Friday, December 11, 2009

Towards the Workplace Web - Review Global Intranet Trends for 2010

cover2010 It must take Jane McConnell a lot of time to write her yearly Global Intranet Trends report. 300 organizations participated in her Intranet survey this year! At least it took me a lot of time to read the report! But it was well worth my time again. And I'm sure it's worth your time (and money) as well.

I'd like to share with you what I learned from this report. Hopefully it will trigger you to read the report as well. I'd also like to share why I take time to read this report. Let's start there.

Intranet and the state of the intranet may seem to be boring and 'old skool'. 'Social media in the enterprise', that's what we want to read about and discuss. Well, this report is basically about all the web applications in organizations and how they are connected, used, valued, developed, etc. I find that very interesting. But what I find even more interesting is that the intranet says a lot about and contributes to the way we communicate in the organization and share information. Jane's yearly report marks the progress on this topic. And, concluding from this report, most companies still have a long way to go.

So that's one of the ways I use the report. As a mirror to see yourself and the corporate web initiatives (Jane calls it the "Workplace web"). How far are we compared to the other participants?

Another reason I read it is to get good ideas from other participants. I'm triggered most by the things that don't seem to work for most companies. I'd like to know more, but usually the report doesn't go into those details. And that's understandable - I'd have even more to read.

And a final reason is to measure the state of enterprise 2.0 adoption. (I think Jane's report would be read by much more people if it had the words 'enterprise 2.0' and 'adoption' in the (sub)title somewhere... ;-))

Now what did I learn from this report? Here are some highlights. (Find Jane's own highlights here.)

  1. I said: We still have a long way to go. This is underlined by the fact that only 15% of the participants have a "unified workplace web". 55% have "hybrid workplaces" and 30% have a fragmented intranet landscape.
  2. 40% of the organizations have the Communications department as the owner of the Intranet. Human Resources is still surprisingly not present in Intranet steering groups.
  3. Senior management is slowly finding the intranet more important (+10%).
  4. "Out-of-date and missing information" is a big problem in 20% of the organizations.
  5. Related to the previous point, the survey says the 'read-write-intranet' is still far away for most companies. Only 20% of the organization allow commenting on official content. 30% are experimenting with social networking tools. And 10% have personal pages. About 25% of the organizations have implemented some from of social media. Interestingly "the difficulty of finding information" is rated 10% higher than by organization who have not yet experimented with social media ("more silos", p. 76). It would be interesting to hear more from the participants about the search engines they use and their configuration (p. 40). Only 50% have a search strategy... (p. 41)
  6. The mobile intranet is being planned by 25% of the participants.
  7. Jane defines the "real-time intranet" by pointing to "technologies such as presence indicators, instant messaging and web conferencing". Later on she also points to microblogging. To be a bit picky about definitions... I'd would call the 'real-time intranet' all internal synchronous web communication (p. 51). In my opinion, blogs for instance wouldn't fit in this definition. By the way, only Twitter and Yammer are referred to when asked about microblogging (p. 90 footnote).
  8. An interesting trend reshaping the intranet is the "place-independent intranet". It would be interesting to see if the geo trend on the Web (location-based services) will also influence the intranet. I tried to find numbers for the trend to move the intranet to the extranet, but could not find them. I see many companies moving their intranet to the extranet (a.o. to collaborate with external parts and to support tele-commuting). I'm curious if Jane has data to support this. And it would be interesting to know how companies are doing this (via VPN, tokens, DMZ, ...).
  9. How mature is your intranet (organization)? This is an interesting part of the report. What I was wondering is what the % of organizations is in every stage?
  10. There's an interesting figure on p. 22 with a strong statement: intranets are not very "people-focused". Most intranets do have a who-is-who tool (which is not updated frequently... (p. 59), but that doesn't make it people-focused. And "team spaces" are usually outside the intranet. (p. 48) This is where people do the work... I think this is one of the core problems of intranets. If you don't connect the intranet to employees' daily work, the intranet will be 'yet another tool'. This is also a key to getting senior management on board. Intranet teams could start out by asking: Why would someone from senior management want to go to the intranet 3 times a day? If you find the answer to that question I'm sure you'll have senior management buy-in.
  11. Prediction markets is still a hidden gem. Used by almost none of the participants.

One last question for Jane. You use origami figures as visuals in your report. I tried to find a reason to relate origami with intranet, but I couldn't. Is there a reason you chose to use these visuals? Just curious. ;-)

Thanks for this report Jane and all the work you put into it! I hope many will read and process this report and share what they're doing with it on their blogs.

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