Friday, October 19, 2012

The Real Benefits of Social Intranets and Portals (Guest Blog)

As we move closer to Ektron's Synergy Conference next month, and my session on social media, I thought I'd utilize this space to feature guest blog posts from some of the most influential social experts that I've connected with. I hope to see you at Synergy and encourage you to learn more about these guest bloggers too.

This post is from Jeff Willinger, the Director of Social Computing, Collaboration and Intranets at Rightpoint. Jeff was recently named the top SharePoint person to watch in 2012 and one the most influential social media people in the city of Chicago. He specializes in advising clients on social computing strategies, social intranets and portals and increasing employee engagement. With experience spanning more than two decades, Jeff possesses specific expertise in social computing inside an organization’s four walls and social media outside their four walls. He is an internationally recognized speaker and expert in Microsoft SharePoint and is a technology and business evangelist with deep expertise in information architecture, enterprise content management, and web 2.0 technology strategy. A character with character, as he is known, he is the President and Founder of of the Social Media Club of Chicago. Follow
@jwillie on Twitter. Enjoy!

The Real Benefits of Social Intranets and Portals
Anyone that has met me or has heard me speak in the past four years knows that I am passionate about social media and the connected company, inside and outside the four walls. Sharing, searching, discussing and collaborating are the ways in which we perform work. Most organizations use email as a crutch when it comes to communicating, and many lose important information.

These are three crucial elements of social intranets and portals:
  • Information: Today, we all work with information. In fact, manipulating data and information into knowledge is some of the most important work that we do. In order for a Social Intranet to exist there needs to be an information super-structure in place. Staff members need full access to information — and the information needs to be secured. This could exist within the framework of an ECM application.
  • Community and Knowledge Management: When crafting your user’s intranet experience, you need to focus on what’s in it for the end-user. Users are used to working and playing on Facebook, Linked In and Twitter. Your intranet should be set up to deliver information dynamically and be comfortable for staff to work within. If staff likes using it, a community will naturally form. 
  • Collaboration: The conversations around information and documents are the catalyst for decision making. If value in those conversations could be saved it would help future decision-making and research, not to mention compliance. Some organizations are using discussion modules as part of their ECM to manage that conversational content rather than a social platform. There is also a need to be able to reuse information as a knowledge-base that needs to be both searchable and allow for comments and feedback.
An easy to use, social intranet can make employees happy while they work. They will be more productive as they understand how their work ties in with the organization and will usually give it their all and be engaged, and that is the real benefit of social intranets and portals.

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