Sunday, February 27, 2011

3 Important features of Intranets

I believe Intranet is one of the most neglected amongst any of the corporate initiatives. Have attempted to explain the role of intranets and what is its current state in my previous blog. As much as there many stumbling blogs to build a usable intranet, there are even more steep challenges in getting the users to adopt it. Not that it is not possible...
New Age Intranets

All great challenges can be addressed with a simple perspective change. Typical intranet is top down and  focuses on processes, work flow, monitor & control while the new age work force is living in web 2.0 era in which monitor and control style of leadership are archaic and might not cut ice... what works is creating opportunities for the individual to co-exist, collaborate and achieve individual success which in-turn adds up to organization success.So, move away from monitor and control to a new new route called empowering individual employee. How can this be achieved?

3 Features to Empower employees:
  • Personal workspace: New age work force are high on self expression thanks to the exponential growth of social networks. Each user would like to create a personal workspace in their intranets,. This includes sharing of photos, creating personal themes, discuss topics of interest both personal and professional.It is more an opportunity for personal branding. The conventional intranets are mundane and boring. The this feature for personalization brings in a new lease of life in intranets.
  • Documents with voice and Context: If the new age user has to use the intranet, it has be beyond document storage  and knowledge management. Typically knowledge management approach have always been from an organizations perspective. But if an employee has to gain , he should be able to access documents created in the past for his gains,be it for specific activities or strategy. More important, get to understand the context and opinion of the creator of what went right and what didn't...This will then be useful to the user than going through a boring ppt or word doc without a voice and context
  • What makes me successful?  Usual organization processes are laid down to monitor and control. But with generation Y employees if a manager is able to connect by empowering the employee there is a better chance for individual to succeed. Imagine on Day 1 of joining, your boss gave you a prescription of  5 things that you need to do  in your job that will make you successful and what if he gave you access to all theses resources in the intranet. Such a progressive work culture is sure to breed success in any organization
3 simple steps is all it takes to ensure regular adoption and in-turn get the best out of your employees. Change your paradigm towards intranets and let's harness the power that it can yield!!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Corporate Intranets - Dilapidated State

Dilapidated walls of corporate Intranets
Its really fascinating and agonizing to listen to different definitions of Intranet. In many companies, corporate Intranet is one of the most neglected areas. At best it is related to some document storage and retrieval which will in turn be christened as "Knowledge Management portal". The biggest problem with this version of Knowledge Portals is that they act as Document Storage without a context and a voice i.e if one were to look at the document at certain point in time what they are sure to miss will be the context in which  the activity was performed and the human voice which covers the upsides and downsides of it.

In this dynamic world, typical top down marketing  will bound to be extinct as a concept sooner or later. The new world is pushing marketers to create a right ecosystem which involves customers, employees, vendors, partners and the company itself with a human voice. A place where people sing, dance, enjoy music , talk to each and do business. An ecosystem thus created will be the so called New Age Intranet. This intranet will help the members of the ecosystem to :

  • Co-exist
  • Communicate
  • Collaborative
  • Innovate
This is in essence is the basic purpose of the intranet.

Take for example, one member of the ecosystem- employees. Each employee has a Personal Voice . A Personal voice that has become more expressive,vociferous thanks to new age social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Yammer etc.. Each employee is looking for opportunities to communicate with the senior management of their company, collaborate cross functionally which inturn will improve agility, customer centricity  to name a few. If the organization is blind to this expectation of the new age force, then the employees are bound to get Intranets that will have document management, versioning capabilities, role based access and all other features to justify restricted access to information in a free world - Perfect Oxymoron. 
For sure, collaboration and innovation will just be buzz words in the power point presentations.

It is difficult to wake up a behemoth company to this radical change on new generation Intranets. The only thing that will make them realize the need for change will be shrinking top lines, brand value erosion. Nokia is an excellent example of a sleeping behemoth who is losing big time to competition.The latest email from the CEO suggest how the company has been blind to the changing trends in market and losing out to competition.

Build the ecosystem and collaborate,communicate enthusiastically. As the say" Success will follow you... Hands Down!!".