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Intranets News & Analysis

Sunny Days: Hyatt Credits OpenText Cloud for 'World Class' Intranet

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Mike Cohen remembers the early days of the Hyatt Hotels "internal portal" about 10 years ago.

Sometimes he tries to forget them.

The hotel chain's director of communications systems recalled a small internal portal that grew into a company-wide collection of HTML pages.

And you needed to work with an IT administrator to produce content.

"It lacked the ability to search for information and didn't give people the ability to share content or collaborate with other individuals," Cohen said during a CMSWire webinar last week.

So, Hyatt went to work.

The result? A better intranet at the Chicago-based hotel chain — and a 500 percent increase in intranet use among its 75,000-employees over the last five years.

The improved intranet today is powered by Waterloo, Ontario-based provider OpenText's cloud infrastructure. Hyatt partnered with OpenText a couple years ago because of its upgrade help, licensing model, content management experience and 24/7 support Hyatt needed as intranet use increased.

Why Choose? Mix and Match Tools to Fit Your Digital Workplace Needs

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Traditional intranets, dominated by top-down corporate communications, are seen as outdated, no longer fit for modern, networked organizations. ESNs, so their champions say, are the way of the future -- enabling conversation in a way that’s flexible and responsive, aligned with modern ways of doing business. 

But what the debate should really boil down to is what does it take to create a productive digital workplace?

Simplicity Must Be the Mantra of the Digital Workplace

Employees are reaching a breaking point. They are exhausted and overwhelmed, alienated and disengaged. They are cynical and distrustful. 

What's the Sweet Spot Between Intranets and ESNs?

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A speaker at a recent intranet conference declared “Intranets will be dead within five years.” He waited for the horrified gasp, but none came.

In fact the seasoned audience seemed to agree, at least in the sense that we were all trying to push intranets on from the top-down, publishing paradigm of old. Enterprise social networks (ESNs) have sometimes been positioned as being ideologically at odds with intranets, but in practice most organizations have embraced both (see, for example Jane McConnell’s annual survey).

The more pragmatic question then, is what is the right balance point? 

Beware Red Herrings: Intranet vs. ESN is a Sham

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Should I replace my intranet with an Enterprise Social Network?

Internal communications departments have debated this question, as have ESN teams and intranet teams. Maybe they saw higher adoption and engagement on their ESN platform, or read success stories from their peers. Or maybe their tired intranet publishing platform is in desperate need of replacing.

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

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When the Internet came along, optimism was at an all-time high. We thought we would solve all the problems of the world, possibilities were endless.

And granted, we solved many. We work much better today because of the innovations of the last 20 years. The scope of these improvements has been massive. However, one major problem still looms -- collaboration in the workplace. Seems like a no-brainer doesn't it? Everyone is connected, so it should be easy to work in unison, splitting tasks and having every specialist do their own thing.

"Should" is the keyword here.

Forget Intranets, Give Me an ESN

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We heard it all a decade ago: Intranets are the wave of the future. Intranets are a waste of resources. Intranets are valuable tools. Intranets need to be social. Intranets are dead.

The only thing that's true is that Intranets need to solve an actual problem. Many organizations wanted an Intranet to replicate a little of the Internet inside their organization. Very few asked why they needed one.

Endangered Species: The Corporate Intranet

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The very idea that we’re still doing old-fashioned, browser-based, news-publishing intranets in the mobile era is downright antiquated. They’re no different than rotary-dial phones. And they’re going the same direction as your old olive-drab rotary phone did -- and as a result of the same technologies.

The question facing intranets should be how internal collaboration and communication tools are going to evolve in the world of social, cloud and mobile -- and whether there’s any place left for the traditional intranet down the line. We shouldn’t be asking if enterprise social will replace the intranet, but rather how long the whole idea of a browser-based intranet portal really has left in the face of mobile apps and form factors (of which social is only one example).

You may not like the message. You may care a great deal for your intranet. You may be tied to it for professional, emotional or financial reasons. You may not see how your company could live without it. And I get it. Believe it or not, I envision, plan and build intranets in my day job. I’m close to this patient. But I know where it’s going.

Intranets or ESN? Why Not Both

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Do we have to choose between intranets and enterprise social networks (ESNs)?  Before we can tackle that question, let's take a brief look at Intranets and ESNs as they are being used today.

When Your Intranet and Enterprise Social Network Get Married

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Pop the champagne and get ready to celebrate: your Intranet and Enterprise Social Network are getting married!

As we prepare to toast this joyous integration, remember that the Intranet and the ESN are strong, independent entities with many individual merits. As in any marriage, each partner must remain unique with its own purpose. By tying the knot, however, the Intranet and the ESN will complement each other’s strengths (and minimize their weaknesses), improving the overall employee communication experience.

Are ESNs Just Intranets In New Clothing?

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The term "intranet" has been around for a relatively long time in technology-speak. And while it seems that every time an upstart comes on the scene people question the relevancy of the intranet, I've got something to tell you:

Intranets aren't going anywhere. 

Which Enterprise Social Network is Right for Your Intranet?

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Some managers may still view them with suspicion, but Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs) are an increasingly common part of the modern workplace, and in cases, replacing intranets. The emergence of consumerized IT has lead employees to expect user-friendly systems that offer the UX and functionality they can find on the Web. A number of ESNs have stepped up to try and meet these needs.

For those thinking about investing in an ESN for the first time -- or who are fed up with their current one -- there’s a range of platforms to choose from. However, picking the right ESN for your organization is far from easy.

Different platforms cater for the needs of different kinds of businesses. The ESN appropriate for an international corporation will be very different to that required by a small company of 30 employees. Considering the scale this kind of investment can represent, choosing the right ESN for your company is therefore a serious responsibility.

Where Intranets and Enterprise Social Networks Fit in Your Business

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Replacing an intranet with an Enterprise Social Network (ESN) might strike some as a strange choice. The chaotic information management environment of an ESN represents the complete opposite of a thoughtfully designed intranet. Some question the value an ESN provides against the clear bottom-line benefits of a well run intranet.

To understand where the two fit, you must first understand the value that both provide.

The New Age of Intranets: Publishing and Content

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The evolution of intranets is happening even as you read this. Last month we took a look at the role planning and corporate communications play in this New Age of Intranets. Today we'll tackle content.

One of the great hassles with intranets is managing and updating content. It can kill what is an otherwise successful intranet. During the planning phase, clients will propose dozens of great ideas of what types of content to be shared. The hard part comes in with obtaining that content -- creating it, approving it, getting it posted -- on a regular basis.

Publishing is critical to the ongoing success of an intranet. When employees consistently see good, valuable and recent content, your site becomes sticky and you will achieve a better return on your intranet investment. Let's take a look at what this requires.

The Problem with IT and the Digital Workplace

Technology is what drives the digital workplace and yet for many business executives, the IT department is being seen as less and less relevant.

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