by January 17th, 2013on
I’ve been seeing a lot of interest in the concept of a Social Intranet lately. The intranet is your company’s internal content network. In many cases, it is nothing more than a series of links to other systems. In more sophisticated intranets, companies publish corporate news and announcements, departments have their own pages to share information, and people can perform work-tasks in one place.
In the past, companies have asked about adding social capabilities to existing intranet systems. This might include adding a blog or a wiki. But now, more and more companies are interested in replacing their old intranet with a new “Social Intranet”. In this multi-part blog post, I’m going to explain what technologies are involved in a social intranet and then look at how the major vendors are addressing this need.
There are lots of articles on the internet about the human social aspects of the intranet – how to get people to use it, what policies you need in place, etc. I am not going to talk about those parts of the social intranet. Instead I’m going to focus on the specific technologies used to build a social intranet. So lets start with defining what types of technologies are needed in a social intranet.
In the picture to the right, you can see the various technologies involved in a typical social intranet. Not every social intranet is going to require all these different technologies, but most of them will be required. Lets start at the top of the circle and go clockwise to see how each technology contributes to a social intranet.
Portal is typically a unifying technology in the intranet. This is the tool that can display all sorts of information to the user in a secure and personalized way. If you have a need to display corporate news alongside a blog or with a user’s activity stream, a portal is a good technology to use.
Content / document management is the system used to manage and publish formal content to the intranet. By formal content, I mean content that must be controlled by selected groups within the company. For example, corporate news is a type of content that typically is published by very few people. Company policy documents are another type of formal content that appears on the intranet. A content management system allows you to control publishing and formatting of these types of content.