Intranets since their inception have been through a number of iterations, which initially saw the launch of employee document repositories and gradually became a dumping ground for employee information, evolving into the self-service space around areas such as HR, among others.

And then via social media platforms people started chatting and bringing a social aspect into the workplace. Innovative companies didn’t clamp down on employee access to Facebook and other social platforms. They wanted social interaction and today that attitude is being rewarded.

But of course by just adding Facebook-like functionality across the enterprise doesn’t suddenly create the innovative nirvana. To enable innovation and add measureable value to the organisation, the social intranet has to focus its community on business issues. The social intranet must be part of people’s daily workflow and connect them to the relevant colleagues, information, and systems of record that drive the business.

We think about intranets as collaborative platforms where cross-functional engagement is possible and where physical restriction is obliterated by virtual access.

There are many considerations in terms of the choice of platform, the policy mapping and available security settings, etc. But the real success of any intranet is achieving stakeholder engagement. This takes investment in terms of time and resource, but again the rewards are tangible. Securing platforms that incorporate engagement tools such as voting, discussions, badging and other social technologies is part of the solution.

Some tips on driving community and stakeholder engagement

Make sure your executives are engaged

Keep content fresh and interesting

Reward early adopters who get their profiles up

Use the range of social technologies to build the engagement strategy

Test, test, test

Measure, measure, measure!

Finally don’t believe for a second – ‘build it and they will come.’

Janice Scheckter, spends loads of time reading on organisations that understand the value of internal collaboration.