Enterprise Social Intranet

Best Practices for Implementing an Enterprise Social Intranet

Social Intranet Defined

A social intranet is defined as a network that utilizes social software to share an organization’s information with its members. Generally, this means that the social intranet is a place where employees can go to get things done within their own company.

Main Functions and Features

  • Integration
    The ability to integrate with current tools or the ability to add new tools to the program. An example would be the ability to add MS Outlook and email to integrate with the intranet.
  • Customization
    This is software that is flexible enough to be used by the organization to create custom modules. This can make interaction easier within the site. It allows for the customization of tools and resources that are used most often.
  • Collaboration
    This is an intranet feature that allows people to collaborate their work. An example would be a group of people working on one document.
  • Communication Channels
    This is a feature that allows corporations to promote a corporate culture in an interactive way.
  • Automation
    These are workflows and templates that can automate document creation. Alerts can be created to assist in learning about changes and new additions within an intranet.
  • Applications
    These are links to specific applications for associates to perform their duties.
  • Remote Access
    Users of the intranet are able to access content when they are away from the office.
  • Document Repository
    This allows users of an intranet to store and retrieve documents. It enables users to maintain and back up their data to prevent the loss of important documents.
  • Blog
    An intranet blog is used to provide timely information to employees, customers and business partners.
  • People Search
    This feature allows members of the intranet the ability to find employee contact information, specialty areas, personal interests and group memberships.
  • Enterprise Search
    This feature allows members of the enterprise intranet to search content.
  • Security
    Users and groups are able to share and send documents securely when utilizing an intranet.

Growth of Social Enterprise Intranets

Recent studies show that enterprise social networks are rising in popularity. They are becoming the main body of information repositories and communication hubs within enterprises. They are beginning to replace corporate intranets as the most comprehensive and reliable places to locate information.

According to a study published by APCO Worldwide and Gagen MacDonald, corporations using internal social tools experience higher levels of social engagement at work. These organizations have also reported the following information:

  • Sixty one percent of employees said social media tools make it easier to collaborate with their colleagues across vast distances.
  • Fifty eight percent of employees would rather work at a company that utilizes internal social tools.

The Benefits of Social Enterprise Intranets

There are many benefits to enterprise social intranets.

  • Workforce Productivity
    They help users to view and locate information quickly. This allows the ease of use for workforce applications that are relative to their roles and responsibilities in the workplace.
  • Time
    They allow many organizations to distribute information as needed. Employees can link to the information when they find it convenient. This is a lot less distracting than electronic mail.
  • Communication
    Enterprise social intranets are powerful tools for communication. They are used to communicate strategies that can have a global reach throughout the organization.
  • Web Publishing
    Enterprise social intranets allow corporate knowledge to be maintained and easily accessed. This is usually done through hypermedia and Web technologies.
  • Business Operations and Management
    They are being used as platforms for developing and deploying applications that support business operations and decisions throughout enterprises.
  • Cost Effectiveness
    Users are allowed to view data and information through web browsers instead of maintaining physical documents. This can save businesses money on printing and duplicating documents.
  • Enhances Collaboration
    Information is easily accessed by all authorized members. This enables teamwork.
  • Promotes A Common Corporate Culture
    Every member can view the same information throughout the enterprise intranet. This helps to promote a common culture throughout the company.
  • Immediate Updates
    Intranets make it possible to provide audiences with live changes so that they are kept current with corporate issues.
  • Supports a Distributed Computing Architecture
    An intranet can be linked to a management information system. An example would be a corporate time keeping system.

Common Issues Encountered When Implementing an Enterprise Social Intranet

Usually, poor planning is the most common problem when implementing a social intranet. Too many organizations rely on free, open source solutions. These organizations give little thought to the needs and requirements of their users. Poor planning causes the user problems when trying to find information.

To overcome these issues, companies should list their needs in an enterprise social intranet before designing their systems.

Main Processes to Cover When Planning an Enterprise Social Intranet

Overall, a successful enterprise social intranet encapsulates corporate flair and spirit. The use of innovative and fun features should be implemented to achieve the goal of having a good enterprise social intranet.

Additionally, support and accessibility are important features to think about during the planning phase. If properly planned, an enterprise social intranet will add value to a company. Listed below are additional characteristics that will help to create a successful enterprise social intranet.

Navigation

  • The main navigation should appear consistently on each page.
  • Navigation should be intuitive and easy.

Design

  • Companies should have clean, engaging home page designs. Additionally, all home page designs should be aesthetically attractive to its users.
  • A combination of good and effective graphics should be part of the design plan.
  • Well-written text, a suitable text volume and links should be present on each page of the design.
  • There should be a good contrast between the text and the background of the design.
  • Wherever appropriate, add audio and video to the design.

Promotion

Finally, it’s important to promote the use of an enterprise social intranet. Once everyone knows how to operate it, employees will use the system to expedite your business effectively.
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References:
http://www.gagenmacdonald.com/downloads/3rd-Annual-Employee-Engagement-Research-Study.pdf
http://socialenterprisetoday.com/blog/posts/social-intranets-are-on-the-rise/
http://www.forbes.com/sites/fredcavazza/2011/11/30/from-social-intranets-to-collaboration-ecosystems/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intranet_portal#Main_features
http://socialmediatoday.com/prescient/441295/are-social-intranets-more-lovable
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