Social & Cooperation

Social media on a global intranet – how do you choose?

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


An intranet manager asked me recently how to prioritise ideas about social media for the intranet. They are a global organization and are currently attempting to bring all the local intranets under the same umbrella.

They ran a workshop, and lots of ideas were proposed. People gave lots of examples and even ROI figures in many cases. (I need to say “alleged ROI figures” because some of them were familiar examples currently flung about on the internet with little or no detailed information.)

Their question to me: So now what do we do? My response to them: Don’t look at the others; look at yourself.

I suggested the following:

  • List the 3 or 4 top goals of your organization (assuming your senior management have formulated and communicated them). If not, identify the top 3 or 4 goals of your intranet.
  • Analyse each idea you’ve had so far, to see to what extent it supports the goals and what is involved in implementation.
  • When analyzing, look at different aspects:
    • How much value/what benefits can this bring to the organization? (A little, some, a lot).
    • Formulate what the value would be. Look at how it can enable people to do something new, something faster, or something more effectively than before.
    • Do this from the viewpoint of “the employee”, “the business” and “the company as a whole”.
  • Identify what is required to implement it, and how fast you can do it?
    • (How much effort, what cost).
  • Investigate whether or not you can build on something that exists already?
    • Do you have an internal champion for this idea?
    • Do you have an obvious place in the organization to do a pilot?
  • Is this an idea that can work in other countries?
    • How would you involve them? At the beginning (highly recommended!) or later?
  • What are the likely obstacles you will have to overcome to achieve our goal?
    • How can you manage these risks: what actions can you take to make success more likely?
  • How will you know when you have achieved our goal?
    • What will have changed? What will be different?

I know there will be some of you out there who will say: Make the tools available and see what happens.

I disagree with this approach, to a large extent, mainly because there are so many tools, so many ideas, and such an obvious need to have a reason for what you do on the intranet.

Time is limited, resources are scarce, people are preoccupied with lots of other things these days.

I strongly recommend thinking about what you do and why, and finding the most “fertile” terrains for experimentation.

Let me know what you think, and what you’ve done!