To win in today’s business competition, you need a social intranet. I’m dead serious. The future belongs to organisations who can use the power of social intranet for employee engagement, productivity, collaboration, and innovation.
Yep, practically all the things that the management wants. So what is this social intranet? Social intranet is an intranet with social technology tools like social networking, blog, discussion forum, comment box, wikis, etc.
If this sounds like social media stuff, it is! Social intranet is about using social media within the organisation. There is a subtle difference between social technology and social media. Social media is usually referring to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or any other web 2.0 tools in the internet. Social technology, on the other hand, is a more generic terms that cover the whole array of web 2.0 tools in internet and in intranet.
Smart organisations are investing in social intranet rather than simply allowing the use of social media in the organisation (I know it is difficult to stop people from using social media at work, thanks to the ubiquitous iphone and other smart-phone devices).
Here is why. Employees can make use of their free time to share ideas and to connect with their colleagues in social intranet – rather than in social-media sites. The big idea is, to contain the sharing of ideas and social networking within the organisation.
Why not use social media? Social media isn’t ideal because people can ”inadvertently” share sensitive information to the public. And it is impossible to link employees’ social activities in social media to the benefit of the organisation.
I know what you are thinking. You are probably going to criticise me for not embracing the concept of Open Innovation, i.e. collectively innovate through idea-sharing with the public, competitors, amateurs, etc. I gotta tell you this: I’m an advocate and ardent believer of open innovation. Yes, I’m.
But, I’m also a very practical person. I don’t think organisations can entirely open-up their business processes, or can crowdsource strategic decision-making to outsiders. Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing can be used in situations where the organisation is exploring something new that it has no expertise in.
Okay, enough of open innovation and crowdsourcing. Let’s get back to our discussion on using social intranet in organisations.
With social intranet, you can:
- Increase employee engagement. Work is no longer boring, when part of your work is to pursue your professional interest/passion, and to build your personal brand within the corporate intranet. Plus, you get the chance to connect with cool people in the organisation (people who have similar interests with you).
- Increase productivity. Looking for corporate information or contents owned by your colleagues? Well, it’s going to take awhile if you are using traditional intranet. But with social intranet? Seriously, you can get it within a blink. That’s because in social intranet, contents are tagged using corporate taxonomy and your own tags (social tagging or folksonomy) – which means you can retrieve contents faster by refining your search according to those tags. And if you have a very good social intranet like Sharepoint 2010 (Too bad microsoft don’t pay me for endorsing their hot-selling product), you can search contents based on social distance, i.e. your “friends’ contents” get prioritised in the search engine. So, you can jump straight to contents authored by people whom you trust.
- Improve social collaboration. It’s hard to collaborate using email, because you are often get confused on which version is the latest and on whether the document has been vetted by the bosses. In social intranet, you can use collaboration space as one-stop centre for collaboration. You and your co-workers can add, edit, amend, or delete contents at easy because every changes made is recorded. You know which version is latest in collaboration space. Plus, you can create a workflow to route documents for approval.
- Increase innovation. In social intranet, cultivating communities of practice (CoP) is easy. Employees have more opportunities to find like-minded colleagues and to start building a community around a shared-passion. When employees have supportive-environment (the CoP) and the means to experiment with their ideas, there will be more innovations in the organisations.
Does your organisation use social intranet? Tell me whether it has made an impact to your work or how it has benefited the organisation.
- Hinchcliffe, D. (2010). Social intranets: Enterprises grapple with internal change. ZDNet.
- Ward, T. (2010). The Rise of Intranet 2.0: The Social Intranet. CMSWire.
- Berg, O. (2010). The business case for social intranets.
- Lupfer, E. (2010). Creating a Social Intranet where Employees can Learn, Plan and Do