I think he’s right to ask for innovation in the right places – tweaking and optimizing overcome work processes won’t help. And yes, corporate intranets are more important than most CxOs realize:
Intranets are – where they work well – environments that service a variety of working practices and activities, attract participation, and foster coordination and collaboration across the enterprise.
Since work focus, work patterns, coordination needs and organisation structure change on an increasingly frequent basis, big, highly integrated homogeneous environments are just not adaptive or nimble enough. Intranets are increasingly becoming more flexible, evolving environments, becoming much more like an interdependent ecology of open applications talking to each other – whether they be workflow applications, calendaring, web content publishing, document management, blogs, wikis, media libraries, podcasting, staff directories, you name it. Some areas of the intranet will be quite stable and structured, some will be much more experimental, some will provide current awareness and content marketing on a daily basis.
Still, I wonder why effective collaboration with partners outside the corporation (and thus outside the “intranet”) is seemingly no issue. This does not feel right, when we know that distributed work processes (in virtual networks, business ecosystems, extended value nets etc.) become yet more important. For me, “tuning” and supplementing internal oriented intranets with more outward-oriented (corporate) social software like wikis is a smart move, that should be pondered in intranet innovation projects …