Welcome!

Related Topics: Agile Computing

Agile Computing: Blog Feed Post

Social Intranets and Knowledge Management

From intranets to social intranets – Part 1

We tend to get carried away in the mood of the moment. As enterprise social networks started to pick up, weren’t we a little too quick to grab our shovels, prepare tearful eulogies post the “death of intranets” in the manner of “intranets were great BUT…..”, and start to drag the intranet away?

Not so quick.

Admittedly, intranets have had a rocky past, suffering from adoption problems, never quite delivering their promise. However, the objectives where sound, and lots of companies which thought through their intranet implementation, did have great success. Social software on the other hand, is beyond its bright eyed boy stage, and has to bring more than a business version of “let’s exchange likes”. The right way then, is the best of both worlds. This coming together is already underway with the assimilation of modern social concepts in traditional intranets – the “social intranet”.

Although I was going to discuss all the ways in which a social intranet improves upon a traditional intranet in a single blog entry, I realized that each area deserves its own attention. This is therefore a series.

Social intranets and knowledge management


Shortcomings of knowledge management in traditional intranets

A classical objective of the intranet was knowledge management – capturing all possible knowledge created in the organization and making it readily available to everyone else. The idea was to capture learning as problems were faced, solved, best practices developed, and share such learning across offices, teams and hierarchies – a growth and maturation for the entire organization in the process.

Although the intranet was able to capture knowledge to an extent, it was never able to solve the problem of sharing. Knowledge created and captured in the intranet in the forms of documents, presentations, or best practice sheets, never left the team, office or division “workspace”. The inherent flaw lay in the structure of traditional intranets – everything was blocked off into “intranet workspaces”, each an island of information in itself.

Another major flaw with the design of the intranet was that although it captured the information created through formal processes – documents, presentations, spreadsheets, code-bases – it was in-adept at capturing the key resource of any organization – the knowledge in the minds of workers. The workers had no incentive to, or means of, voluntarily and proactively contributing what they had in their minds in terms of ideas, suggestions, and solutions to others’ problems. One could even think of it as outdated human resource philosophy as reflected in traditional intranets – why would an employee go beyond their job role to help their colleagues and company?

That is what changes in a profound way in social intranets.

Employee generated content. Social intranets bring to intranets one of the main sources of the web 2.0 revolution – user generated content. Content is not created at the higher echelons of the company and handed down to everyone else. Social intranets equip employees with the tools to contribute their own content. Employees engage in open conversations by finding colleagues, posting messages on their walls, contributing articles, following and participating in existing conversations, or setting up ad hoc groups around common areas of interest. In the process they are contributing their knowledge, and gaining from the knowledge of others. And this knowledge is accessible to everyone else in the company for all times.

Sharing across silos. Another thing social tools encourage employees to do is to freely share information across formal organizational groups. For example, if you are on a cross functional group, you can simply post a message on the wall of a teammate in another division at another office, and attach a document from your groups document repository that might help them. In doing this, you actually created an information bridge across groups. As this is one more and more, group boundaries become porous and information travels freely across them. Company knowledge is now not siloed, but available across the grid.

Access people. As mentioned before, key company knowledge resides not in company documents, but inside the minds of employees. Employees have a face in social intranets in the form of profiles which detail their skills, projects and experience. You can easily locate the right people across the organization by searching for skills or experience, and approach them directly for help. More often than not, you will find they are willing to help, which saves you the time and effort of reinventing the wheel.

At an abstract level, what social intranets really represent is a shift in philosophy. They recognize people as the most important repository of organizational knowledge, and believe that employees will go out of their way, beyond their formal roles, to help their colleagues and the organization – and derive satisfaction from that (HR practitioners call this theory Y).

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Pankaj Taneja

An MBA by qualification, Pankaj Taneja has more than six years of experience in the SaaS and web collaboration industries. Having seen SaaS grow from a niche sector to the next big thing in enterprise technology, he has a great enthusiasm and passion for the sphere. Pankaj has been working for many years at HyperOffice, one of the earliest players in web collaboration since 1998, an industry which now includes solutions from Google, Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, Adobe and more. It is amazing being part of a pioneer in collaboration, riding a wave which only promises to grow.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Latest Stories
Large scale deployments present unique planning challenges, system commissioning hurdles between IT and OT and demand careful system hand-off orchestration. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Smith, Senior Director and a founding member of Incenergy, will discuss some of the key tactics to ensure delivery success based on his experience of the last two years deploying Industrial IoT systems across four continents.
When it comes to cloud computing, the ability to turn massive amounts of compute cores on and off on demand sounds attractive to IT staff, who need to manage peaks and valleys in user activity. With cloud bursting, the majority of the data can stay on premises while tapping into compute from public cloud providers, reducing risk and minimizing need to move large files. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Jeschonek, Director of Product Management at Avere Systems, discussed the IT and busin...
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
Most organizations prioritize data security only after their data has already been compromised. Proactive prevention is important, but how can you accomplish that on a small budget? Learn how the cloud, combined with a defense and in-depth approach, creates efficiencies by transferring and assigning risk. Security requires a multi-defense approach, and an in-house team may only be able to cherry pick from the essential components. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Vlad Friedman, CEO/Founder o...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
"We host and fully manage cloud data services, whether we store, the data, move the data, or run analytics on the data," stated Kamal Shannak, Senior Development Manager, Cloud Data Services, IBM, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
As organizations shift towards IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. Commvault can ensure protection, access and E-Discovery of your data – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise. In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Randy De Meno, Chief Technologist - Windows Products and Microsoft Part...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
With the proliferation of both SQL and NoSQL databases, organizations can now target specific fit-for-purpose database tools for their different application needs regarding scalability, ease of use, ACID support, etc. Platform as a Service offerings make this even easier now, enabling developers to roll out their own database infrastructure in minutes with minimal management overhead. However, this same amount of flexibility also comes with the challenges of picking the right tool, on the right ...
With over 720 million Internet users and 40–50% CAGR, the Chinese Cloud Computing market has been booming. When talking about cloud computing, what are the Chinese users of cloud thinking about? What is the most powerful force that can push them to make the buying decision? How to tap into them? In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Yu Hao, CEO and co-founder of SpeedyCloud, answered these questions and discussed the results of SpeedyCloud’s survey.
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device.
“We're a global managed hosting provider. Our core customer set is a U.S.-based customer that is looking to go global,” explained Adam Rogers, Managing Director at ANEXIA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Am...