Why Social Networks Are Replacing Intranets

Author: Jim Lundy                        Date: March 30, 2012

Topics: Social software; Collaboration   Research Note Number: 2012-6

Issues: What are the trends impacting collaboration in the enterprise?

What are the trends in social software?

Summary: Enterprise social networks, when configured and used properly, are becoming the main knowledge repositories in the enterprise. They are replacing corporate intranets as the most comprehensive and reliable places to find information about the company, its processes and procedures, and the people who work there.

Social networks are steadily entering the workplace and workers who use them understand their value in connecting people, processes and information. Though they are still misunderstood by some planners, the trend is clear: a race is on to make the enterprise social network (ESN) the primary source of truthful information about a corporation and its workers. This research note reviews why ESNs are on their way to replacing corporate intranets.

People often call social networks “the new digital water coolers,” but they can also be thought of as knowledge hubs. A full ESN is more than just updates from people. With the right design, it exposes the full range of intranet functions to users (see Note 1). More importantly, it shifts control to the people who own the content and the processes. Engaged people also share more content than a corporate intranet can provide.

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