No intranet? Great!

Lately I’ve had a lot of discussions on the ways of getting awareness for social software in companies (large and small). As noted before this is no easy sell or an easy subject to begin with. Yet the needs are obvious, people are not satisfied with the existing ways of collaboration …

For the companies that are waking up to the importance of helping their people deal with all the information overload (for their productivity) and capture, generate and leverage knowledge some collected articles on knowledge work, enterprise 2.0 and infrastructure:

Here, e.g. Lars Plougmann holds that having no intranet is an opportunity. Yes, wikis are beginning to achieve main stream adoption, all in all embedded in a wider trend where social software of all kinds are getting adopted:

“Great opportunity. Don’t get a traditional intranet.”

The concept of an intranet is a great idea. Making all relevant content accessible to everybody in one place. But many companies’ intranets suffer [from too many design/implementation/usage/… faults]

Lars advises to leverage the new social tools and build an open intranet:

An open intranet is one where any user can create a new page and every page has a nice friendly Edit button on it. Anybody within the organisation who wants to update or add information is empowered to do so.

Interesting comments as well, like this one:

[…] how I would start an intranet [for a small knowledge-worker organization] if I was doing so from scratch (an enviable position to be in).

I recommended they use a wiki; with only 35 people in the potential community and no KM resources, a traditional intranet is unlikely to fly whereas they’ll be able to replicate the basics with a wiki quickly and cheaply; for their business purposes, where sharing and developing fast changing ideas is essential, a wiki will deliver 80% of what they need.


[…] I think we’ll see wikis complement intranets by providing a truly interactive segment to intranet sites […]

Another article I noted appeared in E-Commerce News, pointing out new as a service-offerings and some interesting cases of unconventional intranet design and implementation after laying out the case for more collaboration and user-centered implementation:

[…] intranets can be installed with a one-size-fits-all application, an industry-specific turnkey intranet application or delivered as a hosted offering similar to tradition ASP products.

[…] not all companies are eager to implement the new technologies that are redesigning the options available in traditional intranets.

[…] Some intranet products have a focus on wikis, he said. Another trend he has observed is a rush for companies to support what workers were asking for. Clearly, the most flexible intranets are those designed with Web 2.0 functionality in mind.

[…] “The whole thing behind the new intranet is expanding collaboration by opening it up to the entire company. […] The original idea for an intranet was to share knowledge in closed departments. People are now realizing a larger need to spread information within the company, he said. Technology today has made it easier for corporate executives to do this.

“We are now seeing a power shift in companies over how information is used. Historically, people in organizations couldn’t share ideas. Now, blogging within a company creates followers and inter-reactions”

IBM Lotus Connections Videos on YouTube

Via Luis Suarez two videos on Lotus Connections, and its relation with knowledge management. The second video is a bit fluffy and stylish … but this might be OK, as long as it helps to demonstrate the potential of social software in the enterprise and gets “some discussions going as to where they can prove their own business value to knowledge workers or not”.


In the meantime Luis has shared more information on the workings of IBM Lotus Connections, Lotus Quickr, Lotus Notes 8 Beta 2 and Lotus Notes 8 Demo (“A Whole Lot More than Just Another E-Mail Client”).

Wie sich Teamarbeit entwickelt

Ein Podcast (mp3) von SWR2 Wissen zur Arbeitswelt von Wissensarbeitern und der Bedeutung von Kommunikation. Die Perspektive und Argumentation hat aber Lücken: für immer mehr Teams ist die Architektur der “Bürolandschaften” nicht entscheidend – schließlich haben sie keine gemeinsamen Büros, ihre Zusammenarbeit wird virtuell über das Internet koordiniert. Die (infrastrukturelle) Unterstützung dieser verteilten Wissensarbeit durch Social Software wie Wikis oder interne Weblogs ist aber nur die Grundvoraussetzung, wichtig ist die “konstruktive Gesprächs- und Konfliktkultur im Team” schon:

[…] das Geheimnis erfolgreicher Teamarbeit liegt nicht nur im raschen Informationsfluss.
Eine kluge Zusammensetzung der Gruppe und persönlicher Kontakt sind entscheidende Faktoren für kreative Arbeit. Wissenschaftliche Studien belegen: Mitarbeiter schätzen kurze, aktuell anberaumte Treffen; und ein spontanes Palaver auf dem Flur ist manchmal produktiver als lange Konferenzen. Immer mehr Betriebe wollen jetzt auch durch die Architektur der Büros dafür sorgen, dass sich die Mitarbeiter selbstverständlicher begegnen. Und eine konstruktive Gesprächs- und Konfliktkultur im Team ist angesichts steigenden Arbeitsdrucks und längerer Lebensarbeitszeit wichtiger denn je.

Accenture gets into Intranet 2.0, another take

Some days ago I noted (much too short) Accenture’s efforts to introduce web 2.0 concepts into their corporate intranet, following a report from IT Business.

Now I’ve read Mike Gottas take on the news, where he basically welcomes the new addition to the “social software business case collection”, while pointing out that:

professional services has always been a pathfinder industry segment when it comes to early adoption of certain technology.


Connecting with other people in organizations that essentially “sell know how” is a perfect environment for introducing tools that help with information sharing, communication, collaboration and community-building (e.g., KM).

Yet he warns to see this case as a false positive, something I partially agree with, if only because it’s straight and normal business of IT consultancies to explore “the edges” and to prepare answers before clients ask.

But while exploring the edges of changing technologies is for sure no business any CIO engages in, they might ask Accenture (or other consultants, hint) for advice regarding this “enterprise 2.0”-thing they’ve heard about. So, I wonder whether this will turn out to be just another “case study” or the start of something bigger (like all the other consultancies marketing their very own efforts and experiences …).

Pursuit of busyness (and customized implementation)

Andrew McAfee on the adoption challenges of enterprise 2.0, when web2.0-style tools are seen as superfluous, must-not-have and an “unproductive thing to do”:

people who use the new tools heavily – who post frequently to an internal blog, edit the corporate wiki a lot, or trade heavily in the internal prediction market — will be perceived as not spending enough time on their ‘real’ jobs
In environments that value ‘busyness’ enterprise 2.0 enthusiasts can be seen as laggards, goof-offs, and people who don’t have either enough to do or enough initiative to find more real work to do.

This is not surprising, as we all know that this organizational pathology of “you’ve got to be busy” is both widespread and (ironically) utterly unproductive …

Yet, he makes perfectly clear that especially knowledge based organizations can profit from enterprise 2.0 oriented collaboration support, so when introduction is not easy, management guidance and leadership is are even more essential.

Companies that are full of knowledge workers and that have built cultures that value busyness face a potentially sharp dilemma when it comes to E2.0. These companies stand to benefit a great deal if they can build emergent platforms for collaboration, information sharing, and knowledge creation. But they may be in a particularly bad position to build such platforms not because potential contributors are too busy, but because they don’t want to be seen as not busy enough.

And even if the leaders in such companies sincerely want to exploit the new tools and harness the collective intelligence of their people, they might have a tough time convincing the workforce that busyness is no longer the ne plus ultra. Corporate cultures move slowly and with difficulty, and it will take a lot more than a few memos, speeches, and company retreats to convince people that it’s a smart career idea, rather than a poor one, to contribute regularly and earnestly to E2.0 platforms.

Besides, this illustrates that enterprise 2.0 tools and methods must be intertwined and knitted into daily work processes and routines to ease adoption – when they are added-on superficially, one runs into exactly the problems Andrew notes.

Update: Marcel de Ruiter adds his thoughts to the “no time” excuse that threatens to keep participation low, arguing that the benefits of social software for an individual knowledge-worker should be pointed out more. I second that and observed that similar issues have been part of failed past knowledge management efforts, mainly those that focussed on corporate (and down to group) uses, both in the design of knowledge management solutions and in the design of implementation and change projects (“we the company know what is needed”).

So, please, don’t let us make the same mistakes again, start bottom-up (and add top-down support as much as possible). This CEO and CIO support is essential, because strategic issues are touched and need to be sorted out. One example is that it’s mandatory for the acceptance of internal social networking, to facilitate the transfer and exchange of corporate social networks between different employers (you know, this is no longer a world of “IBM now, IBM forever”). While this is all about individual benefit trumping official corporate policy, it’s also deeply logical as value creation processes cross inter-organizational frontiers anyway all the time.

Accenture gets into Intranet 2.0

Via IT Business, an insight into Accenture’s efforts to introduce web 2.0 concepts into their corporate intranet:

[…] borrowing ideas from online services such as Facebook,, YouTube, Wikipedia and Second Life to remake Accenture’s employee intranet.

Just this month, Accenture went live with a new global employee network that looks much like Facebook, the popular web site on which mostly young people share pictures and information about their interests.

Accenture also has visual, context-assisted search capabilities already up and running. […] picked up on the idea of allowing every user to tag content as the web site does, thus creating a co-operative way of classifying material that benefits all users.

[…] And there will be wikis – co-operatively edited Web pages – to allow anyone in the company to publish material for internal use. “If you make it easy for your employees to publish information, they’ll publish information,”

[…] “The younger employees carry it,” he says – they will be the first to publish on wikis, to tag content and so on. Others will follow as they see the value, though Rippert adds that some of the new capabilities, such as improved search functions, will replace the old way of doing things and employees will have little choice about using them.

I wonder what other elements will be introduced next. Social bookmarking would seem to be a logical next step, or perhaps internal blogs?