Social & Cooperation

Social media are challenging the intranet

…… Part of The Basics series. First published in November 2010 ……


 Social media are triggering fundamental questions about intranets and their role in the organization.

Enterprises are being forced to clarify their strategies for communication, collaboration and doing business internally. In many organizations, the intranet, collaborative spaces and new social media features are competing for the attention of people and management.

It is not yet obvious to most organizations how to leverage social media. The relation between social media and the intranet is not clear for most organizations. It is clear, however, that social media are here to stay.

A major challenge for 2011 is to include social media in the intranet in ways that make sense for people and business.

  • Social media are now present inside 70 % of the organizations.
  • Blogs and wikis are now present in 55 % of the organizations.
  • Social networking is in 22% of the organizations; micro-blogging (e.g. Twitter, Yammer) in 26 %.

The figures above include pilots, limited deployment and enterprise-wide deployment. The chart  shows that there is much work still to be done: 20 % of the organizations who have some degree of social media internally feel they have achieved a degree of stability.

The perception of value from social media is primarily in soft benefits.

Fewer than 20 % of the organizations using social media actually measure or are attempting to measure the value brought by social media. Nearly 50 % intend to measure later.

From 60 to 65% of those with social media say “yes, absolutely” or “yes, quite a lot” when asked if they have observed benefits in these areas:

  • More effective knowledge-sharing
  • Better informed employees
  • More engaged employees

Business-related concerns diminish as experience is gained.

Three types of concerns about social media decrease as the enterprise gains experience:

  • Doubts about the value to the organization
  • Relevancy to business
  • Risk of employees wasting time

Other concerns remain the same, regardless of experience.

  • Findability of information produced through social media tools and channels
  • Security of information
  • “Language silos”

Senior managers are not setting an example.

Senior managers blog in 35% of the organizations. However, many of the blogs seem to be one-way publications rather than true blogs with comments and conversations. While half the senior bloggers write their own posts, only one third of them allow employees to post comments.