Recent Volcanic Eruption Can Help Stress The Importance Of Your Social Intranet Apps

Sean R. Nicholson - Intranet Evangelist at

Sean R. Nicholson

Sometimes opportunities knock quietly….and sometimes they hit us with explosive force. The trouble is, we often miss them even though they are staring us right in the face. As an example, take a look at the recent volcanic explosion in Iceland. This natural disaster has demonstrated the need for business travelers to have access to their corporate information, regardless of where they are located.

The reality is that modern business travelers are more reliant on technology than ever. Sales professionals need access to updated rate sheets and sales contacts, marketing professionals need their product collateral, legal professionals need access to up-to-date case notes, and the list goes on. Without access to the critical information required to do their jobs, traveling professionals would be at a significant disadvantage to those that are able to access their corporate information remotely.

Iceland Volcano Plume From NASA

The MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite captured an Ash plume from Eyjafjallajokull Volcano over the North Atlantic at 11:35 UTC (7:35 a.m. EDT) on April 15, 2010. Credit: NASA/MODIS Rapid Response Team.

In addition, the ability to keep in constant contact with employees in the home office allows travelers to make alternate arrangements for travel,meetings, and information distribution. If a sales professional is stuck in the airport in London but has access to email, their travel reservation system, and their Contact Relationship Management (CRM) system, they could reserve a train ride to France, reschedule a business meeting with their customer, and send updated product information…all from the airport.

Estimates indicate that the recent eruption caused more than 100,000 flights to be canceled. Business travelers from Okinawa to Orlando were impacted and their activities potentially disrupted. In many cases, however, employees were able to continue operating remotely due to application access provided via Virtual Private Networks (VPN), remote meeting technology like GoToMeeting, and Web-based email systems.

As a result, Intranet professionals should be looking for ways to highlight the importance of portal, security, and productivity benefits offered by Intranet applications. Demonstrating to executives how internal social media kept employees in touch and helped them conduct business during potentially disastrous times demonstrates the value of investment in an Intranet infrastructure and highlights its benefit.

I’d love to hear stories of travelers who benefited from remote technology and access to the corporate intranet. Feel free to comment and share!

Comments And Reactions

  1. Lisa Valentine says:

    Kudos for that thoughtful interpretation of the need for social media across the enterprise! Too many companies are having the knee-jerk reaction of blocking employee access to social media apps.

    If yours is one of those, here’s a helpful resource. It’s a whitepaper called “To Block or Not. Is that the question?”

    It has lots of insightful and useful information about identifying and controlling Enterprise 2.0 apps (Facebook, Twitter, Skype, SharePoint, etc.)

    Share it with the IT Dept.


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