Five Core Tenets of the Social Intranet - Slide 2

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In the social intranet, everything in it — from content to people to data from systems of record — must be tied to a particular subject or top-level architectural construction. The purposes of this will be two-fold: One is obviously to increase the chances that people find what they’re looking for. But more importantly, it gives them a mechanism to filter this information as it comes to them in real-time.

This also helps with discovery.

Depending on the maturity of your intranet, your people have different ways of finding information. If it’s old, they’ll search the static HTML pages and experience difficulty finding the information they need. If it’s slightly newer, their searches might yield better informational results, but they’ll lack context since the information is devoid of who or what generated it. Consequently, the careful use and management of top level social architecture subjects will be key.

With regards to relevancy, speed matters, too. Information became stale quickly in early generation intranets because it required IT’s help to update. The social intranet puts publishing tools right at employees’ fingertips, and gives them the power to update and change information on the fly.

According to Chris Lynch from TIBCO Software Inc., there’s been no shortage of people saying that social computing represents the next wave of the corporate intranet, the latter being a piece of technology that’s been perpetually disappointing. For a place that’s supposed to be the starting point of people’s day, it has never lived up to that expectation.

The first wave of intranets were static, imposing too much friction for end-users who wanted to post new information. People had to wait for their IT department to hack HTML code and update the page. Then came the second generation of intranets — the self-service variety — that brought more functional use, but ultimately the most time you spent there was during your first and last week working at the company. They also lacked a critical element: People. Who does what? And who can help me get my job done better?

So naturally, enterprise social computing came to save the day and deliver that critical people element, right?

Well, yes, but that isn’t the most complicated part of the equation.

The new intranet will be a heterogeneous environment of systems across the whole company — and the challenges of actionable integration points and relevancy will far outweigh the people part of the equation. What the social intranet won’t be is a homogeneous, monolithic software stack that only incorporates people and systems based on one vendor’s view of the world. As a new generation of CIOs take the ranks, they’re realizing such a strategy for their corporate intranet isn’t “good enough” at all.

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