Intranets. The bane of existence for so many CIOs I have spoken to. Constantly looking for a better solution for keeping their employees informed and engaged. Never quite getting it right, usually settling for ‘intranet-v2-slightly-prettier-and-oh-look-it’s-got-some-social-bits’.

I mean, really, when was the last time you used your company’s intranet site?  When was the last time you saw one that wasn’t just a tired repository of less-than-useful information published many months ago? When was the last time you used it to actually do some real work, find some genuinely useful information, or discover what was going on across your business? How many times have you been told ‘we should publish that on the intranet, but that means sending it to IT and they’re so busy they can’t publish it for three weeks’. And in the meantime – let’s just email it out.

Don’t get me wrong, we all need a place to find the telephone directory, read the expense guidelines, download that HR form, log the 15th ticket to ask for a new laptop, or see who to call about the blocked drain in the men’s bathroom. This is useful stuff.

Social Intranet

The arrival of social has changed everything. Or nothing, depending on how you look at it. Let’s enable everyone to blog! Let’s put up everyone’s cute profile pictures on the site! And how about some Twitter-like-feed? Yet, this ‘social intranet’ did not stop all the tumbleweed rolling in. 

But one has to justify their spend on a new, shiny toy. I’ve heard of a Fortune 500 professional services employees who recently got an email from their boss asking the whole team to post ‘something’ on their ‘enterprise social network’ every day. It would form part of their quarterly review, would you believe.

Is this the true end of the intranet? Or is it just that nothing in the store matches what people are queuing to buy? This elusive ‘private extension of the Internet, designed for internal communication and collaboration to enable people in a large organization to be more productive, cost efficient, timely and competitive’.

The future —collaborative intranet

What if you could start every day by logging into a Facebook-like dashboard that gives you access to all the tools and apps that you need to get your job done? Regardless of whether you’re in the office, on the road or up in the air. On your laptop, iPad or mobile. No VPN, no network, none of that nonsense.

The Google-like search bar allows you to search for any company-related information, document or a person.

And then there’s this gigantic, mobile, social, collaborative – for a lack of a better equivalent – shared drive.

A shared drive that stores all the content that anyone in the business can access and save new content to. Naturally, with some permission controls, set by you or your manager, not the IT department.

A shared drive that becomes the bank vault for all the key documents that are constantly being updated by the teams that own them, themselves. The single place that all documents (personal work and group work) get stored.

A shared drive that only shows you the stuff you need to see. The files and folders you should or need to have access to – a view across your personal content (that no-one else can see), your team’s content, and essential company content.

A shared drive that is intelligent. It automatically versions all of your documents so you only have the most recent and useful version visible, but can always roll back if a disaster strikes.

A shared drive that whispers ‘Hey, a similar document to the one you’re about to spend hours writing already exists. You’ve just saved yourself half a day. Go and have a coffee and work on something else’.

A shared drive that just knows what documents to sync onto your mobile device automatically, so you can use them when you’re offline.

A shared drive that is collaborative. Not just a place to store files, but where conversations happen, alongside each document. After all they are often fare more useful than the original files themselves.

A shared drive that plays nicely with every other piece of software in the house. Where your payroll system – the only system, let’s face it, that is ever up to date anyway – can publish user profiles people directly into.

A shared drive that screams ‘knowledge management’ yet everyone is still smiling. Just like we do at Huddle.

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