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]