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The Intranet’s Role in Online Team Collaboration

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Last week, we talked about the 5 Elements of Successful Online Team Collaboration. One of those elements is “a platform that makes it all happen.”

In this post, we’ll explore how an intranet can make online team collaboration happen.

First let’s look at the first four elements of successful online team collaboration, and how an intranet can help with those:

  • A shared goal

Team leaders can use the intranet to communicate the team’s goals. More than that, the intranet can effectively show the importance of those goals — how it would impact the company, its customers, even its employees. The intranet can also be used to keep track of progress towards goals. All t his helps motivate team members and keep them enthusiastic about reaching the goal.

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  • A skilled facilitator

If team leaders or facilitators are lacking in skills, the intranet can be used to help train them. A wiki page with facilitator training resources, such ad videos, slideshows, for example, can be set up. Team leaders can also have their own forum, where they can learn from each other: share what works, what hasn’t, brainstorm solutions.

  • A coherent team

The intranet can help make a team coherent, especially if team members are geographically dispersed. For example, the team leader could set up an intranet-based team activity, to give the team an initial common experience. Team-based status updates, blogs, or discussion forums can also help members get to know each other better and learn how to effectively communicate with each other.

  • Trust

We’ve already explored how the intranet can be a sort of thermometer for the level of trust in the workplace. Well, aside from being a tool for measurement, the intranet can also help build and strengthen trust. If used to communicate honestly and openly, the intranet can increase trust in the workplace, particularly among groups members.

Those are the ways an intranet can help strengthen elements of successful online collaboration in teams. Now let’s look at specific intranet features that support virtual collaboration:

Communication

An intranet with social features facilitates communication. Tools like instant messaging and microblogging enables team members to communicate faster. The use of rich media, such as photos and videos, enhances communication. A virtual conference room allows team members to have “meetings” without being physically with each other.

Document Sharing & Archiving

Having all project documents in one central location, and being able to track changes and always having the most recent version of files facilitate team work. The intranet can do all this.

Project Management

The intranet can also be used to keep track of tasks and deadlines, such as with an intranet calendar. It can even send automatic reminders. A blog can be used for progress reports and other updates.

Brainstorming

Applications like Discussion Forum and Wikis help team members brainstorm ideas, share experiences, and, well, collaborate.

These are the many ways a full-featured intranet becomes the final spoke in the wheel of online team collaboration.

Does your organization have teams that work together online? What tools do you use? What role does your intranet play?

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