Are we short changing social intranet implementations?
Presenting at the European Enterprise 2.0 Summit, Jane McConnell talked about five reasons why social intranets have not taken off and what to do about it based on data from her Digital Workplace Trends report:
One of the interesting points for me is the issue of 'Fragmented digital environments'. As Jane points out, the intranet is currently owned by corporate communications (although in that case, I'd debate that it also includes enterprise applications) - this intranet is intended to be authoritative and stable. Jane perceives this intranet to be separate from both the structured project collaboration and social collaboration systems that may also exist. (Of course, intranets weren't always like this.)
I've seen the full Digital Workplace Trends report and this fragmentation appears to be reflected in her Digital Workplace Trends data - adoption, usage and satisfaction of enterprise social networks is reported to be low.
Of course this data has to be considered in context:
- Are these same organisations already satisfied with their traditional intranet and structured project collaboration tools?
- How mature is the deployment of their structured project collaboration dimension? Many have none and are skipping straight to social platforms, but actually have no organisational experience in collaboration.
- Who is saying they haven't taken off (managers facing disruption?) and how have they measured this? Other research I've seen suggests that most organisations are unable to effectively measure the impact of social collaboration (for more on this, see my Enterprise Social Software Measurement Pyramid post on the Ripple Effect Group blog).
However, I think Jane's overall analysis stands:
- Burning platform - nothing will change unless there is an imperative at all levels (e.g. for management, they see that enterprise social software can play a role in being more competitive).
- Social experience design - we don't necessarily need fully integrated user interfaces or apps, but the user experience needs to be fit for each situation and different users.
- Organisational change - for the majority of organisations, viral adoption that has a productive outcome won't happen on its own.
Ultimately you get back what you put in. Perhaps the question should be, are we short changing social intranet implementations?