Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Enterprise Intranets: A Detailed Picture

In a recent post at Web Strategy by Jeremiah, he details the evolution of enterprise intranet, along with the challenges, and what has to be successful. I was surprised that many of the topics were things that we’ve been stressing here in our blog, such as the ease of many of the procedures that are necessary for a corporate intranet to go fully successful in an enterprise, as well as the complications that present themselves in the process.

First off, Jeremiah discusses the challenges of the intranet. They are:
-- Leadership is not employee focused
-- IT does not give the corporate intranet the time of day
-- The value of it is not recognized
-- There are too many people trying to have their input into the intranet
-- The people who make the decisions are oblivious.

The point that catches my interest the most is that too many people are trying to have their input. In Jeremiah’s example, he states that many people from marketing, HR, IT, and many other business units are trying to give their two cents on how things are put together. If too many people are trying to give their input, it’s very easy for a project like this to be set aside, and never returned too.

Second, Jeremiah gives the stages of evolution:
1) Disparate – This is when one person in the company sees the opportunity the value of thecorporate intranet and starts the process
2) Common user experience – A company realizes that the intranet is available 24/7 allaround the world, unlike email. At this point, an intranet team may emerge to helpmanage the program.
3) Unified content management system – The need for the proper software begins toemerge. The Intranet team wants to help find the tools to make this happen, and a CMStool is usually found.
4) Personalization and Enterprise Search – Massive content is starting to frequent thesystem. Many pages and lots of documents are uploaded on the system. A commonsearch tool is developed to sort through all these things.
5) Collaboration – These tools are created and uploaded as businesses realize thatcollaboration can happen around the world on this single site.
6) Socialization – Exactly what we see from Facebook and LinkedIn. Employees begin toshare about themselves, as well as ideas and other information with others on theintranet.
7) The Future -- According to Jeremiah, this probably has to do with the portable phonerevolution. Who knows the next step in this rapidly expanding world, but it will probablyhave to do with the evolution of technology such as the Blackberry.

However, Jeremiah believes that there can be several things that hold back the intranet revolution: a centralized body that controls the User Experience, business and personal users have freedom to publish, expiration of content, IT gets ahead of the need, and it could become a social sandbox for employees.

A which step is your company in the process? Have you seen any of the road bumps that Jeremiah describes?

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