Social intranet is one of the hottest enterprise 2.0 trends right now, with Microsoft recently paying $1.2 billion in acquisition costs just to catch up. Yet, as with any ‘hot new thing’, there’s just as much hype about social intranet as there are real benefits to having a successfully implemented one. So how do you end up among the companies that increase productivity with social intranet, instead of spending thousands of dollars on something that is used to share cookie recipes? Here are some pointers collected from people who develop and deploy social intranet solutions for a living.
Determine what you specifically want from your social intranet.
60% of Bitrix24 users log in on weekends. That’s one of the benefits social intranet can provide. People will use corporate intranet during off hours, if it makes their work easier. It’s your job to cut through the marketing hype and determine – what exactly do you want to do with social intranet? Which social intranet provider can do that?
Make sure your social intranet has the tools you need.
If you work in a law office, you probably need a strong document sharing option. If you work in sales, integrated CRM for your social intranet is a must. If you develop new products, you probably need project management module. Some older generation intranets don’t offer any business tools, so stay away from them. Find a social intranet that either has tools you need already built in or support easy integration of such tools.
Talk to your employees about their social network experience.
Most social intranets look very similar to Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. The reason for that is that workers are already familiar with these networks, so they can start using social intranet right away. However, some people have limited social network experience, so you’ll have to teach them how to use an activity stream or how to send instant messages to a specific employee or group. The more ‘social’ your employees are, the easier it’ll be for them to use social options of your corporate portal.
Make sure your intranet is appropriate for your company size.
Some social intranet makers make claims along the lines “Fortune 500 companies use our product”. Which is great IF you work for a Fortune 500 company. However, if you work for a small company, you probably won’t be happy with a solution that’s tailored for industry giants. Luckily, there are intranet developers that target small and midsize business, so you can find a solution that’s perfect for a company of your size.
Watch the costs.
Social intranet costs are anywhere from zero (yes, there are solutions you can use for free) to tens of thousands of dollars. The costs depend on whether you are going to use a cloud based solution (less expensive) or deploy it on your own servers (takes more time and costs more money, but is generally more secure). Another factor is the pricing policy of the intranet provider. Some developers charge per user, which quickly adds up if your company is large. Others offer unlimited users but charge for space used (which is a lot more economical, unless your company works with hundreds of gigabytes of data).