The intranet is dead. How many times have we heard this tired, uninformed complaint or false prophecy in the past 10 years? Too many, which coincidentally is equal to the number of half-wits out there that don’t know any better.
Yes, the intranet is sick, under-funded, under-used, under-appreciated, and perhaps even ‘mostly dead’ in many companies. But as Miracle Max (The Princess Bride) so poignantly put it in terms that even children can appreciate, “It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive.”
Remember when Amazon was going to kill the book store? And the Kindle was going to kill the book? And when George W. Bush was going to get us all killed? Yes, all are alive, and doing quite well.
Yes the intranet, though sick, is still most alive – and getting better thank you (albeit slowly). He’s been sick for a while, and a lot more liquid cash is required to bring it to its true health but there’s a glimmer of hope…
Rumors of the intranet’s death are greatly exaggerated; idol, foolhardy gossip.
No need to panic, your intranet won’t disappear. Despite the dire, prophetic predictions of many a fiery, false prophet, the intranet will continue to survive its current malaise, or rather, embattled evolution.
More than a few pundits have recently and falsely prophesized the death of intranets (see “Whatever happened to intranets? ). In fact, one of SocialText’s founders, a self-described social media maven, was the first to adorn the pulpit with this death knell prediction more than ten years ago.
The fact of the matter: intranets are quite alive. Sure, their current state in the average organization is rather piss-poor, but the intranet is well-ensconced in its mediocre position behind the firewall. The theory goes that social media represents the death blow for intranets, and that social media will replace intranet. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Just as social media won’t kill email, the other equally laughable false prophecy shouted by far too many attention-seeking blowhards, social media isn’t killing anything in the enterprise.
Social media merely represent another channel, another technology, to augment, or enhance the corporate intranet. To be clear: the intranet is defined as a closed internal network, using Internet Protocol technology, protected by a firewall (hosted or not) for an employee audience. Yes, a social media platform such as SocialText, SocialCast, or ThoughtFarmer, can certainly be the main technology platform that powers the intranet, but it won’t kill the intranet, but it can become the intranet. This transformation from standard, traditional intranet to a ‘social’ intranet doesn’t kill the intranet, or email, it merely represents an evolutionary leap.
But the intranet doesn’t depend on technology – technology is merely an enabler. As depicted in the Social Intranet Infographic (above), an intranet’s success and performance is predominantly determined by people and process – authors, publishers, and managers and the rules, standards, and policies that govern their actions. Employees don’t go to the intranet to entertain themselves, or to play with a piece of technology, they’re after information and knowledge, which is technology neutral. The intranet is the platform to serve up this information and knowledge, and social media and other technologies don’t replace its service, but rather augment it.
No the intranet is not going anywhere – and employees will depend on it for corporate news, looking-up phone numbers, accessing pay and compensation statements, and sharing and collaborating with colleagues – regardless of the technology. Like social media, the technology will continue to evolve, as will the entire intranet, but the people and process that support it, will determine its performance and end state, not the technology itself.