What is a social intranet? With help of Google I found the following definition by Toby Ward, CEO of President Digital Media:

An intranet that features multiple social media tools for most or all employees to use as collaboration vehicles for sharing knowledge with other employees. A social intranet may feature blogs, wikis, discussion forums, social networking, or a combination of these or any other Web 2.0 (intranet 2.0) tool with at least some or limited exposure (optional) from the main intranet or portal home page.

With our Jive installation called “Ourspace” we established, successfully and globally, the above mentioned features and made them accessible for every employee in our company. Which fulfills another prerequisite listed by Toby for a successful social intranet: wide participation. Does this mean we are done; the link in our 1.0 intranet to Ourspace is good enough to call both together a social intranet? We don’t think so! Why:

  • There is no clear border line between the 1.0 intranet and Ourspace that defines what should go where
  • Intranet pages don’t offer commenting or rating
  • There is no combined search over both areas

To address the first pain point, we plan the structure of the social intranet to include the following four content types:

  1. News
  2. Corporate Content
  3. Managed Communities
  4. Collaboration Content

Our goal is to provide our employees a seamless user experience in the new social intranet, offering commenting and rating for all four content types. Search has to cover at least all content in the social intranet and of our external website, to be extended in the future to a full Enterprise Search.

What is now the best way to implement these four content types and to leverage Ourspace? Some of them are obvious, like the Collaboration Content. This includes all content of all social groups and personal blogs we have in Ourspace. Similar for the Managed Communities where we already have a few spaces offering the community owners the required user restrictions not available in social groups. However many community managers are looking for better ways to structure their content, ie. offering “traditional” content navigation. And this is as well a key requirement for Corporate Content, next to have approval workflows and templates. News is assigned to different categories that users can subscribe to, all have the same template and some categories require approval workflows.

Should we therefore look for a Web Content Management System to be integrated with Jive SBS or should we extend it to cover our additional requirements? For News we plan to create a new content type in Jive SBS to leverage its feeds and subscription technology.Furthermore it will allow us to offer News as well for social groups and communities. For the Corporate Content we have not taken a decision so far. We see a lot of benefit having all content in one system, the additional functionality is as well required by the Managed Communities and would support the switch of communities currently using wikis, but fear the complexity of the necessary customizations. To support the decision process here we reach out to a few of you, knowing you had to make a similar decision, to learn from your experience. I’m looking forward to reading all your comments.