E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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Intranets as a News Channel – About to Enter the Next Wave of Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration

A couple of days ago James Robertson,  managing director from Step Two Designs Pty Ltd and author of Column Two, actually shared an interesting e-mail over at the actKM Forum around the subject of Intranets and how they are actually changing the way knowledge workers get to access information, share knowledge and collaborate with one another and I must say that e-mail actually contained a couple of different entries that actually reminded me of the couple of weblog posts that I shared not so long ago about Intranet trends to watch out for in 2006. Like, for instance, the article Intranets as a news channel where James comes to indicate through an extensive commentary how to get the most out of your own Intranet without still having the impression that it is far too static or, on the contrary, with far too much content to digest on a daily basis. It looks like the key is in finding a good balance between the two. Yes, I know, something we all know already.

I remember the time though when not long ago within an organisation it was actually much more important to get information from colleagues than directly from the company’s Intranet. So much so that when polling those knowledge workers the number one source of information was one’s own colleagues and further down the line was the company’s Intranet. However, a couple of years later things have changed so much that not only Intranets have become one of the main resources that knowledge workers check out on a daily basis when searching for information, but also at the same time we are witnessing how more and more of those same Intranets are actually making their first entrance into the social software space, i.e. the Web 2.0 movement by encouraging employees to generate all that content and share it with others without having to worry about restrictions, access control, editors, etc. etc. and always being in control of the situation to some extent.

However, in Intranets as a news channel James comes to discuss how having a good Intranet is always going to get off to a good start by looking into how it could be embedded into the day to day working routine from knowledge workers by providing the right level of news, the right capabilities and facilities to access information on demand, and, most importantly, how the end-users themselves can get the most out of it without having to worry too much about where it may be, what quality it may have or how easy it would be to reuse it. But if there is one thing that I found quite an interesting read as well is how James is slowly but steadily introducing the topic of how Intranets have been evolving into becoming a bit more social, i.e. a bit more related to social software, indeed. That is why through the article he actually gets to mention how for Intranets to succeed they would need to syndicate their content, reach out to end-users by using whatever other tools where they are in control and so forth. Yes, all of that in one single word: open up!

Something that we have seen is not the first time that has been mentioned elsewhere already and around this very same topic. Thus I guess that now that the consumer market has become so strong in this particular area of the social software space it may be the turning point for enterprises and whatever other businesses to embrace it and make the best out of it. And one of the first tools to be affected by this adoption is the company’s Intranet. After all, they would be benefiting their knowledge workers by making information and knowledge available to everyone at the same time that they help get the job done and without having to worry about other potential hurdles. Certainly a trend worth while following up further and see where we end up. Thus more to come on this subject later …

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