The goal of every Intranet project is to make an employee’s life easier. However, most projects fail to accomplish this. Technology now allows you to make work easier, fun and also get an insight into your company’s work stream. The big idea that is making this happen is the introduction of social tools it’s changing everything.
By social tools I mean tools such as employee walls, status updates, activity streams, employee connections, tags, the “like button”, employee interest etc. I should mention that all these tools have no connection to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn , Google+ (or any social networks), but these tools have been borrowed liberally from these popular networks. Enterprise software offerings, including Passageways, now embed these nifty tools on witnessing how fervently people embraced these tools.
Many companies are now making intranets more social to allow employees to share and discuss information that was previously locked away in impossible-to-find documents or deep in the minds of employees. At Passageways we have seen a complete transformation of our own employee portal in the last 12 months and that triggered this blog entry.
These simple tools should be part of your intranet strategy, and should allow you to convert your intranet from a boring time wasting application into a fun and discovery-full productivity engine. Here are 5 exciting changes you should consider for your intranet and just watch it take-off :
1. Facebook like Rich Profiles
Employee profiles need to have some personality. They should include employees’ expertise, interests and any other information that helps determine who can help you when you are stuck. Over time you will see who is working with whom, and what your team’s strengths, weaknesses and skills are. You will also see peer recognition happen automatically on employee walls.
Social Tools: employee walls, employee expertise field, employee interest field and the “like button” for comments on their walls, employee pictures
2. The Organizational Social Graph
An organizational social graph is a map of employee connections: who works with whom, when, how often and why. The social graph reveals an important, but normally hidden, “organization chart”—the informal employee network inside every company. Employees can use this graph to help new employees connect with the right people. You will also be able to see who the “expert” and “well liked” employees are within your organization.
Social Tools: ability to follow people, ability to see who reports to whom, expert fields
3. Strong Search Capabilities
With strong search capabilities, the social intranet is the go-to place to find people, experts, knowledge and other resources anywhere in the organization. Of course finding documents, procedures and forms will also be a big part of what they will go to the intranet for. But connecting with people and discovering someone for a certain project gives you the ‘aha moment’ you have been missing all along.
Social Tools: expert locators, tags, ability to follow, subscription to profile, product changes. All these combined with traditional search results
4. Comments and Activity History
By looking at the comments on announcements, activity streams, status updates and the conversations they spark, and products wikis you can see who spent time on which products and projects. These are the best indicators of what a particular employee is most passionate about. While this may be just fun on Facebook, it adds a whole different dimension to employee interaction within your firewall.
Social Tools: Activity streams, comments on announcements, status updates, Products and Services Wiki, subscriptions, change history on products info
5. Competitive Products and Vendor Info
Which sales person wants to be ignorant about competitive offerings, right? Your portal should not only have information about competitive products but also allow you to post comparisons for a quick reference by sales people. Publishing an announcement, inviting staff comments about competitors is an easy and effective way to gather information. Your intranet should also have a profile for each of your vendors and just providing staff with a “like button” tells you which vendors are truly liked by your team.
Social Tools: product comparisons, vendor profiles, like button, comments on announcements.
This is just the beginning of what will be a full cycle of including social tools in your intranet portals. In fact, Passageways is now offering all these social tools on EVERY portal we support globally. Passageways continues to selectively experiment with several others social tools including tag clouds, questions and answers, portal points in some of the portals we have pulled together recently especially our customer community – Communitree. We are excited to share the immense success of these newer tools and assure you that there is more fun to be had in the months to come. So ask any Pathfinder to get your portal to be social today.
To finally making software that makes you happy – Cheers!