Intranet 2.0 and The Social Intranet

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Intranet 2.0 is a label used loosely to describe the application and adoption of Web 2.0 or social media technology behind the corporate firewall. In short, it’s Web 2.0 but on the corporate intranet. The intranet 2.0 label has largely faded to black, and has been replaced by the more fashionable label, the social intranet. However, there are clear distinctions between the two.

The original intranet, intranet 1.0, typically began as nothing more than a bare bones website on someone’s desktop computer, usually in IT or corporate communications. The first version of this intranet was nothing more than a welcome page, perhaps a name and a phone number, and a simple welcome message.

Intranet 1.0 grew and evolved rapidly, more so at some organizations than others, but in some respects, faster than corporate websites who had a few years’ head start with the advent of the ‘super information highway’:

  • Version 1.0: Welcome page (a welcome message and a phone number)
  • Version 1.1: Bulletin board (simple communications)
  • Version 1.2: Corporate newsletter (structured news & limited document management)
  • Version 1.3: Help Desk (simple transactions like the employee directory)
  • Version 1.4: Corporate Store (more complex transactions such as e-HR and self-service)
  • Version 1.5: The Portal (authorization, authentication, application & database integration)

The trail has lengthened considerably as of late with the advancement of social media, and the intranet has made an evolutionary leap to version 2.0 – the social intranet.

Social media behind the firewall

Social intranet infographic BREAKDOWNOnce a pipedream or just another passing fad, intranet 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis and other vehicles have become mainstream, and are present in nearly two-thirds of organizations. In fact, those organizations that haven’t adopted such tools are now in the minority and are flirting with disaster and the ‘global talent crunch’ – the fight for young, talented individuals to replace the rapidly aging and retiring baby boomers. Organizations risk being squeezed by the talent crunch and losing the campaign for young talent if they ignore the demands of the next generation of 20-something workers that not only desire social media in their jobs, they’ve come to demand it.

Consider for a moment the powerful Telindus study (2008) of 1,000 European employees that should serve as a warning to all employers and communicators:

  • 39% of 18 to 24 year-old employees would consider leaving their employer if they were not allowed to access sites like Facebook and YouTube;
  • A further 21% indicated that they would feel ‘annoyed’ by such a ban.

This study is four years-old. Four. There’s a point here: if employees were demanding intranet 2.0 tools four years ago, they’re surely a little more impatient and demanding today.

It should be of no surprise then that social media on the corporate intranet has jumped in prevalence so dramatically in the past two years: from nice-to-have to common-place (if not mandatory). According to the Social Intranet Study (results from 1,400+ respondent organizations):

  • 75% have intranet blogs; 26 percent have deployed blogs enterprise wide; 4 percent have no plans or interest in deploying blogs.
  • 65% have intranet discussion forums; 26 percent have deployed intranet discussion forums enterprise wide; 7 percent have no plans or interest in intranet discussion forums.
  • 63% have intranet instant messaging; 44 percent use instant messaging on their intranets enterprise wide; 16 percent have no plans or interest in deploying instant messaging on their intranets.
  • 61% have intranet wikis; 19 percent use intranet wikis enterprise wide; 12 percent have no plans or interest in intranet wikis.
  • 60 percent have intranet user commenting; 32 percent have deployed intranet user commenting enterprise wide; 8 percent have no plans or interest in intranet user commenting.

The Social Intranet

Not to be confused with intranet 2.0 — the loosely labeled collection of social media tools applied to the intranet — the ‘social intranet’ provides structure and evolution to these tools; it organizes and ingrains the use and adoption of social media into most aspects of content consumption on the corporate intranet.

The phrase social intranet has only appeared in recent years (late 2009) to describe an intranet with social media features. Although with any emerging technology there is likely to be disagreement on the precise definition of a new term, I describe a social intranet as the following:

An intranet that features multiple social media tools for most or all employees to use as collaboration vehicles for sharing knowledge with other employees. A social intranet may feature blogs, wikis, discussion forums, social networking, or a combination of these or any other Web 2.0 (intranet 2.0) tool with at least some or limited exposure (optional) from the main intranet or portal home page.

Social Intranet @ Prescient Digital Media using SharePoint 2010However, a few employee or executive blogs do not make a social intranet. A social intranet requires wide participation, or at minimum, opportunity for participation, by most or all employees that have intranet access. Social intranets require social media: blogs, wikis, and user comments, to name a few. More advanced social intranets may incorporate multimedia, user-tagging, and social networking that are integrated into multiple channels including user profiles (such as the feature set produced by Microsoft SharePoint 2010 or Lotus Connections).

A social intranet however does not have or include:

  • All social media tools (two or three will suffice);
  • The participation of all employees (but be open to most employees); and
  • A technology platform that is strictly a social media platform (e.g. blog or wiki platform).

Social intranet basics:

  • Multiple social media tools
  • Open opportunity to use social media tools for most or all employees with intranet access
  • Access to social media tools from the intranet home page
  • Social options woven into most content consumption (e.g. user comments, rating, links to tools, etc. on most page templates)

Social media on the intranet is a relatively new phenomena having only appeared behind the firewall in the past 4 or 5 years (with the exception of instant messaging and discussion forums which have been around, in some form, since the late 1990s). In the past year or two, social media on the corporate intranet have become mainstream with nearly two-thirds of organizations in the western world having some form of social media on their intranet.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE SOCIAL INTRANET. DOWNLOAD THE FREE WHITE PAPER: THE SOCIAL INTRANET

The phrase social intranet has only appeared in recent years (late 2009) to describe an intranet with social media features. Although with any emerging technology there is likely to be disagreement on the precise definition of a new term, I describe a social intranet as the following:

An intranet that features multiple social media tools for most or all employees to use as collaboration vehicles for sharing knowledge with other employees. A social intranet may feature blogs, wikis, discussion forums, social networking, or a combination of these or any other Web 2.0 (intranet 2.0) tool with at least some or limited exposure (optional) from the main intranet or portal home page.

However, a few employee or executive blogs do not make a social intranet. A social intranet requires wide participation, or at minimum, opportunity for participation, by most or all employees that have intranet access. Social intranets require social media: blogs, wikis, and user comments, to name a few. More advanced social intranets may incorporate multimedia, user-tagging, and social networking that are integrated into multiple channels including user profiles (such as the feature set produced by Microsoft SharePoint 2010 or Lotus Connections).

A social intranet however does not have or include:

Ø All social media tools (two or three will suffice);

Ø The participation of all employees (but be open to most employees); and

Ø A technology platform that is strictly a social media platform (e.g. blog or wiki platform).

Social intranet basics:

Гј Multiple social media tools

Гј Open opportunity to use social media tools for most or all employees with intranet access

Гј Access to social media tools from the intranet home page

Гј Social options woven into most content consumption (e.g. user comments, rating, links to tools, etc. on most page templates)

Social media on the intranet is a relatively new phenomena having only appeared behind the firewall in the past 4 or 45years (with the exception of instant messaging and discussion forums which have been around, in some form, since the late 1990s). In the past year or two, social media on the corporate intranet have become mainstream with nearly two-thirds of organizations in the western world having some form of social media on their intranet.

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3 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    I'm with you on the “2.0” label, and I'm sure there will be a backlash soon. But it's better than “collaborative computing” or some other dry, clinical-sounding moniker. What's important is the notion of ethos that “2.0” tries to capture. The audience is the speaker and the audience determines the credibility of speaker. In Motorola's case, knowledge-workers use the IT tools to create the knowledge transfer systems, and they determine each other's credibility. That flips the top-down, corporate IT model on its head. Maybe instead of 2.0 we could call it democracy.
    Lynda Radosevich

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Well put Linda, I could not have put it better myself! By the way, are you with Motorola, could you share more details about the success of Intranet 2.0 with us? Regards Toby

    Reply
  3. Madie

    Great article.

    Reply

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