The bigger a company the slower product cycles become. As a result, companies tend to become less innovative and less adaptive when consumer interests change. Feedback loops for continuance assessment are less frequent due to geographic constraints and locating the right expert at the right time. When things change, you need a collaborative intranet that can quickly change with your business needs.
Current Intranets like SharePoint give you a lot of functionality in the form of plug-ins and 3rd party applications but lack the ability to quickly adapt to changing business conditions. Sure you can add an application whenever a need arises, but it’s difficult to change the application without extensive development effort (and permission from the developer). So IT managers devise inefficient workarounds which only add to the problem.
Consider a VP of R&D at a Global 3000 Company who was just alerted via ReadWriteWeb that a hot new widget is being developed by his chief competitor. In fact the competitor plans to launch the widget at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and all indications are that it’s going to be a huge success. CES is only 6 months away and the Company hasn’t updated its product in 2 years. The Company’s engineering and R&D teams have made attempts to update the product in the last few years but were stymied by ivory tower syndrome, lost documents, suppliers that went out of business and employee turnover. Worse, since they used email and meetings as their primary communication tools, the information was lost on laptops and email.
The VP was caught off guard and was not prepared to quickly ramp up in order to have a competitive solution in time for CES. He knew it would take 6 months just to find the lost information, conduct internal focus groups, organize the teams and find suppliers. Moreover, the company didn’t have the internal systems in place to adapt quickly to a new product cycle.
Companies might focus on measuring sales, but are inattentive to the health of the enterprise or the voice of the customer because their communication channels are trapped in silos. Relevant and timely information are not bubbling up to the surface because existing Intranet’s are not equipped to handle feedback loops or adapt to changing business conditions.
In contrast Intranet 2.0 solutions provide content subscriptions, ratings and commenting, people following and communication, content taxonomy, polling, teams, projects and so forth that set up virtual feedback loops and content organization in order to drive better decision making. Dashboards that are constantly updating the status of the Enterprise across all departments which allows quick adaption to changing business conditions. By bringing together collaborative Enterprise 2.0 tools with Intranets the health of the business is more easily discerned. The implicit becomes more explicit, providing a means to:
- Rapidly change course when necessary
- Obtain feedback for proposed changes
- Product innovation becomes a bi-product of the enterprise collective voice
- Quickly locate subject experts and include them in the process
In our example above, had the organization installed an Intranet 2.0 solution, they could have easily launched a product in time for CES. If your Intranet initiative does not include Intranet 2.0 tools how competitive can your organization be in the future? Does your IT department care? Are you taking the initiative?
(Cross-posted @ Seek Omega )