Discovering how today's intranet goes beyond a document depository.
One of the biggest barriers to developing a thriving and social intranet is its traditional definition largely as a place where documents go to die. This definition ignores the living: an organization's people and its information. Living things are constantly changing, and successful intranet technologies are no exception.
If you were to analyze today's intranet, it has dramatically evolved from a lifeless document depository. We can thank social technologies for influencing this transformation. According to Prescient Digital, a "social intranet" can be defined as "featuring multiple social media tools for most or all employees to use as collaboration vehicles for sharing knowledge with other employees."
These tools include varying combinations of blogs, microblogs, wikis, discussion forums, and others. Also important is broad exposure of content produced by employees using these tools on the main intranet or portal homepage. Simply put, these tools enable us to identify what we need day to day: people and information.
Unlike the traditional intranet that was a static, one-way form of communication, a social intranet welcomes engagement and conversations. Instead of conversations transpiring in the silo environment of email inboxes, they are happening on the corporate intranet, keeping employees better informed and engaged.
Today's social intranet has reshaped the way we work, how we communicate, and how we collaborate with our fellow employees. By being better able to identify the people and knowledge we need, documents and conversations co-exist, and information is constantly updated, keeping it relevant and much more likely to be shared.
Let's explore this transition and discover how social technologies have changed today's intranet.
Giving a face to the unknown - identity & information
When a new employee starts their first day on the job, it can be an exciting time. They get to meet new team members, decorate their desks and become accustomed to the culture of the organization. After the orientation period ends though, employees go back to their regular routines. A new employee can feel a sense of social abandonment where they are suddenly on their own. Some employees may even forget to include the new employee since they are so busy with their work priorities.
But the new employee is working. They are in meetings and they are contributing. It's just that no one knows what theyre working on. When you lose the identity of "the new person", you and your accomplishments tend to disappear. And if this culture is what new employees are immersed in, it's what they will propagate when they are no longer new but someone else is.
What happens when someone needs a specific document for a report they are working on? Do they know which specific document they need? Who owns that file? Has it been recently updated? Where is it? For organizations with over 50 employees, it becomes difficult to locate talent internally. For organizations with over 150 employees, the task of finding the right person with the right information becomes daunting, especially if the company has become established enough that early employees who were knowledge repositories have left. Work at a global organization with multiple offices and a few quasi-integrated acquisition divisions and need to find a document? Good luck. Scale simply causes even well-meaning identification efforts to fail.
Today's intranet gives people and information an identity.
Today's social intranet eliminates this pain. Effective intranet navigation has been streamlined thanks to social tools. Social intranets give an identity to people and their information - making it easier for employees to do their job. The value shows. According to Gartner, "Social capabilities, such as rich dynamic profiles, activity streams, embedded messages and self-service groups that were once available only from specialist vendors, are now becoming commonplace."
Thanks to personalized profiles on social intranets, employees have an identity beyond their email address and parking pass code. In their profile, an employee can post their phone extension, their email, their professional title, their department, their photo and even their birthday.
Not only is the physical identity of employees revealed, but their contributions are revealed too.
Employees typically have personalized profiles on social intranets, providing them with a more three-dimensional identity. While access to information about people encourages more human connections, what's more important is the surfaced identity of their work.
Social functionality such as activity streams gives other employees visibility into what their colleagues are working on. They can view who is uploading documents, commenting on presentations, microblogging status updates, and attending a corporate event. Instead of meaningful interactions being isolated in email or meeting rooms, they are visible on the intranet, making participation and transparency available and welcome. This form of identity and visibility has changed what the traditional intranet used to be. Today's intranet is engaging and interactive.
Beyond social functionality, strong document-related functionality is equally important in today's intranet. Yes, it is a place to store, share and collaborate on work (usually documents). But instead of documents living in email archives or dusty sub-sub-sub-folders on someone's desktop, today's intranet acts as a central hub not only for timely company-wide updates, but also for team-specific content, social interactions, and all the forms, templates, presentations, and documents that facilitate our productivity.
Now that information and people have unified identities and the unrestricted ability to evolve, the corporate intranet catalyzes a collaborative atmosphere. People are asking questions, participating in conversations, finding content, and commenting on documents. Today's intranet gives employees an identity where they are empowered to share - their voice, their work, and their accomplishments.
Now that information and people have unified identities and the unrestricted ability to evolve, the corporate intranet catalyzes a collaborative atmosphere. People are asking questions, participating in conversations, finding content, and commenting on documents. We can't be at every meeting, build every PowerPoint deck, or know everyone's job roles. But thanks to these digital tools we don't need to. They enable us to see and hear-then act- in ways dusty old document repositories never could.
Interested in learning more about modern intranets? Join us for a 30-min live demo of Igloo software.