Until 10 or 20 years ago, intranets were created either as a result of an experiment (for example in IT), or because there was a need to improve communication within a corporation. In the meantime, intranet capabilities have increased tremendously and stakeholders’ requirements diversified. What objectives are there for an intranet?
The intranet started its triumphant progress about 20 years ago. However, it’s only recently that corporations started to focus on their intranets’ true stakeholders: the employees. Not long after the emergence of intranets in organizations, those responsible for them started to ask what a modern intranet actually is. After all, no one wants to set up an outdated system that employees don’t want to use. Today, in the times of digital transformation and Generation Y, intranets are at least as important as 10 or 15 years ago. But what is a modern intranet nowadays? Is a ‘social intranet’ with user profiles, status updates, communities and chats sufficient?
Whenever someone hears the word ‘meeting’, they think of boring discussions, where a lot of time is wasted. Usually a few emails are sent beforehand and afterwards there is an email with the minutes – which no one is going to read before the next meeting. But with an intranet, meetings can be well prepared for, executed and followed up on.
Many companies still see their intranet as something that is still being installed. Like a new software, that should be used by all employees. So the intranet project manager creates a specification booklet, defines functions and milestones. Then the software is checked against the requirements and ticked off (or not). Based on a decision matrix, a software solution is chosen and installed. Then quickly some training is provided. Done. A classic software project.
In the last few years, the terms “Intranet 2.0” and “Social Intranet” started appearing, describing the development of more interactive and communicative intranets. Since then, “Social Collaboration” has become an oft-requested feature of intranets, contributing to the development of the notion of “Social Business”.
The introduction of a social intranet provokes many different reactions within a company. A social intranet is no longer top-down, instead it provides a way to network across departments and silos. A social intranet is about collaboration between colleagues and achieving results. The technical challenges and requirements of an intranet are secondary to how the employees welcome or reject the changes to communication, collaboration and work processes. The introduction of a social intranet must first and foremost consider the employees reactions to the changes. So, how do you ensure that your employees (and managers!) embrace these changes?