranet purposes and general member communities, pre-loading user accounts and passwords has been very helpful. It can be hard to get people to signup, but if they are already have organized profile information available, it often makes sense for setup during the development process. This way, the entire group (all departments) and all employees can be added to the system and ready to jump in and participate.

Users Can Chat Behind the Gateway

There are plenty of chat plugins that can be put behind an intranet gateway. WPMU DEV has a WordPress Chat System available as well that works with BuddyPress. This allows for the possibility of a more interactive experience and instant contact, albeit, BuddyPress in itself provides for exceptional interactivity on its own.

Users Can Blog or be Blocked from the Dashboard

Most of us are used to the WordPress dashboard, but for those that haven’t used WordPress (where there is no traditional blogging requirement), the WordPress dashboard can be hidden. This allows for the user to experience only the BuddyPress functions and front-end options/navigation. This can be easier for the less “WordPress familiar.”

WordPress and BuddyPress are Cost Effective and Affordable

Intranet development can be costly. Piecing together all of the necessary functions and tying them together isn’t easy. This is why it’s taken years for BuddyPress to perfect the combined components. It is not uncommon for intranet development costs to run into the tens of thousands of dollars, up to figures that are purely staggering. Although generally more costly to the end client than traditional WordPress development, utilizing the experience and progression of BuddyPress and the community brings this solution to an affordable base for both large and small companies. Self managed small group units can be a reality.

A Well Constructed Intranet Saves Loss of Employee Time

The less time an employee spends to get to contacts or information, the better. A well organized departmental structure and communication system saves employee time. Less employee time spent, higher productivity for the company.

Employees Can Collectively Contribute to a Blog Property

WordPress is for blogging. Whether it be multiple people participating in submitting content for one blog or the necessity to have individual blogs, WordPress now supports all of the blogging function wrapped into the amazing features of BuddyPress on the front end.

BuddyPress and WordPress Tech is Widely Available

This is probably one of the most important reasons to use BuddyPress for a company installation. There are web systems for anything and everything out there. There is no larger community of Developers, Techs and Enthusiasts than the awesome people that stand behind WordPress. There will always be someone that can deal with website repair issues. There will always be a group of people extending the function of WordPress and the related plugins. There will always be redesign and theming options. This will always change with web user requirements. Attending to these technical items will always be more affordable than any other available product due to the WordPress Community.

To get some inspiration in general check out Existing Websites Running on BuddyPress Here’s also a new contemporary HTML5 BuddyPress theme that works with smart phones and tablets!

If you’re looking to WP to see if it is a viable solution for an intranet, with the amazing plugins available, there really are too many benefits to list for most small companies and larger corporations…

Photo Credits: Bankside, London Photo by maistora , Tablets cvander, Plug jeffk, Toolbox GlobalGamers, Young Cubicle Thugs ajleon, Mailbox katerha, Group mararie, Help marc falardeau, Typing NIOSH, Ship Wheel Deidre Woollard, Calendar Alaivani, Profile josswinn

Comments (14)

    • Thanks Jeff! Definitely a lot of possibilities. I’m working on an adaptation now, the features fit well for what this company needs to do, should be done in a couple weeks…will be interesting to see how people work within the structure.

  1. I’ve seen and been part of groups that use Skype chat feature to communicate daily on projects and tasks. It would be great to migrate these to using BuddyPress instead.

    Maybe you could dedicate an article for a tutorial on setting-up BuddyPress in a manner that would help us ‘convert’ these people?
    If at all possible, include how to import some recent Skype chats to both get things started and help them ‘visualize’ the benefits based on their own real life usage?
    Thanks

  2. I’ve used the Skype chat in that manner before in the past, so I understand what you mean.

    I can see how the same time frame could be used in a BuddyPress implementation. Assuming you are looking for being able to get back to the history and make updates, notes, etc.

    Not fully understanding what you mean by importing recent chats (or why that is).

    Tom

  3. Skype allows you to save chat history in a text file.

    Wanted to use this somehow to convince management to migrate by helping them ‘visualize’ the benefits based on their own real life usage – if we could import some of the Skype text file into BuddyPress?

    • Couldn’t you just post it in a forum post by date? Are they receiving the text file now by email and reviewing it?

      You’ll also want to think about whether anything in those chats or information sessions might need to be secure in terms of being transmitted via the net. (Maybe think about SSL)

      I guess I don’t see how seeing the text file inside of BuddyPress is going to convince them of anything.

  4. I do love BuddyPress also, but have found that after trying to implement it for an intranet, customization is very difficult. I like the extended profiles which are customizable, but a simple plugin or two can accomplish that as well. Often a basic activity feed (ala Facebook Newsfeed) on the protected homepage of an intranet can suffice for real-time company interaction.

    I’ve developed enough WordPress intranets now that I felt compelled to create a super simple intranet plugin to wrap basic functions together in one installation. Basic needs from clients typically boil down to: protected content, a real time activity feed, extended employee directory/profiles (with better search by user/employee name), a calendar of events and maybe integration with Active Directory. Other needs like a project management, document revisions are less frequently requested add-ons.

    I’ve put together a single super plugin and mobile optimized theme based on the latest core Twenty Twelve WordPress theme at http://www.simpleintranet.org. This may hopefully help tip the scales for those considering SharePoint vs WordPress for their next intranet portal solution.

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