Despite the hype around the social intranet, mobile access and enterprise collaboration, according to the latest data from the Worldwide Intranet Challenge (WIC), intranets aren't any more collaborative, interactive or mobile than they were three or four years ago.
The graphs below show:
- The average ratings for the WIC survey questions related to collaboration and access for the last four years (Note: data is based on the following number of organizations for each year: 2009 = 30, 2010 = 17, 2011 = 39, 2012 = 50, 2013 = 4).
- The average rating of the first 70 surveys (25 May 2009 to 20 September 2011) and the average rating of the second 70 surveys (25 September 2011 to 11 February 2013)
The graphs below show the average response to the question "How often do you use the intranet to" where the possible options and allocated points are:
- More than once a day = 4
- 2-3 times a week = 3
- 2-3 times a month = 2
- Infrequently = 1
- Never = 0
As can be seen from the above graphs, the numbers indicate a pretty low level of intranet interaction within organizations, with most numbers landing between "Infrequently" and "Never" (with the exception of online forms).
The graphs below show the average response to the question "Rate the following statement about the performance of the intranet" where the possible options and points are:
- Agree = 2
- Not sure = 1
- Disagree = 0
Why the Lack of Gains?
There is no clear reason why online communication, collaboration and interactivity hasn't gained the same traction within the enterprise as it has in the mainstream. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media tools are signing up members at rapid rates. We've all seen the graphs showing that if Facebook was a country it would be bigger than India, China and Indonesia combined.
Some possible theories for this lack of uptake include:
- Social tools are primarily "social" — for sharing photos, playing games, gossiping, meeting people — ork is work. Just because people spend hours on Facebook is no guarantee that they will be similarly engaged during work.
- Senior Management is old school — many people feel a little guilty responding to discussion forums, posting questions and "chatting" via electronic channels. What will the boss think? Much better to organize a real meeting so that everyone can see I am working.
- Senior management don't set the example — nothing sends a more powerful message than senior staff not actively participating in this new world.
- Business value not clear — many of the arguments supporting the increased use of social media type tools at work are a little ephemeral. Improving employee engagement, encouraging better communication and collaboration, share knowledge — the value of these is a little hard to prove.
- Asking for help or wanting to collaborate can be seen as a sign of weakness in the workplace — "why doesn't Bob know the answer to that question — he must be stupid!"
- People don't want to share their knowledge — "knowledge is power" as the saying goes — some people do not want to give up this power!
A recent Deloitte report titled, Social Software for Business Performance, says that focusing on adoption metrics, rather than real performance improvements was also part of the problem. The report says,