Five Core Tenets of the Social Intranet - Slide 3

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Tenet #2

It’s tempting to think you can have one company provide everything in your intranet, but the reality is you need a stack that’s technology agnostic. Otherwise, you’re going to have to mold every single piece of integration to that vendor’s way of doing things. Open Web standards and RESTful APIs are key in this endeavor, but they alone won’t work. A strong integration framework that incorporates custom business processes will be essential as well.

Even in the year 2011, there’s many pushing for a “their way or the highway” mentality, and that will stifle the success of the social intranet. By insisting on one particular development framework, or pushing the religion of cloud-only versus on-premises and ignoring all the nuances in between the two, it makes it hard for companies to think holistically about how they piece together the relevant data and systems they need to make their intranet a successful work tool.

The social intranet shouldn’t care where your data lives; it should aim to provide your employees with a secure location to access relevant data and people in context of where their work is getting done.

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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