In 2015, staff will have universal access to information and functionality, delivered at the point of need, regardless of where they may be. This means going beyond the “intranet as an internal website”, a concept that has been holding back intranet teams for many years.
A few of the comments on my initial post made this very clear:
Complete mobile access: From your (really) smart phone you can i) find any needed piece of information through enterprise search; ii) find and email, IM, text, call, video chat with any colleague; 3) edit wiki pages and post news stories; 4) complete activities, such as travel advance requests.
Data, documents, applications, personal contacts, web sites, processes, web based forms, latest news updates – all will be delivered within a relevant context from the Workplace Web.
Perhaps the iphone/blackberry generation will be working in micro, tweet sized short bursts of activity taking place small via custom apps.
Universal access means unlocking the silos of corporate information, and delivering needed tools and answers to all the platforms and systems being used by staff.
This involves connecting information systems to our familiar tools: email, Word and Excel. It means bring enterprise information into the specialist operational systems that many staff use. It also requires enterprise functionality to be provided on hand-held devices, embedded systems and other field platforms.
We can, however, discount two extremes:
- The concept of an intranet goes away. There will always be a need for an “intranet”, a central web-based point of access that connects information and systems. The world is moving towards the web, not away from it, and this is no different within organisations.
- Everything on the web. There have always been an enthusiastic minority who want to dump the desktop entirely, moving everything into the web. This worked poorly, and in 2015, staff will still have desktop tools, most likely running on Windows.
This vision used to be very difficult, almost impossible, to deliver. Much has changed. Point-to-point integration via web services (and the like) has become mainstream. Mobile devices have much richer capabilities. Enterprise systems are becoming more open to being tailored and connected.
The necessary integration doesn’t need to be perfect. The “good enough” principles that underpin the web are sufficient to allow staff to look up phone numbers on their mobile device, or get access to policies within call centre systems.
The goal is clear: staff have the information and tools they need, when and where they need them.