Recently, I’ve been reading a few articles around ‘the death of the intranet’. Of course, it’s far from the only thing that’s been declared dead by the online world, we often hear the same thing about SEO and even social media now and again. With regards to the intranet though, there’s little doubt that in recent years, it’s changed almost beyond recognition. So you could say that the old business intranet is dead.
It’s more useful though to look at it from another perspective and that’s of its evolution. It would be incorrect to say that businesses don’t use intranets any longer – they do, and in more powerful ways than ever before.
The Modern Intranet
The modern intranet has of course become more social. Where once intranets may have focused information sharing on coming from the top down, now all employees can be a part of creating valuable content and sharing knowledge. This is because the intranet that we commonly see now is a collaborative one that looks to engage its internal users.
According to David Hillis, writing for CMSWire, modern intranets should follow the ICE principle – Intranet, Community and Extranet. It’s these three key “pillars of collaboration” that he says will:
“(P)rovide holistic engagement, reduce development and software costs, and simplify user experience for employees and customers alike.”
This, he goes on to say has come about due to a blurring of the lines when it comes to the separate applications used for different audiences and is what essentially has given us the social intranet.
However, he continues to point out that in some respects and like many things associated with technology, the ‘social intranet’ has become somewhat overhyped – a bit of a buzzword. He points out that the intranet can’t be thought of as a place where any one application is given precedence over others. Social is just one aspect of the intranet and of course is useful for further engaging employees, but it’s far from the only facet that allows an organization to function effectively.
Organizations must evaluate hardware and software assets to ensure that together, they provide a platform that enables collaboration and extends beyond the walls of the office. Of course, it’s also necessary to calculate ROI on these assets and when reimagining the intranet, see where the most value can be obtained.
The intranet’s fundamental roots should though be in permissions and identity management for securing user rights, roles and so on. In this age of mobile and especially with regard to BYOD, this is something that should make up the base of the modern intranet. It’s then possible to build the network out to include what elements suit the business such as content management, e-learning systems, social and more.
Seamless Collaboration and Information Flow
Once the intranet has been built out to include these modern elements (constructed on a good firm platform), then it’s simpler to facilitate collaboration, content development and management so that information flows seamlessly throughout the organization to the customer at the end of the chain.
“Organizations should look beyond their existing content management tools and evaluate more modern community platforms. These tools come under different headings, including community, business social and collaboration. Regardless of how a platform is positioned, to support ICE deployment it should combine the streamlined user management and mass contribution of a portal with the powerful content creation and publishing capabilities of a CMS,” says Mr Hillis.
The good news is that now is a perfect time to upgrade to the modern intranet. Cloud and other technologies mean that community and CMS platforms are now more accessible than ever before. Employees want to be engaged – as a race we’re also consuming an unprecedented amount of content, meaning that the consumer audience also wants to engage.
So yes, perhaps the old-fashioned antiquated intranet is dead. But the modern intranet is not only alive and well, it’s helping businesses to thrive in a way unimagined to them before.