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The Social Intranet: Bringing the Content to People

It is evident that over the last decade that intranets have dramatically changed and adapted, according to business requirements. The biggest development of intranet evolution is that it’s easier for anyone to upload content, which is great, but has resulted in the modern day intranet flooded with content.

Ten years ago, IT managers had sole responsibility for adding content to the intranet, limiting the frequency of content being added; if you had a busy IT team you can bet your intranet was not updated that often. Communication was top down — “management knows best.”

The Rise of the Intranet Champion

Over the past few years, the adding of content has become increasingly decentralized as "Intranet Champions" have been introduced in various departments in the workplace, such as marketing, finance and HR. Adding content became less of a technical nightmare.

As the "social" intranet continues to evolve, it is not uncommon to have hundreds, if not thousands, of people contributing to intranet content on a daily basis. Staff actively write blogs, comment on documents, "Like," "Share" and post status updates — which is fantastic, but has resulted in a huge volume of content on our intranets that is not always relevant to everybody.

Content Funnel.jpg

In a world where time is critical and even one extra click can deter users from continuing with a process, the demand for accurate and relevant content is crucial. It’s imperative that users find the information they are looking for on the intranet quickly and that what they do find is helping them to "get work done."

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know!

We are intelligent beings — we can filter out noise that takes place in the workplace and focus on content that is relevant. As you sit at your desk you hear conversations subconsciously and then focus in on the things you hear that are relevant to you. How many times have you heard someone mention something in your office that is relevant to a project you’re working on and has a direct effect on your work? That “I wish I’d have known that yesterday!” moment.

For example, there maybe three conversations taking place close to you. One, a general conversation about football results last night, another is a general discussion in the marketing department about new brand guidelines and another discussing how a product launch date is being changed. You have a meeting with a customer tomorrow to discuss the product launch, you now need to inform the customer of this change in date.

However, how do you do this when these conversations are happening in many different office locations around the world? Wouldn’t it be great if you had the ability to hone in on the conversations that matter to you, no matter where you are?

Think Beyond Personalization

“Personalization” of your intranet could help with this. For example, setting up your intranet homepage so that it is relevant for specific user groups depending on their job role, interests, etc. is a step in the right direction and might reduce the level of content noise but ultimately this personalization is likely to fail because to personalize, you have to constantly make manual changes to keep things relevant. It’s another ongoing project that people have to keep up to date.

The reality is, in a large organization there are just too many people who have different needs:

  • Different job roles
  • Different skills
  • Different ways of accessing the intranet
  • Different interests
  • Different knowledge gaps
  • Different languages

These needs can’t be controlled with personalization! Who has the time to constantly update their preferences? How many people can honestly say they personalize their Google homepage? And if you do — how often do you update it to reflect your current interests and circumstances?

Wouldn’t it be better if an intranet understood what you were interested in and automatically delivered this content to you? Just like Google intelligently gives you content it knows is most relevant to you, rather than relying on you to update your preferences — which let’s face it, will never happen!

For a modern day intranet to become essential to an organization’s success and to help staff get work done, it must be able to look at your connections, interactions, intranet behaviour and profile data and from this information, construct a Profile DNA that is unique to each intranet user.

 

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