Given the recent rise of online social media, it was only a matter of time before the “social” paradigm would start to influence enterprise intranet software. Many organizations have already worked features such as personal profiles and content sharing into their corporate communications. While it is possible to see this as a gimmick or a blatant attempt to capitalize on a market trend, social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn have large user bases for important, valid reasons; the ability to collaborate in highly personalized and emergent ways has value in the business world just as it does to private social media users.
The intersection of portals (the gateways of traditional intranets), team sites, and social sites is where the ideal benefits of social intranet are to be found. If execut ed correctly social intranet facilitates freedom, collaboration, discoverability, clear business context, and integration with company processes.
However, it is probably best to think of social intranet not so much as a replacement for the conventional approach but rather part of a gradual evolution. The reality of the business world’s adoption of social software is that it has augmented the capabilities of traditional solutions rather than making them obsolete entirely; legacy portals and content systems have adapted to integrate the new social features.
Indeed, a recent study from NetStrategyJMC has identified that there are five hurdles that social intranet must overcome in order to realize its potential:
- Lack of a sense of urgency for the transition.
- Lack of buy-in from senior management.
- Social solutions are not currently empowering employees enough.
- Digital environments are being fragmented rather than consolidated.
- Businesses are still concerned with management along organizational groups rather than operational groups.