You’d think from the buzz about social media and collaboration tools that the world is changing rapidly. And you’d be right. These tools are transforming the typical corporate intranet. The intranet doesn’t need to be a one-way communications channel and home for policies. With the availability of new tools-and new mindsets-intranets can foster discussion, break silos, and transform how work is done. Yet for all the enthusiasm, the true picture is more complex. As William Gibson said, “The future is already here-it’s just unevenly distributed.”
Alongside brand-new “social intranets” are traditional intranets still focusing on the fundamentals.
What we’re seeing is a landscape of two-speed intranets. While there is plenty of overlap between the go-fast and go-slow intranets, there are also many differences. If we’re to close the gaps, we need to recognize that there is no one-size- fits-all approach.
Stealing approaches from the public web, the enterprise space is becoming much richer and more vibrant. Collaboration tools of all kinds are being tried and adopted, introducing new ways of connecting staff members. In some cases, organizations are ditching old intranets and replacing them with social intranets that democratize participation.
Beyond the purely social and collaborative space, modern approaches dramatically simplify developing enterprise applications. This has enabled innovative teams to deliver business solutions targeting key needs in months rather than years. This has transformed go-fast intranets into powerful business tools.
While these intranets are the ones that you hear about at conferences, the reality is that they’re still very much in the minority. In these early stages, the right conditions need to be in place to enable this type of innovation. The challenge for these new intranets is to avoid throwing the baby out with the bathwater. In some cases, the lessons hard learned over the past decade have been forgotten, on the idealistic assumption that new technologies trump old problems.
[Editorial in Intranets magazine, read the full post]