Smart Wars: No Return of the Intranet

In a bid to modernize the apple of their eyes, the company intranet, enterprise IT teams have tried many antics, not the least of them being social and collaboration integration. However, there has been little uptake of the usage of the intranet despite these efforts.

Intranet has traditionally been the playground of the few passionate employees, who feel the urge to contribute to their organization. Most others are mute spectators, either using the intranet for raising requests, or cribbing about its lamentable quality and content.

Recent times have seen a lot of intranet portals experience a facelift and content improvement. Social and collaboration tools like chat and wiki have found their way in, sometimes looking as incongruous as HID headlights on a decade old Chevy. However, multiple studies have shown that these measures have had little or no impact on the user engagement or collaboration in the enterprise. There are some important factors causing this.

1. ‘Social’ is… well, social – People use social platforms for social activities – sharing photos, videos, chatting with friends, meeting friends etc. When faced with similar interfaces at work, the engagement is not the same. Just because a user spends hours on Facebook, does not guarantee that his engagement with a workplace social initiative will be the same.

2. It’s not work, what will my boss think? – Many employees feel they are errant because they are spending time responding to chats, blogging, or participating in online discussions. A part of this is that the employees relate to such activities as after-work indulgences, but most of this is because the managers and bosses have an old-fashioned thinking, and do not consider time spent in such activities as productive. Therefore, employees think rather than collaborating online, its better to organize a physical meeting, and show the boss that they are actually doing some work.

3. Management engagement is questionable – Imitation is the best form of flattery. When the reportees see their managers participating in the collaborative efforts, they don’t feel the need to do so either.

4. Business value questionable – The benefits of social and collaborative initiatives are not tangible. Even the non-tangible benefits like improving workforce engagement, encouraging better communication and collaboration, sharing of knowledge etc. are hard to measure and report on. This leads to loss of focus after the initial brouhaha.

5. Seeking help is a sign of weakness – This is perhaps one of the most important reason why people do not indulge in internal social forums. A standard response to a colleague’s query is “why does he not know that already? He is not so bright.” Such reactions prohibit the users from asking public questions, and prefer the being ignorant than proving it to the world.

6. People just don’t want to share – It has been said, “knowledge is power”, and by derivation, those that possess it, are powerful. Historically, IT operates in silos, not dissimilar to the fiefdoms of the past. Philanthropic dissemination of power is like giving the public the keys to the kingdom. This definitely is not something the power hungry monarchs of machines want to indulge in.

7. Focus is on adoption, not improvements – Typically, enterprises focus on the number of people participating in the online collaboration, not the quantitative improvements brought about by these endeavors. This results in a flood of non-quality data, where people want to be a part of the crowdPsychology Articles, and not the solution.

This was a guest article from Jennifer Lewis.

The author is associated with one of the renowned enterprise application development company. The android application development companies in Noida has created over 300 applications on major mobile platforms. Its offers enterprise mobile application Dallas to meet customized demands of clients.