The 4 Dimensional Intranet: Avoiding the Dog & Bone Syndrome
By Dominic Clayden, Head of Productivity Sales, Pythagoras.
Conventional intranets are going through a very exciting time, transforming and expanding their remit to become probably the most important business productivity solution in an IT estate.
Pythagoras recently carried out some analysis and discovered that we have deployed over 300 intranet solutions, whilst this was revealing and impressive, this was by no means the most startling fact unearthed. What is much more interesting is how much the concept of what makes up an intranet varies from project to project.
Our research shows that sponsors, objectives and value proposition are strikingly different but also quite markedly alike, it’s all a matter of perspective and organisational priorities. Value realisation however is a black and white affair, investment in intranets is increasingly though becoming a really good key indicator of an organisation’s maturity, information health and overall productiveness.
With the UK lagging behind our EU counterparts by as much as 20% in terms of productivity per employee, and Brexit looming on the horizon we can no longer be complacent about working practices; we need to innovate and fast!!
So what are the dimensions of an intranet? Let’s break it down by features and see what insights this provides –
There are the popular standard publishing and broadcast features that we see time and time again such as news, events and CEO blogs. This is a 1 dimensional intranet and is the common starting point for organisations looking to simply tick the box.
The useful features such as people finder, quick links and policy / HR lookup services also crop up with a fair degree of frequency; this is a 2 dimensional intranet and is by far the most common type of solution Pythagoras are asked to deploy.
After this, things split between two clearly demarcated camps of Intranet; the 3 dimensional intranet and the 4 dimensional intranet, let us explain …
A 3 dimensional intranet is where enablement starts to seep in and really make a difference; this normally sees the addition of a social layer and some basic collaboration features (team/work sites) to bring users together and share information more efficiently. Without a proper interpretation layer, this approach whilst commendable for its intentions, still suffers from dog and bone syndrome. To clarify: When a dog gets a bone he/she will play with it for a bit and then invariably bury it somewhere in the garden for some future liaison; this can be likened to a new starter creating a proposal and storing it on a file share or in a collaboration site. That bone now becomes lost to all but the dog who buried it. Undoubtedly the owner will assume the bone has been lost and so will provide his/her dog with another, and so the story continues with dogs, owners and bones blissfully unaware of each other’s existences.
The extent of bones in the garden is never truly known or even considered until the whole garden is dug up; again this is similar to what happens when content migration projects occur and the sheer scope of the data (bone) duplication/wastage becomes apparent in pre-migration housekeeping.
So what is important is to avoid duplication and the needless recreation of content; provide one clearly signposted version of the truth -one bone with a clear marker on the lawn if you will.
A 4 dimensional intranet is all about enabling pertinent discovery and contextual search, uniting users with the information they need by making it easy to find, shortcutting knowledge transfer through self-service and maximising productivity by focussing effort only on creating new and enhanced content.
At Pythagoras we firmly believe that any organisation striving to leverage Microsoft business productivity technologies (Dynamics CRM/Office 365/SharePoint/Yammer) should look to the 4 dimensional intranet to unite and empower their users.
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