One of the things we asked in out State of Enterprise 2.0 study (which we are releasing in a few weeks) was, “what are the business drivers of E2.0?”  In her survey around Global Intranet Trends for 2011, Jane asked a similar question around what the intranet priority is for leaders of organizations.  It turns out that among leaders the number one priority is around communication followed by “productivity/efficiency, collaboration/teamwork, and business needs as distant runner-ups.  Communication can obviously mean a lot of different things but leaders recognize that without effective communication nothing else is going to be possible.

Inherent in this finding is the importance of these new “social” intranets which actually allow employees to communicate and collaborate with one another instead of just serving as document and information warehouses.  Legacy systems allow for virtually no communication among employees which is something that leaders within organizations are realizing needs to change.  One of the things I keep hearing  from employees using legacy systems is that their existing intranets are where documents and information go to die.

One of the other key things in the report was the breakdown that Jane provided for the three types of workplace models which I actually found quite interesting.  These three models were broken down into the fragmented, hybrid, and unified types of workplaces.

The fragmented workplace is a struggle that many organizations today are faced with.  In this scenario organizations have multiple home pages usually with their own username and password.  It’s very inefficient and quite time consuming to access multiple technologies from multiple sites (intranets and portals).

The hybrid workplace scenario as describe by Jane, occurs when organizations accept that an intranet is their main entry point within the organization (to get tasks done and find information).  However, in this scenario the organization still has several other portal or intranet sites that employees still have to access.

Finally we have the unified workplace, this is the best case scenario for organizations as employees are able to access absolutely everything they need through their “front door” (intranet) to everything.  The American Hospital Association is one of the companies that comes to mind which is working on this quite diligently.

Now, although the unified workplace is the ideal state to strive for, Jane also found that this scenario is not a reality for most companies.  Based on the many conversations I have been having with companies I can say that Jane’s finding is definitely consistent with what I am hearing.  Making something the “front door” for all employees within an organization (especially a large one) is a daunting if not impossible tasks.  Organizations are already using so many technologies and platforms that it’s hard to imagine being able to integrate them together.

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