x-Early Perspectives

2009: Efficiency, Energy and Voice on the Intranet

…… Part of The Basics series. First published in January 2009 ……

2009 will be the year of efficiency, energy and voice on the Intranet. Here’s my take for the next 12 months:

1. Intranets need to catch up to what virtual teams need.

Management will look to the intranet as a way to achieve greater efficiency. Work habits and behavior are changing and will change even more, accelerated by the pressure of economic constraints. Travel is already decreasing and will continue to drop. The intranet will become the hub for virtual teams even more than it already is.

However…both the intranet and people will have to change. People will need to learn to use virtual meeting tools such as web conferencing and shared document spaces effectively. There’s a lot of awareness-building and training to be done here. In many organizations, the tools are not yet in place.

Intranets and collaborative spaces are struggling to serve teams with both internal and external people. If solutions are not found by business and IT managers, teams will find their own solutions “off the grid”.

The intranet manager and team who can tackle collaboration and provide efficient, workable solutions for virtual teams will raise the importance and the visibility of the intranet straight to the executive suite.

2. Intranets should be used to help energise nervous workforces.

Some people are worried about losing their jobs, being “sold”, being out-sourced. Others are more stressed out because of time pressure, lack of resources, demanding deadlines and the way work is encroaching more and more on personal time.

Management needs to use the intranet even more than before to communicate to employees during this time of change and doubt. There needs to be regular, real, non-corporatespeak communication top down. It will be taken seriously if it comes along with opportunities for people to ask questions and get answers.

The intranet manager and team who can offer these features (most likely using web 2.0 tools) will take a big step towards increasing senior management awareness of the intranet and bringing real value to the organization.

2009 – a turning point for the forward-looking intranet manager and team.

I see 2009 as a year to be dedicated to efficiency, energy and voice on the Intranet. Here’s what two participants in the 2008 Global Intranet Strategies Survey have to say:

“As we roll out a series of collaboration tools, the role of the intranet manager is about to explode in terms of importance and impact on the organization.”

“I expect web 2.0 to reinvigorate our user base and present new opportunities for ROI metrics. This will give heightened awareness to the intranet as a mission-critical tool.”

What’s your take on 2009 for intranets? Please jump in.