Building Next-Generation Social Intranets for the Cloud

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Five Core Tenets of the Social Intranet

The new intranet will be a heterogeneous environment of systems across the whole company.

When you think about the evolution of the Web technologies inside the enterprise, it becomes pretty apparent that a lot the intranets deployed inside the enterprise are a little long in the tooth these days. In fact, not only does there tend to be a lot of dormant intranets inside the enterprise, many of them are little more than dormant repositories for documents that most employees rarely use.

According to Benjamin Mestrallet, CEO of eXo, a provider of an application development environment that is optimized for building applications in the cloud, the real issue with intranets these days is that for the most part they are not very social. IT organizations could obviously embark on a program to modernize their intranet environments, but that would usually entail buying additional software and infrastructure to run them, or moving to a packaged application environment delivered as a service in the cloud that might not exactly fit the way the company operates. A third approach, says Mestrallet, would be to build a custom social intranet application that could run on any one of several platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings in the cloud or be deployed in a private cloud environment.

To facilitate the development of those intranet applications for the cloud, eXO this week formally released version 3.5 of the eXo, which can be used to build multi-tenant applications in Java, PHP or Ruby on Rails that can be deployed on public or private clouds, and it comes with support for a variety of built-in social network integration features.

Refreshing intranet applications may not immediately spring to mind as a high priority. But the amount of money spent on supporting existing intranet applications could be used to pay for the creation and ongoing maintenance of a modern social intranet in the cloud that employees and other business associates might actually want to use. And once that happens, there's no telling what might actually happen from an employee productivity perspective.