Using Linkedin as your intranet

Could you use Linkedin as your intranet platform in preference to a traditional content management tool? That's the question asked by Samuel Dreissen in his blog post "Linkedin as your intranet"

As Samuel explains in his post, the context behind users asking whether Linkedin could be used as an intranet is that more and more users are using free intranet tools to get things done. This is usually referred to as "Stealth IT" and causing headaches for IT as they're expected to manage more and more tools, which they may have no experience of.

So in light of this and LinkedIn announcing that it was positioning itself as an intranet, could Linkedin be used as an intranet. Linkedin definitely ticks a number of boxes including the following;

  • Detailed profiles and connections between profiles (social network)
  • Groups and subgroups to ask questions, share knowledge and publish news
  • Share documents with 3rd party apps
  • Available everywhere
  • Mobile access

Linkedin also has several advantages over traditional intranets including;

  • (Most) employees are already there; they have a profile, even a very basic profile
  • Employees understand how the tool works (it has a reasonably intuitive UI)
  • Linkedin often roll out new functionality
  • It's free
  • Organisations customers are there as well (so collaboration and co-creation via the intranet is easy to set up)

In light of this you might think using Linkedin as an intranet was a shoe-in. However there would be a number of issues that would need to be addressed before an organisation could even consider using Linkedin as their intranet, these include;

  • Information security
  • Information ownership
  • Publishing other content
  • Integration with Active Directory or other security tools
  • Search would need to be improved

I think Linkedin would either have to substantially improve their existing product or release an enterprise version of Linkedin, which had all the functionality of the free version but allowed intranet managers to create content and integrate other tools with the enterprise version of Linkedin. If a tool like this was available then I'm sure a lot of organisations would give it some serious consideration.

In the meantime there are some good examples of organisations that have embedded elements of Linkedin with their intranet. The Chess Plains media blog has also written about how Linkedin could be used as an intranet...of sorts.

[Photo credit - Linkedin Pen from Flickr]

When Intranet Content Becomes Obsolete

Is this what happens to your content?
One of the perennial problems of managing an intranet is keeping the content useful and relevant without ending up with a huge number of pages that aren't being looked at. A strategy that is often used by intranet managers is to delete obsolete content on an annual basis and then repeat the process the following year.

This is fine in the short term as users will see a noticeable difference but over time the number of pages will start to increase and the intranet will be back to where it was previously. A better idea as suggested by Patrick Walsh is to have a lean and sustainable intranet. This avoids the all too frequent intranet redesigns which work well for a while then crash and burn and the almost inevitable increase in the amount of content to the point where intranet users aren't able to find the content they're looking for anymore.

With the lean and sustainable intranet, the most important (the visible content) is kept to a minimum, this should go someway to ensuring that it remains relevant and that it's used. 

But to get to this point you need to undertake a process where you make the intranet lean, so how do you strart this process? This is the question asked in the post "When intranet content becomes obsolete" on the Noodle blog.

The authors outline a process for identifying obsolete content using two criteria Age and Usefullness. Age is a good criteria to use as it's obvious if a page hasn't been updated in a while that it should be deleted. However as the authors explain some documents/pages wont be updated regularly (policies, forms. procedures, mission statements etc) these need to be retained. So this is why usefullness is oftent used as an additional criteria. The usefullness of a page is usually identified by looking at how often it's read (via intranet statistics). Likes and dislikes can also be another way to identify how often a page is used as well as looking at how often it's searched for, or returned in search results.

Whatever process you put in place you need to ensure it takes account of the needs of your organisaion and your intranet editors.

Daring to share...the appeal of enterprise social networks

What is Enterprise social networking and what are some of the tools that are available for organisations to use as part of an enterprise social networking strategy? This is the question answered by Rachel Miller in her excellent blog post "Daring to share - Enterprise Social Networking"

The post goes into some detail about Yammer and how it can be used to facilitate communication within an organisation by taking advantage of the changes in how we're all communicating. As Rachel explains in her post:

"Doing so in a way where others can participate and understand how it works across the business, using their skills and abilities to make the most of it is ideal. This is what enterprise social networking is trying to achieve"

Rachel also outlines some of the benefits of using an enterprise social networking tool like Yammer, these aren't just about providing a better more intiutive way for individuals to communicate and collaborate with each other there are a number of other very tangible benefits including:

  • Gaining visibility across the organisation
  • Giving employees tools that increase collaboration, visibility and support company culture
  • Driving financial results through employee engagement and better customer service
  • Attracting and retaining top talent by meeting the needs of your people

For an introduction to how Yammer is being used successfully look not further then another post by Rachel called "It adds up: How accountants use Yammer"