The recent explosion of social media platforms coupled with the financial meltdown driving a need for operational improvement has left purchasers exploring low-cost open source options, which is driving commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) vendors to rethink their licensing models. In addition, purchasers of Intranet software have started to expect expanded social media functionality and expanded options for licensing/hosting as Software as a Service (SaaS) becomes more popular. In this piece, we’ll focus on the new platforms available for Intranets and some of the options available to organizations to reduce internal costs and maintain system stability while ensuring that their users have access to a wide variety of features.
Over the last few years, the social media boom has forced Intranet portal vendors to rethink some of their licensing models and expand their feature functionality. “Traditional” intranet portals that are simply presentations layers with a back-end content management system just don’t cut it anymore. Instead, organizations want their employees to generate peer-to-peer content using 2.0 functionality like blogs, wikis, and tagging instead of relying on one-way messages from the top.
Imagine, for a moment, that you have accepted a new position as a corporate executive tasked with figuring our how to make your company work better, faster, cheaper. Along with the details of your position, you have been informed that you have access to a wealth of competitive intelligence, product experience, and innovative thinking at your fingertips. Sounds like a recipe for success, right?
The reality is that organizations are generating more and more information on an hourly basis. Take a moment and think about all the documents, spreadsheets, presentations, emails, voice mails, and sticky notes you generated on a daily basis just 3 years ago. Now, add modern day blogs, tweets, text messages, forum posts, comments, status updates, videos, podcasts, and wiki posts to your list and what do you get? More information? Definitely! But the larger problem is the fact that the information is now spread out in more places, making it harder for other employees and customers to find it.
If you haven’t figured it out already, it’s a Google kinda world out there and your Intranet users expect your search functionality to provide them with accurate, relevant results to their search queries. With that in mind, if you haven’t already begun the process of building a federate search strategy, it’s time to do so.
When it comes to Intranets, governance is one of those topics that tends to divide folks into some pretty extreme camps. One side contends that users should be able to govern themselves and, when left alone, content driven by the users will be rich and meaningful. The folks on the other side of the fence believe that content should be generated by the organization for consumption by the users. Their position is often based on the argument that end-users would pose a risk to the organization by sharing incorrect, privileged, or inappropriate content. The reality is that these two camps do have valid points, but the best practice is to land somewhere in the middle.
Over the years, I have been privileged to work on a variety of Intranets ranging in shapes and sizes. Some were for large corporations, others were for small non-profits. Some were heavily governed, others were driven by user content. Even though each of these Intranets were unique in their own ways, they had one key element in common – strong user adoption. Without a strong user community that recognized the value of the Intranet, each would have failed.