SharePoint: An Intranet Manager Perspective

What's going to be a hot topic for Intranet managers in 2011? You guessed it SharePoint 2010, this is unsurprisingly the theme of Martin White's article on the CMS Wire blog.

So what's so great about SharePoint 2010 that is making people look twice at is a tool for collaboration and for managing an Intranet. "The answer...a substantially improved development platform which in principle addressed many of the concerns around SharePoint 2007. Not only has search substantially improved but of course so has the collaboration offering, and for intranet managers the metadata management functionality also offers some important benefits"

The article then looks at some of the pressures to migrate as well as some of the issues associated with moving from a CMS to SharePoint 2010. These include resourcing, governance and issues with the SharePoint search. If you're an Intranet manager, which you might well be if you're reading this blog, or just interested in SharePoint 2010 then Martin's article goes some way to understanding some of the issues involved.

Tweet for your life!

"Businesses need to start taking Web 2.0 seriously if they are to join the bigger conversation" is the theme of this article from the CBR Online.

In it the author discusses how businesses are finally beginning to see the value of using tools like Twitter as part of their IT Strategy. The article also looks at how Social Media tools are being used to "optimise internal communication" Clifford Chance for example "are using this approach to share advice and comment on big cases"

The role of a Corporate Intranet is also discussed briefly, amongst the bad news there is some good news for anyone who manages an Intranet currently; corporate Intranets "need to be supplemented by more open, social network tools, Document management and portals don't go away, but their roles will change"

This is an interesting article, with comments from insiders aka vendors and two case studies of how companies are using Social Media tools to foster collaboration (Webtrends) and engage with their customers (Asigra)

[Photo - Carrot Creative]

Practical applications of Web 2.0 in Law Libraries

Connie Crosby has prepared another excellent presentation using Prezi. If you've not seen Prezi used before you should definitely take a look at Connie's presentation.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to embed the presentation here, so head on over to Connie's blog or Prezi itself to view the presentation.

First off Connie looks at what Web 2.0 means, then at some examples of Web 2.0 being used in Law Libraries, these include Blogs, Wikis, Twitter, Video and Podcasts before explaining why it's important to both use Web 2.0 technologies and to understand at least to some degree how they work. Overall this is an excellent presentation which highlights some useful resources for anyone working in the legal sector.

[Photo - Ben Sheldon]

Cloud Computing in Libraries

Do you know the difference between SaaS, Paas and Iaas? no, well you'd better have a look at Ellyssa Kroski's excellent introduction to how Cloud Computing is being used by Libraries. In it she looks at how Libraries are and could be using Cloud Computing services and explains the differences between SaaS, Paas and Iaas.

What's most surprising is how many services I use regularly are already based in the Cloud. This really is the future and as such we should embrace it!

Social Media inside the Enterprise

No I'm not talking about Star Trek before anyone gets too excited. This is actually the title of an excellent looking talk by Connie Crosby at the recent KM World Conference.

In the presentation Connie looks at how Blogs, Wikis, Video and Microblogging tools are being used. There is a lot of really useful content and resources detailed in the presentation. So I heartily recommend everyone have a look at the slides if you haven't done so already. I've embedded the slides below or you can access them from Slideshare itself.

Social Media and the workplace

The folks at Commoncraft have done it again with another excellent video. In their latest video they look at how the world of external company communications has changed thanks to social media.

Key points include:

  • Companies need to think of new ways to understand and react to what is being said "socially"
  • How companies can confront a "social" crisis
  • The role of policies and guidelines
  • How companies can add value and build trust using Social Media

[Photo credit Martin Diller from FlickR]

Using Social Media to drive innovation

Almost exactly two weeks ago I spoke at Online Information. I was a little bit nervous as I hadn't spoken at Online for a couple of years. I needn't have worried though as the audience seemed very "pleased" with my presentation. I got some great feedback from the individuals who came and talked to me afterwards and I've even had two requests to write posts for others sites/blogs.

Anyway have a look at the presentation. I'm happy to answer any questions you might have on why I think Social Media can drive innovation and if you don't believe me have a look at a blog post called "Innovation needs to be social" which looks into even more detail about how Social Networking can support the innovation process.

What stuff should I add to my Intranet?

Nina Platt of the Strategic Librarian blog has written an excellent series of posts asking "What functionality and content should I add to my Intranet" this is like opening up a can of worms to a hungry school of worm eating fish. But it made me think about our Intranet and how we could make it more useful and perhaps more interesting.

In Part 1 of her series Nina looks at what you need to consider when scoping the Intranet. Generally when looking at developing at Intranet you'll be tying its goals into the firms goals so the following questions should help you understand what you're trying to achieve.

  • What is the purpose of the intranet?
  • What problems are we solving?
  • How can the intranet increase productivity?

However you might have more specific goals like:

  • Improve communication across the firm
  • Improve employees access to information
  • Improve processes that are currently paper based but could be automated
  • Create a means for collaboration
  • Integrate content across disparate applications
  • Maintain native security of enterprise applications

In Part 2 Nina looks at an Intranets "Information Architecture" outlining two ways in which Intranets within law firms are organised. A traditional approach is to organise an Intranet so that it mimics the firms structure for example Business Services would be a menu option followed by Facilities, Finance, Marketing, Knowledge etc etc.

An alternative approach and something I haven't seen yet is to organise the Intranet around tasks so if you were to click on the menu heading Research you would then be presented with a list of tasks you might want to undertake, for example Search Westlaw, Search LexisNexis, Find a book, Ask a question etc etc.

As Nina indicates this might be a better way to organise an Intranet or a combination of this and the organisational structure might work well. In Part 3 Nina describes how a combination of tasks and organisational structure works in practice refering to the award winning Intranet of Law Firm Bennet Jones this uses a task and organisational based structure to present information to users. As Nina suggest is sounds "messy" but looking at some of the examples Nina has provided I can see how that might work well in practice.

Ultimately at the heart of any Intranet structure is the ability for users to find information quickly and easily or to perform a task, ensuring your Intranet performs this function will ensure it is well valued.

The Social Intranet

Heather Colman has written an excellent write up of her attendance at the Social Intranet conference. In her blog post "The Social Intranet"Heather outlines some of the key learnings from the conference.

If you've not come across the term "Social Intranet" before Heather defines this term in her blog post "What is social Intranet software? According to the experts, social Intranet software combines traditional Intranet elements with social collaboration features such as “rich user profiles, activity streams, discussion forums, wiki and blog capabilities,” micro blogging, etc. Social Intranets result in user generated content where updating responsibility is moved to a decentralized, open model"

As Heather suggests giving up control can be quite a scary process for an organisation, but my feeling is that doing so engages individuals with the Intranet more. If people know they're responsible for a particular page or section and they know they have to do it, they're more likely to update it. It also moves eases the burden of work away from the central Intranet team, allowing them to work on developments to the Intranet, rather then then editing of content.

This sounds like it was a really interesting conference. You can if you really want to purchase all the presentations as webinar recordings and listen to them at your leisure - enjoy!