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Can Your Social Platform Be Your Intranet?

I made the point back in July that good old fashioned intranet content publishing was not dead, and that enterprise social collaboration platforms really weren't very good for one to many publishing. A separate web publishing platform would probably still be needed — use the right tool for the right job. As a result of that article, Jive Software asked to have a chat about my theory, to refresh my knowledge of its platform and demo some of the latest features. I always jump at the chance to be proven wrong, and so have had some interesting conversations with Adam Mertz, senior director of product marketing at Jive.

It's All About the Users

Mertz opened our conversation by stating that Jive has always striven to be user focused. Putting the user experience first and foremost has made Jive a successful company with high take up and good user adoption of its platform. "People Centric" collaboration, as opposed to what I often refer to as content centric collaboration (e.g., in SharePoint) is a philosophical cornerstone for Jive.

This approach puts people at the center and then links out, in a hub and spoke model if you like, to connect to other applications or platforms. Sound familiar? Does this sound a little like one potential description of an enterprise portal? Mertz hopes it resonates with you, as Jive did a considerable amount of market research with "old school" companies, at least one of which was still printing a paper newsletter as a communications vehicle!

Below is a screen grab from Jive's website. Notice the marketing message — Jive could be your next generation, modern, mobile Portal! Jive is undoubtably serious about the corporate communications use cases as well as other intranet scenarios.

2014-29-Aug-Cawthorne-JiveSite

Mertz noted that you could always publish information to pages in Jive, but when it realized that despite its and other's best efforts, the old fashioned intranet was never going away completely, it made the effort to fit into these older models to provide an action oriented, outcomes focused intranet. Building on existing strengths with the mobile interface, Jive can provide an HTML 5 based responsive design to provide you with a mobile accessible intranet.

Building Content Publishing Pages

Jive includes Groups (this is after all, a collaboration platform at heart) which have always allowed the creation of pages to which you could publish content. The summer release introduced an emphasis on "tiles" — areas on a page which can be used to publish information and content. With these you can in effect build "landing pages" to drive users to other content. Options include pre-built tiles or expandable tiles with multiple sections, each of which is a home to different content. Power users with the ability to create Groups can select from over 30 templates, or easily set up their own. This might not be as flexible as a full WCM, but it's a lot easier and should be flexible enough for many scenarios.

2014-29-Aug-Cawthorne-JiveTiles

Personalized Intranet Experience

Also new in the summer release is the ability to create a personalized dashboard, a highly personal view of the information you need to have at your fingertips, called Your View. A simple drag and drop user interface allows your users to mold this productivity enhancing interface to your intranet content. Of course being people centric, Jive has always offered great features for expertise search and enterprise social networking.

Within the bigger digital workplace view, Jive offers integrations with MS Office productivity apps, SharePoint and even Outlook. I have a new viewpoint on "Outlook as the portal" as the lawyers I work with invariably see Outlook this way — as their daily digital hub — so integration of a social intranet/social collaboration platform is a big deal for law firms and legal departments if not others.

Jive also has pretty good analytics built in as a standard feature, a key element for either intranet portal or social collaboration use cases, as we all need to be able to measure the utility of our content and interactions.

Can Your Social Platform be Your Intranet?

Mertz convinced me that for many organizations, you could indeed build your "good old fashioned™" content publishing intranet on the underpinnings provided by your social collaboration platform, or at least in the case of Jive. For many organizations of varying shapes and sizes, Jive's ability to provide a portal, landing pages and content pages, and handle user generated rich content including video means it would absolutely be good enough. The ability to integrate other applications into that portal and to provide a mobile interface might be icing on the cake for some, but fundamental elements for others.

At this point I will (of course) reiterate my usual caveat — there is no one single tool or platform that meets every conceivable requirement or use case — but yes, Jive could indeed be your social intranet.

About the Author

Jed Cawthorne is director of business technology strategy and KM in the Legal, Corporate and Compliance Group of one of North America's top ten banks. He is responsible for Intranet, Document Management, collaboration and various other systems and technologies for his division. Jed has worked in ECM, KM and intranets since 2004.

 
 
 
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