Thinking about schools, enterprises and intranets, I wanted to jot down here some things I've been reading in the last few days that make a lot of sense to me.
I am sure organisations will eventually be able to create, within their online spaces, the sort of interaction, collaboration and sharing that takes place in the "wild world" of the Internet. Until then, we just have to help them make the most of the tools they have (or get) and provide them ideas on how to, slowly, start rethinking their internal processes, culture and view of the world.
That is one of the reasons developing the system is just one of the steps in the work we do. Engagement is the other big one.
In addition to the tools, success is also about:
- concrete business use cases
- engagement & people support
- a connected infrastructure
This is why we focus primarily on use cases, and the mapping between a task and information analysis of these use cases and the behavioural characteristics of the tools, in order to find the right blend of social modes in each project we undertake. During the session, we announced that we are about to open source the use case library that we use internally to capture these examples, so hopefully this will help others get to grips with the many practical applications that currently exist for enterprise social tools.
Blogging 4 Business (via Lee's post and covering the same conference):
Got to applaud Bryant for saying all this technology is really all about the people at the end of the keyboard. "With social tools, you get immediate payback because you use lightweight tools to organise information in a way that means something to you." Example - social tagging (picking your own keywords to identify and structure the information you post, not having to adhere to a hierarchy picked by those know-nothings in the IT department).
Representative of BT asks if all this new stuff means "the end of internal communications" as we know it (and I feel fine). Paraphrasing Lee Bryant: "Every generation of technologists see themselves as Luke Skywalker zooming in to destroy the Evil Empire" - but it's more about "layers".
Mike Butcher asks how the existing knowledge in company intranets can be adapted to new wikis. Fitch says we'll all move to "using the web to create communities of collaboration" - from a situation where companies have relied on static intranets for the last eight years.
Bryant says out-of-date material will simply naturally "fade in to the background".
Perfect Path (again, same conference):
Q: MB: Lots of companies have huge intranets - should we just wipe them away?
DF: very familiar with this - there’s a huge wealth of material that’s useful but just couldn’t be found - so we did some work about improving search and findability but also looking at using lighter infrastructure to start again, which will involve some pain, people will have to go back and look at relevance for example, but that change is going to deliver the benefit that we’re moving towards creating communities and connecting people rather than just producing static content.
Q: GC: How do you deal with info that becomes out of date?
A:LB: different approaches - the most interesting is that in a mature implementation anything acquires its own context, tags etc so out of date stuff falls down as sediment in these systems. So then you need some sort of review system, but it’s more about letting more timely stuff come to the fore.
DF: it’s also so much easier to keep your stuff up to date, even for lawyers , so just using lighter tools helps a lot.
Many things link to/flow from all this, but there's a core here — about people, concrete use cases and change-through-engagement — that I wanted to highlight and remember.
And, to round off on the intranet theme, this from Read/WriteWeb:
Finally I mentioned intranets - and how ContentExchange will integrate or complement them. Mark [Suster, Koral founder/CEO and now in charge of Salesforce ContentExchange] quoted me a stat from Forrester that only 44% of people can find what they want on a corporate intranet, whereas 87% can find what they want on the Internet. So ContentExchange will help raise that 44% figure, says Mark.