A well managed social intranet could bring huge benefits for the company. I think we all agree on that.
Now, why are companies not implementing social intranets then?
In my opinion, it has a lot to do with power. Problem is that people who take the decision to roll out a social intranet or to stay with the old one is people that:
A) Are too old and have no interest in implementing a new technology they don’t fully understand. Email is more than enough for them.
B) Are not risk takers. They think: What if it goes wrong? What if nobody uses it? What if they start talking about things that have nothing to do with work? What if, What if…
A lot of people in high positions didn’t get there because of being brilliant. Many got there because they avoided every big risk along their whole career. Anything that could “put my career in jeopardy”. I don’t agree at all with this way of building a career but unfortunately there is a lot of that in many organizations. Innovation is not something they like. It’s risky, it’s scary.
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C)Like to control everything. Thus, an open platform where information and knowledge is crowdsourced is not quite suitable for them. These guys like to be “the knowledge hub” in the organization. They like to be indispensable. That gives them power. Power they don’t want to loose.
D) The person or team in charge of the “social intranet” project (folks in HR, Internal Comms , IT ) was not able to show the business benefits to the decision makers. Many decision makers think that anything with the word “social” in between (social media, social business, social intranet, etc) is a nice to have but ” is not something we really need now”.
To me, this last point is the most important and is where I would put time and effort (the other three are quite helpless). If you are responsible for making the social intranet project happen then you need to:
1)Know it won’t be an easy journey. You’ll have to deal with a lot of people that simply don’t like changes.
2) Do your homework, be prepared. The only way you’ll be able to make it happen is by showing the business value. There is plenty of material online about this. Consultancy companies like Deloitte,McKinsey, Norman Nielsen Group and enterprise social networking vendors have reports with information you’ll need to build the business case: case studies, ROI, clear benefits and data.
It’s a difficult journey but if you can make it happen you’ll be very proud of yourself and the company will see great benefits from it. And it will all have happened because of you.
If you’re struggling with this issues in your organization and you don’t know how to make it happen you can send me an email to [email protected] and I’ll be happy to share with you some examples of clients of mine that faced similar problems and finally succeeded.