what is an intranet

Recreate or integrate … that is the question?

As we’ve busily rolled out one social media tool after another within BT, one question has got bigger and bigger in my mind and has become increasingly troublesome … what’s the right balance between recreating stuff on our intranet that already exists on the internet, and just integrating tools from the internet into our intranet toolkit for employees through our permeable firewall.

Not sure how well I articulated that?? Here’s an example … someone in BT has produced an internal version of Twitter … the question is, do we need an internal version of Twitter or can we just use the real thing … as indeed my team currently is? Why would anyone want to tweet in two places? Also, the great thing about having a Twitter network is that it incorporates people from around the globe with whom you have common interests and ideas. A closed, corporate, twitter-replica would surely be a shadow of the real thing in terms of value to the individual as it would only have a very limited gene pool from which to create interesting and vibrant networks. Trying to integrate an internal and external version would be very confusing and could lead to employees posting internal stuff to external networks …

This question became very troublesome for me after we launched our internal enterprise social network a few weeks ago. It was a long time in gestation and is a great tool with lots of similar functionality to Facebook like status updates, message board (or wall), contacts (friends) etc. However, the glaring question is why would someone who uses Facebook (or indeed any one of the many other social networking sites) want to use an internal, closed version of the same thing with a limited gene pool of knowledge and ideas from which to draw. Indeed, even if someone wanted to use the internal version, how would they do so without duplicating activity on both or losing value/possible opportunities by only doing it on one and not the other …

Since we launched our internal blogging platform, I have had an internal blog as well as this external one. My internal blog has two posts on it …

The balance between recreating and integrating I think is going to be what makes or breaks our internal social media tools in the future. We need to give it some serious thought … I need to give it some serious thought. I don’t think we’ve got the balance right yet …