Does Your Intranet Operate Like Google?

» Posted by Jeanne Meister  » Posted on 07.20.08

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The answer is most likely no, your Intranet is not nearly as easy to use as Google. But a growing number of companies are looking to their Intranet to do just that - operate in a social way so employees can share, collaborate and find information.

While I have written in past posts about the benefits of starting a company blog, there is no reason why blogging should be your first foray into the world of social media. In fact, I could build a case that maybe you should start with a project that is not threatening to your IT or legal department, not to mention your PR department. Re-vamping your company Intranet to include wiki’s, tagging rating and even image galleries may in fact be an interesting starting point on your path toward social media.

One company that is actually doing this is a brand name you will know, especially if you are single - eHarmony.com. Online dating is a big and growing business. According to Jupiter Communications Inc, in 2003 consumers spent $313 million on US based dating Web sites and this number will climb to more than $600 million by the end of 2008. eHarmony is the Internet’s fastest growing relationship service and its user base is doubling every quarter, adding 10,000-15,000 new users a day, the company is growing at 30% a year with over 20 million registered users in all 50 states and 191 countries. In fact, you can impress your friends by asking them if they know how many people who meet on eHarmony actually end up getting married? Answer 236 every day.

Now that I have your attention, let’s focus on the eHarmony Intranet - it was broken. It required knowledge of HTML coding to make changes and was very cumbersome to use. So the eHarmony HR Head decided to re-vamp the company Intranet as a way to build greater employee collaboration and knowledge sharing. The company behind this effort is accurately named, ThoughtFarmer and they have been called the company that builds engaging Intranets for “Intranet-haters.”

But the story gets more interesting because as a result of re-vamping the eHarmony Intranet, more departments at eHarmony are putting their information on the Intranet and encouraging employees to contribute new ideas through the new Intranet. All of this improved communication has actually resulted in new ideas for product improvements and cost savings at eHarmony.

Now the question for readers: as more companies explore using the Intranet for greater collaboration and knowledge sharing, who owns the responsibility for researching and then re-vamping the intranet - IT, HR or Marketing & Communications? Answer–all of the above. The Intranet was once an IT initiative but now it is a business initiative with HR often taking the lead in forming a cross functional team to re-vamp both the company Intranet as well as the HR/Learning portal. Why? Because having a voice on projects which provide tangible business outcomes is the future in many evolving HR and Talent roles.

Share with us - who owns your Intranet and do you see your involvement in a re-design as part of your role?

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