Intranets have for many years been a place where companies disseminate information to employees in a top down, static way. As workers become more remotely distributed, the need for online collaboration tools is butting up against the concept of the traditional intranet. Combining the two is a hot trend in the social business world.
Enterprise Social Networks, Corporate Intranets
How can the enterprise social network and the corporate Intranet co-exist? Microsoft SharePoint customers are asking themselves this question as the Yammer activity feed is incorporated into the SharePoint Online world.
CMSWire held a recent webinar on the prominence and importance of this issue in the enterprise, and we heard from experts like Andrew Dixon, senior vice president at Igloo Software, and Kelly Adams, director of brand and marketing communications at NII Holdings, better known as Nextel.
Adams was in charge of spearheading a five-country roll-out of Igloo's social business tools for Nextel, and she had some tips on how to choose and deploy such a large software initiative. Like many companies, Nextel had separate portals for workers in each of the five countries, including the US, Mexico and Brazil. Workers in those countries were using different systems and different languages, and the company wanted to unite them all in one place.
Nextel looked at SharePoint and Jive for this collaboration system, and ultimately chose Igloo because it was cheaper and more customizable, Adams said. It combines the social functionality of an activity stream with the structured document focused capabilities of a traditional Intranet, Dixon said.
Nextel heavily customized its Intranet, and workers across 5 countries see the same branded pages in their own languages.
Information Architecture Plus the Activity Feed
What social business tools like Igloo and various other SharePoint disruptors are attempting to do is marry what intranets have traditionally been good at with the social networking aspects of a constantly updating activity feed.
Of course, that is exactly what SharePoint is doing with the Yammer integration. However, SharePoint is a complicated system, so the integration is slow going and it won't even take effect for on premise systems. As Dixon noted, this isn't a knock on SharePoint. It's extremely popular because of how powerful it is, and he would know as an ex Microsoft employee.
The fact is, however, that most of Igloo's customers consider its products because they have tried SharePoint and are looking to switch to something more lightweight that doesn't have as many IT requirements.
Check out the full webinar below to learn more about modern social business tools and see one enterprise's take on what it took to get theirs up and running. Let us know in the comments if your company is using something like Igloo or SharePoint and what its strengths and weaknesses are.
Title image by Luba V Nel (Shutterstock).
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