The intranet is dead – long live the intranet
Julian Walker, Group Corporate Affairs Director
Since its early days when an intranet was more of a propagandist tool and one-way delivery mechanism for corporate boring stuff (the real definition of ‘Corporate BS’), they have evolved into an essential, interactive ingredient of working life.
Sure, news is still delivered through them, but technology enables this to be tailored to your IP address so you get more relevance. You can plug in any system (no matter how antiquated) through an app to get a full information reference library. Google-esque search capabilities are not an aspiration, but an absolute essential and, being able to access work files, shared communications platforms and chatrooms, are core to the success of the new and improved workspace we used to call our intranet.
So the intranet is dead – but the digital workplace is alive, and kicking ass.
Internal communications teams may technically own today’s digital workspaces, but as it is now as much a part of company infrastructure as Microsoft Office, Adobe and the like, there is far greater shared responsibility ranging across IT, HR, HSE, SCM and any other manner of department – whether or not it has an acronym.
As much a cultural evolution, today’s space is about working faster, better and smarter. Why should employees have to go into an office when they can access all their needs through one secure place, hosted in the cloud for maximum storage capacity? This is how thinking is going.
The modern digital workplace encourages employees to collaborate effectively and share knowledge more easily. They increase flexibility, make employees more engaged with their business and this, many experts agree, is what can take a company up from being ordinary to extraordinary.
Everyone is different and no corporate model fits all, so the digital workspace of the future has to be carefully planned to ensure it has flexibility and development built in. So companies today are biting the bullet, planning their upgrades and making the intranet a strategic part of their growth plans – with relevance to the individual being the core criteria.
The way a company engages with its employees says a lot about what it stands for. The more forward thinking are creating tomorrow’s working environment today and rewriting the concept of the intranet to establish themselves as leaders in their fields. That is the power of the digital workspace.
So fondly remember its humble beginnings and embrace the future.
The intranet is not in fact dead – merely metamorphosing.
Meet the blogger
Julian has spent almost 30 years in corporate reputation management, in both senior in-house and consultancy positions. He has advised companies on all aspects of targeted business communications, from privatisations to cross-border mergers & acquisitions, ground-breaking debt and equity offerings to financial calendar and advertising/brand marketing. His broader business experience includes establishing and running successful companies, financial restructuring of not-for-profit organisations, and corporate/charity fund-raising.Julian is chairman of a youth-focused philanthropic investment fund and is author of The Cape Crusaders – about his experiences driving a Dennis fire engine from the northern-most tip of Europe to the southern-most point in Africa.