Will enterprise social network replace Intranets?

It’s interesting to see that some organizations are starting to use Enterprise Social Networks  (#ESN) as a replacement for their Intranets.

  • The social network becomes the entry door (or ‘Intranet’ homepage)
  • Content is no longer static but interactive and dynamic
  • The Intranet can suddenly be accessed from any devices, anytime, anywhere
  • Users start to adopt the Intranet and do not miss their traditional Intranet in a matter of days

These moves are often justified by the ease of use provided by most Enterprise Social Network solutions, their quick implementation and relatively low costs. To be successful, they require an increase in the resources dedicated to community management. We knew that Enterprise Social Networks were starting to replace emails. The debate is now opened: is the future of collaboration and communication Not the Intranet (by @bmosherzinck)? The answer is probably yes. But that doesn’t imply that the future will only be Enterprise Social Networks. Enterprise Social Networks are just one of the dimensions of what many have been describing as the Digital Workplace. They are the social layer that should go on top of every tools and be, in a sense, the glue that holds it all together. Some vendors are starting to realize the potential of replacing Intranets and are starting to offer Intranet like features. Most however still lack a few essential features of advanced Intranets such as:

  • The ability to integrate with enterprise systems beyond providing links
  • The ability to manage structured content
  • The ability to create and manage authoritative content
  • The ability to manage processes

It’s great to see how Enterprise Social Networks how have brought fresh ‘blood’ into traditional Intranets. It is equally exciting to see how some are increasingly improving their features to the point of willing to replace Intranets (and they are quicker to develop new features than most Intranet team is able to). Overall, I think however that we will continue to see Enterprise Social Networks coexist alongside traditional Intranets for sometime to go until they can be fully integrated into the Digital Workplace.

What are your views?

About ernstdecsey

Passionate about the digital workplace (defined as the sum of collaboration, social media and the Intranet). The postings on this site are my own.
This entry was posted in digital workplace, enterprise social network, intranet and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Will enterprise social network replace Intranets?

  1. Nadine says:

    I agree with your comment above that “Enterprise Social Networks are just one of the dimensions of what many have been describing as the Digital Workplace. They are the social layer that should go on top of every tools and be, in a sense, the glue that holds it all together.”.

    Where I might differ with you however, is that I don’t see a difference between the digital workplace and the intranet.

    Traditional intranet’s are only traditional because we allow them to be. As intranet professionals haven’t we always been striving for a fully integrated, useful, social and collaborative digital workplace for our people. Haven’t we always expected that one day our intranets would be the place where people come to work, connect, collaborate and share?

    I agree with the first comment on this post you reference above (http://www.cmswire.com/cms/social-business/the-future-of-collaboration-and-communication-is-not-the-intranet-015964.php), that we should stop blaming the technology for our lack of imagination.

    These are such exciting times for intranets as we see technologies developing that are allowing us to close the gap between our current intranets and our ideal intranets.

    Enjoying your posts, many thanks!

  2. ernstdecsey says:

    Thank you for your comment! Very good point. Your definition of Intranet is not different from what I would define as a Digital Workplace, so we’re not very far apart 🙂

  3. In a sense the Enterprise Social Network may well be the enabler of that vision where “people come to a digital place to work, connect, collaborate and share”.

    In the traditional landscape Intranets were the place for accessing reference content, reading news feeds, jumping to web enabled apps, and sometimes sharing files with a team. But publishing content, publishing news, and sharing files was traditionally an activity to execute on top of your job. Publishing is often not part of your business process. To execute your business process, you would use the killer app – e-mail – or some corporate tool built to automate some key activities.

    And here comes the #ESN which allows you to work faster than with e-mail. Knowledge is no longer lost in inboxes. You don’t need extra steps for publishing or sharing content: you’re working “in the place” already; knowledge is shared as a side effect of your work.

    Add some structured navigation, tune your publication processes to harness the power of social, let go of some “traditional” controls, and your #ESN can become your Intranet.

    I believe the #ESN will take us closer to the digital place vision. The hardest part of the work is making people realize the #ESN is the easiest path for them to get things done. And when they do, they won’t go back.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s