Intranets, portals and enterprise collaboration tools mean different things to different people, so our latest Tweet Jam focused on defining just what people mean when they discuss the modern intranet.
My Intranet is Better Than Your Portal
Whatever we call them, our panel agreed that our portals and intranets are all about finding information and helping employees get work done. We also heard a few peeps about mobile access, which should be a given, but is unfortunately not the case. That's especially true if we're talking about tools like Microsoft SharePoint that is notoriously mobile unfriendly.
Modern Tools Keep Workers in the Flow
If people have a hard time finding information in an intranet, they tend to not stick around. Adoption often tops the list as one of the biggest problems with intranets. It's hard to get people just to log in, let alone contribute to intranets. This question generated a lot of discussion during the session as people brought their complaints to the table. Stale content, non-intuitive interfaces and too much reliance on admins were popular choices for what's wrong with many Intranets.
Where is the Social Collaboration?
It turns out most intranets are really not that useful for actually being social. They tend to be repositories or where people can go to see company agendas. They tend to be a megaphone for broadcasting information only.
Why You No Like Intranets?
The question of what to do to make intranets more usable prompted some thoughtful responses, and we hope companies really are listening to what the users of these tools are saying. Make intranets relevant by aligning them to business objectives, test them to see what works and don't just see them as a project with a beginning and an end. They have to change with the times too.
Social Network versus Intranet
As with the portal or intranet label, there was some agreement on merging enterprise social networks with intranets, but not completely. There are some cases where a social network should be separate from an intranet, but as with so many technologies, it can come down to definitions.
Glimpse of the Future
From what our experts tweeted, 2014 won't look too much different from 2013. Mobility issues will likely continue, as will usability.