What are you looking for, I ask? “We want to replace our intranet. It must be primarily a more interactive or engaging social intranet. The user adoption of the current intranet is disappointing, and customization is quite expensive,” says the CIO of a medium-sized organization. And no more than six weeks later, the next request for a new intranet is on the way to another intranet supplier.
For me a recurring ritual that I experience for almost ten years now; directly or indirectly. And it amazes me every time.
According to Google trends, I shouldn’t be surprised. People are searching more on the term intranet than CRM for example. The intranet market is still an enormous market – although the ‘intranet’ itself is more than 30 years old (and we are not talking about wine here, but innovation).
How come? To answer this question, I think the quote of Henry Ford says explains it best: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” In a way, it’s the same with the intranet. People think they want a faster intranet, but this is not likely. Everybody wants a hybrid horse; it’s called a Tesla. Let me explain.
Social intranet: A faster horse?
The term social intranet saw the light somewhere in 2007 – Collaboration, chat, wikis, blogs and all through an intranet. And we thought in 2009; this is it. So we bought the domain www.socialintranet.nl for less than a couple euro. It felt like a genius move. It would change everything for us (our servers would tremble on their foundations). The reality was quite the opposite. A social intranet is interesting, but not a breakthrough. We call this a faster horse.
SharePoint: More horsepower?
Ever heard of SharePoint or Office 365. Yes, you did, because you belong to the 50% of companies that have built an intranet on SharePoint or Office 365. Although everything is possible with the technology as mentioned earlier, it’s just a horse with more power. Or to be very direct; Ouch, now you have two fast horses while you could have bought.
The hybrid solution: Tesla
Quite some years later, a new star on the horizon appears; The digital work environment or digital workplace. The promise to intertwine all forms of communication, processes, and collaboration together into one platform. Is this solution the successor of the intranet? Yes, but with we have to be careful here. The intranet as a name is a brand. It’s like the Walkman, Aspirin and the phone. We all ask for more of the same, but we need something different. In that way, the intranet is iconic.
There is a difference between the definition of the intranet and the perception of the intranet. Most companies already have an intranet and are searching for a replacement. It doesn’t mean that they are actually searching for an intranet.
To start with an intranet is still a good stepping stone from a user adoption perspective. However, it is the starting point and not the endpoint. Choose a solution that guarantees the long-term and yet also fulfills the question that plays today. Try Beezy if you really want to make a difference and check the Beezy video.