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November/December 2013
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Video has emerged as a powerful communications medium that is well-suited for the business world. Moving beyond "commercials," businesses are now using video to inform, educate, and influence a wide range of audiences.While the use of video is great for external-facing applications aimed at customers, shareholders, or the general public, it is also a powerful tool when it comes to delivering engaging messages to internal audiences-namely employees via the company intranet. In fact, according to a survey by the British firm Melcrum, 93% of internal communications teams said they see video as an important tool; another two-thirds said they expected to increase their budgets for video.
Editorial/Features By David Stubenvoll - November/December 2013 Issue,
Responsive design certainly works on the internet, providing a pleasing viewing experience for a website's visitors. It enables site visitors to view and navigate a website clearly and with ease, regardless of the type of device they want to use to access the features of that site.With responsive design, a website will look as good to a user sitting at a desktop as it does to someone accessing that same site via a smartphone or tablet. Many site visitors are mobile, and companies must recognize the need to cater to the desires and habits of their various stakeholders, from customers to clients-anyone who expects to receive value and insight from that site.
Editorial/Features By Marji McClure - November/December 2013 Issue,
While there is broad industry consensus on the value of Big Data, there is no standardized approach for how to begin and complete a project. In addition, some companies mistakenly focus on technology first instead of business objectives. Because Big Data is only as good as the insight you're able to derive from the information, it is important that you have a strategy to get the most from your information. Otherwise, you will have wasted plenty of time and money. In this article, we lay out the fours steps to successfully implementing a Big Data project.
Editorial/Features By Jim Kaskade - Sept/Oct 2013 Issue,
Is your company's intranet a useful, one-stop-shop for employees to access the information they need to better perform their jobs? Or is it an outdated misuse of resources that your employees don't use? In 2009, at Toshiba America Medical Systems, we discovered our intranet fell into the latter category. We knew, through word of mouth and employee feedback, that a very small percentage of employees used the intranet, but we had to figure out the reason why: Was it difficult to use or was the content irrelevant? As it turns out, it was a combination of the two. We set out on an intranet overhaul to create a more user-centric, visually interesting and functional portal.
Editorial/Features By Martin Rodriguez - Sept/Oct 2013 Issue,
Successful intranets today are more than arenas for news and collaboration; they are mobile workspaces that bind employees to a strong internal culture while allowing them to do work. "Intranets have a much wider purpose than just sharing useful, informative content," explains Mark Morrell, BT alum and U.K.-based intranet consultant. "Originally this was the basis for its purpose, but successful intranets have widened their scope to offer collaborative tools so employees are able to communicate and share views and opinions with anyone to help solve business problems and create solutions."
Editorial/Features By Carolina K. Reid - July/Aug 2013 Issue,
We have reached the tipping point when it comes to content growth. It is growing at a rate that would have been considered unimaginable just a few short years ago. Even industry analysts are having a difficult time grasping this reality. Nowhere is this more evident than in IDC's projection for the total amount of content by the end of the decade. In 2011, IDC pegged the amount of all unstructured content by 2020 at 36 zettabytes (ZB). Within a year, it had revised the estimate to 40ZB.
Editorial/Features By Jignesh Shah - July/Aug 2013 Issue,
When it comes to creating and sharing content, you know the power of an intranet and the benefits it brings to an organization. It enables your employees to find the content and contacts they need, to create and share information easily, and to interact with each other in brand-new ways. Whether your task is to build a brand-new intranet for your company or business unit, or make improvements to the current model, one job is the same-ensuring management is on board with the idea.
Editorial/Features By Manya Chylinski - May/June 2013 Issue,
In 1996, the BusinessWeek article "Here Comes the Intranet" ( heralded the many benefits of this new technology that allowed the internal sharing of information behind firewalls. Intranets have evolved, as has the larger web, and lines have blurred between internal and external information and audiences, providing both challenges and opportunities for corporate communicators.This blurring and the advent of many new tools and options has led to the recognition that, yes, communication across all channels, should be strategic-and fluid. This recognition is driving a new concept in communication: social business.
Editorial/Features By Lin Grensing-Pophal - May/June 2013 Issue,
"Bring your own device" (BYOD) first appeared on the business scene in 2009 but only reached true traction within organizations in 2011. Simply put, BYOD, also known as "Bring your own technology" (BYOT), "Bring your own phone" (BYOP), and "Bring your own PC" (BYOPC), is when employees focus on adopting new, consumer-focused technologies and use their own devices to enhance their productivity at work. By having one device for both personal and work use, workers are consolidating their tools, but that often means they are operating outside of their organization's secure infrastructure. This has repercussions for intranets and their managers.
Editorial/Features By Dana Leeson - March/April 2013 Issue,
Information governance (IG) was much simpler when information existed in paper form. Important documents were classified as records and sent to a central location to be filed and stored. That central information store was the go-to source for information when litigation or regulatory requests arose. There was a certain comfort in having that central control over information. Today, however, times have changed, and that comfort level has been destroyed.
Editorial/Features By Barry Murphy - March/April 2013 Issue,
Social media has helped the worldwide community of intranet professionals to grow and develop, with online networking and knowledge sharing fueling a boom in conferences and meet-ups for those managing intranets. But it's surprising that little of this networking seems to emerge from the U.S. The best-known intranet bloggers and tweeters are almost all based in Europe or Australasia (with the exception of some key individuals and organizations in Canada), as are all the high-profile networks and thought leaders.
Editorial/Features JanuaryFebruary 2013 Issue,
The next revolution in e-discovery technology-a process called predictive coding-is already here. But how soon, how widely, and with what restrictions it will ultimately come to be used remain open questions. Any new technology that challenges the old order can initially be met with resistance, but in the field of litigation, where millions of dollars and the letter of the law may be at stake, the process of adopting a new technology is even more cautious and deliberate. While predictive coding offers the promise of quicker, cheaper e-discovery-and there are already plenty of vendors touting it as the new industry standard-it has yet to overcome a few obstacles that stand in its way.
Editorial/Features By Mike Lopresti - JanuaryFebruary 2013 Issue,
The location-based free app for mobile devices called foursquare is old news these days to most social network savants. As of September 2012, more than 25 million people worldwide use the app to share and save the places they visit with friends, earning "badges" along the way that equate to great deals on favorite restaurants, stores, and more. This social networking platform is a great way for more than 1 million participating merchants to encourage consumers to stroll in through their doors-consumers can earn something for doing so and letting the world know.
Editorial/Features By Michelle Cramer - November/December 2012 Issue,
Simply put, an electronic document management system (EDMS) replaces paper files and documents in an organization and enables users to send electronic documents through the same steps a paper document or file would follow. An EDMS is primarily used to increase efficiency and eliminate costly inconsistencies common in a paper-based process. For instance, if an employee's vacation request needs to be reviewed by his or her supervisor and then sent to human resources, an EDMS can accelerate the process by automatically routing the request. This saves time and eliminates the possibility of an important document getting lost in a stack of papers along the approval process.
Editorial/Features By James True - November/December 2012 Issue,
While many organizations today look to social media and other web 2.0 technologies to captivate their employees and take their intranets into the future, could it be that email - the humble web 1.0 standby - is a better bet than any to deliver the goods?
Editorial/Features By Scott McDonald -
Information is at the heart of what most enterprises do. For some, it is the product and lifeblood; for others, it lubricates all aspects of the operation. The fact is that, in one form or another, information management is vital for virtually any organization, particularly as tough economic conditions prevail. And the more efficiently enterprise content is controlled and accessed, the more effective organizations' operations become. After all, we all operate in an information economy these days.
Editorial/Features By Jeremy Bentley - September/October 2012 Issue,
When the Boston-based nonprofit media organization WGBH approached the technology consultants at Miller Systems about revamping the organization's outdated intranet-called InnerTube-Miller Systems' founder and CEO Seth Miller was ready for the challenge.The project "cements our position as a trusted strategic advisor and partner for clients-in any industry-seeking improved knowledge management and business process solutions," he said at the time. Redesigning WGBH's InnerTube would be one of the more challenging projects that Miller Systems had worked on in its nearly 20-year history.
Editorial/Features By Mike Lopresti - September/October 2012 Issue,
For global organizations, the ability to collaborate across geographic borders is crucial, but it hasn't always been easy. As social media tools continue to make it easier for people around the world to connect on a personal level, it makes sense that similar tools can help make it more effective and efficient for people to collaborate in a professional setting.
Editorial/Features By Marji McClure - July/August 2012 Issue,
In today's world, no company operates in a vacuum. Internet-driven media has the power to shape perceptions and blindside company reputations. News reverberates through social media, influencing the course of events, which in turn becomes "the news." Add to this all the other business performance data increasingly thrown at companies—web metrics, CRM, logistical systems, endless email, etc.—and enterprises can quickly become overwhelmed. But huge challenges present great opportunities: Companies that are able to exploit the world of Big Data more successfully than others stand to gain a competitive edge.
Editorial/Features By Brian Mackie - July/August 2012 Issue,
The once-secluded world of intranets just keeps opening up and expanding beyond the company walls. As companies become global enterprises and workers become more mobile, intranet teams face new challenges to provide central business platforms that work for everyone, everywhere. Competitive organizations have begun redefining the parameters of intranets. Healthy, broad intranets are meeting modern business needs in surprising new ways and creating the most informed workforces that have ever existed.
Editorial/Features By Danielle Monroe - May/June 2012 Issue,
To begin to grapple with the concept of Big Data, you'll have to start thinking in zettabytes. A zettabyte is a unit of digital information that is equivalent in size to a billion terabytes. (And a terabyte, in turn, is the equivalent of a billion kilobytes.) To amass a zettabyte of data, you'd need to compile approximately half of all of the information transmitted by broadcast technology (television, radio, and even GPS) to all of humankind during an entire calendar year, according to a study by The University of Southern California. Or, according to the linguist Mark Liberman of The University of Pennsylvania, if you recorded all human speech that had ever been spoken, the audio file would require a modest 42 zettabytes of storage space. That, in short, is a lot of data … and a pretty big iPod. Conceptualizing the size of a zettabyte is a bit of an esoteric exercise—an entertaining trick for a cocktail party, maybe, but not one with any real relevance to managing your business's data sets.
Editorial/Features By Mike Lopresti - May/June 2012 Issue,
Technology has changed not only the way we do business, but it has also changed where we do business. A growing number of workers are able to do their jobs from virtually any location, as long as they have computers and a way to connect to their companies' networks.However, the need for collaboration on projects has not gone away, so organizations must find both cost-effective and time-efficient ways to pull together collaborative efforts. Today more companies are turning to real-time web collaborations that allow employees to share and update documents through an intranet portal or through the cloud, whether they are working in neighboring cubicles or in office buildings thousands of miles apart.
Editorial/Features By Sue Marquette Poremba - March/April 2012 Issue,
Founded in 2000, iStockphoto, LP is a web-based source for stock images and other files including not just photos, but videos, music, and sound effects. In November 2009, however, the company was looking to rapidly expand internationally, broadening its market outside of North America. With an already solid domestic PR team, iStock needed to find a global PR firm that could specialize in managing and implementing public relations in multiple countries. What iStock found in NettResults, LLC was not only its solution to international PR but a better way to share information and send files as well.NettResults provides an online solution for international PR through its intranet system called the PR Control Centre (PRCC), which serves as a content management system that allows document sharing. "It's built on a Microsoft platform and it allows us to work in real time across many different countries," says Nick Leighton, CEO of NettResults. "We need to be able to project manage a number of different things that might be going on."
Editorial/Features By Kelley Bligh - March/April 2012 Issue,
For most of us, a few days away from the computer results in a few hours of sifting through email messages and other documents delivered during the offline period. Now imagine that you've been asked to sift through several years of email and other documents to find information specific for a lawsuit against your company.
Editorial/Features By Sue Marquette Poremba - January/February 2012 Issue,
It goes without saying that innovation is a process that will be forever in motion. Whatever its speed may be, technology is eternally, invariably moving forward. So when it comes to discussing technology, the conversation inevitably turns to the subject of the latest advancement or to predictions of the next big step forward.The questions, "What's new?" and "What's next?" are especially salient in the field of intranets, where technologies, tools, implementations, and integrations are never quite as far along as perhaps they might be, since the outward-facing online environments tend to take up most of an organization's figurative bandwidth.
Editorial/Features January/February 2012 Issue,
Privacy and security are pressing issues in the digital age. This year alone, data breaches ranged from a Bank of America employee leaking confidential information to celebrity cellphones getting hacked. Enterprises have more reason than ever to implement strategies to reduce the risks.
Editorial/Features By Kate Poole - November/December 2011 Issue,
Content providers face a host of challenges-new information sources, new channels, new formats, a new social networking culture, new competitors, and above all, higher consumer expectations. As the information environment grows more complex, users paradoxically expect the information experience to be both richer and easier.
Editorial/Features By Seth Earley - November/December 2011 Issue,
In her book Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other, MIT Professor Sherry Turkle reveals the dark side of our supposedly wonderful, "connected" lives. She writes about the increasing addiction people have to always being online and accessible. Turkle went on IBF 24, the Intranet Benchmarking Forum's 24-hour intranet and digital workplace marathon. She discussed the pitfalls of feeling more and more connected, while being more alone, with the IBF's members.Whether it's someone checking a friend's Facebook page instead of asking that person out to catch a movie or a busy parent working over the weekend thanks to the ever-present BlackBerry, there are problems associated with being permanently "connected." Turkle calls for a kind of "technology awareness" where people reclaim some of the power they have lost and take back control from the little blinking, beeping devices that have taken over their lives.Company intranets are in an unusual position to address this problem. Poorly designed intranets and portals can pose as models of efficiency while eating up valuable employee time and contributing to the feeling that employees need to be working around the clock. Good intranets, however, can truly offer value to employees -whether it's by streamlining and organizing workflows or by offering innovative, helpful tools to solve real problems.
Editorial/Features By Paul Miller - September/October 2011 Issue,
As one of the fastest growing companies in the production chemicals industry, Multi-Chem offers oil field products, gas well treatments, and pipeline solutions that are designed to enhance the production, processing, and transportation of oil and gas. Although a leader in its industry, Multi-Chem's internal business process was lagging behind."We needed to have a way for documents throughout our company to be cataloged and to be tracked through the workflow process," Jim Honea, director of information technology, explains. A lot of papers were getting lost, email was being shuffled, and information that was supposed to be approved was missed. "Accounting couldn't figure out certain things about capital expenditures, and human resources had trouble tracking who was taking time off."
Editorial/Features By Sue Marquette Poremba - September/October 2011 Issue,
Founded in 1984, Nu Skin is a direct sales, skin care, and wellness company based in Provo, Utah. Nu Skin sells its products through sales representatives, and due to the multitude of sales reps selling in many different markets worldwide, Nu Skin's design, photography, marketing, events, science, and regulatory departments regularly need access to multiple types of digital assets.
Editorial/Features By Kelly Bligh - July/August 2011 Issue,
Licensed content is a proverbial double-edged sword. It can rapidly expand the knowledgebase of a work force to untold horizons, but it also presents a unique challenge for organizations that lack experience with knowledge and license management. And yet if used correctly, the benefits of supplementing an enterprise's intranet with licensed content far outweigh the downsides, making it less a question of whether or not to use licensed content than one of how best to manage, store, and distribute it. The challenges may be sizable, but so are the rewards.
Editorial/Features By Kurt Schiller - July/August 2011 Issue,
The Copernicus Group Independent Review Board (CGIRB) has a mandate to protect human research subjects within clinical research projects. This results in millions of pages of documents coming in to CGIRB, including things such as the study's protocols, the informed consent forms signed by the human subjects, and the credentials of the investigators. On an average weekly basis, CGIRB was generating the equivalent of 22' of paper.
Editorial/Features By Sue Marquette Poremba - May/June 2011 Issue,
Kathmandu provides quality outdoor clothing and equipment for travel and adventure throughout stores across New Zealand, Australia, and the U.K. Kathmandu's head office faces the challenge of communicating efficiently and consistently to a dispersed and rapidly expanding network of retail stores. The company enlisted Intranet DASHBOARD (iD) to create an intranet not only to address these challenges, but also to improve the overall operational efficiency of the company in readiness for ongoing growth and success.
Editorial/Features By Connie Pandos - May/June 2011 Issue,
Portal is a term that is overloaded with definitions. Discussions revolving around a portal project offer no guarantees that everyone has the same understanding of the term. Officially, the purpose of a portal is to provide a point of access for information, data, applications, and processes. Today, portals are everywhere; it could be argued that portals define today's online experience, whether using public sites or a corporate intranet. Portals are pervasive, and they fill many different needs in different situations.
Editorial/Features March/April 2011 Issue,
Each year, the Intranet Innovation Awards (IIA) celebrates new ideas and innovative approaches to the enhancement and delivery of intranets. The goal is to find these ideas (whether they are large or small), and share them with the community. Gold Awards are given in four different categories, each focusing on a specific aspect of intranets: core intranet functionality, communication and collaboration, frontline delivery, and business solutions. A Platinum Award winner is then chosen to recognize the most extraordinary entry for the year.
Editorial/Features By Alex Manchester - March/April 2011 Issue,
"[W]hile the role of technology and digital networks such as the Internet or intranets is important for the perceived KM, technology is just an enabler. ... The role of technology is only an enabler within KM initiatives that includes business and people. ..." (from Chapter 1 of KM-WM).
Editorial/Features January/February 2011 Issue,
Early this decade, the U.S. Navy was involved in a number of major global crises - such as disaster relief for tsunamis and hurricanes. The U.S. Navy Office of Information was responsible for sharing photos, videos, reports, and images to media outlets. Damon Moritz, video program manager, was just beginning his career with the Navy Office of Information at this particularly hectic time. At that same time, the department was changing from a tape-based workflow to an all-digital workflow.
Editorial/Features By Sue Marquette Poremba - January/February 2011 Issue,
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is the largest scientific organization in the world dedicated to research focused on the understanding, treatment, and prevention of mental disorders and the promotion of mental health. For the Institute to fulfill this vital public health mission, it must foster innovative thinking and ensure that a full array of novel scientific perspectives are used to further discovery in the evolving science of brain, behavior, and experience.
Editorial/Features November/December 2010 Issue,
Intranet security is no less important-it's arguably more important-than website security and general internet access security. In fact, the discrepancy in emphasis in security among these things is analogous to a building with three walls: Some parts may be solid, but a sound complete structure is not built, and additions to the existing walls don't really improve overall security.
Editorial/Features By Denis Zenkin - November/December 2010 Issue,
In April 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation put new regulations into effect regarding long tarmac delays. For Continental Airlines, transforming this regulation into a workable reality means ensuring that dozens of internal departments and individuals can quickly and easily communicate with any of a number of outside vendors at any given point.
Editorial/Features By Sue Marquette Poremba - September/October 2010 Issue,
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is responsible for publishing the "bible" of the accounting world, the U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). In the past, when an accounting firm and auditors needed the answers for even routine questions, it meant searching through thousands of pages, which was costly for businesses in terms of time, money, and responsiveness. It was clear that a better solution was needed.
Editorial/Features By Errin O'Connor - September/October 2010 Issue,
As one of the world's largest multinational organizations, Shell faces the daunting communications challenge of connecting and engaging a global work force of about 102,000. Spread over more than 90 countries and territories, these employees come from diverse cultural backgrounds and speak a multitude of languages. In 2003, it became apparent that a consolidated intranet presence was the obvious way to create the necessary synergies between staff around the world.
Editorial/Features By Connie Pandos - July/August 2010 Issue,
In 2008 Deltacom organized a team to provide an innovative approach to online customer relations. The result was a highly innovative use of open source technology to provide a rich customer portal for real-time support, online bill payment, and plan adjustments, all focused on customer satisfaction and new revenue growth.
Editorial/Features By Eric Kierstead - July/August 2010 Issue,
With more than 400 full-time staff members and a similar number of student assistants, the student affairs division had been struggling with gaps in its support of technology, as well as barriers in the effective sharing of information across departments. To address these challenges, the Division of Student Affairs created Student Affairs Information & Technology Services (SAITS) with a goal of ensuring compatibility and common functionality across the division.
Editorial/Features By Devang Mehta - May/June 2010 Issue,
In today's global economy, collaboration among knowledge workers is vital, with distributed employees needing to work with coworkers, partners, and customers across time zones and differing technical environments. For enterprise IT managers, the challenge is finding the right mix of tools that spur collaboration as employees strive to meet constantly changing business requirements and customer expectations.
Editorial/Features By Mark Grilli - May/June 2010 Issue,
The variety of industry verticals that can benefit from reinventing their intranets with social software never ceases to amaze. Take the interesting case of FONA International, a company that designs and manufactures flavors for many of the world's largest food and beverage companies.
Editorial/Features By Eugene Lee - Mar/Apr 2010 Issue,
Intranets have long promised to help deliver a more networked organization, provide cost efficiencies via improved business systems and processes, enable better internal communication and employee engagement, and more. Idealized by many as "the hub for the business," how many intranets actually meet that vision?
Editorial/Features By Alex Manchester - Mar/Apr 2010 Issue,
Edelman is the world's largest independent public relations firm, with 3,200 employees in 51 offices worldwide. With Edelman's existing corporate intranet, users often required help from IT to update individual webpages and couldn't personalize their information or intranet pages. Edelman wanted to revamp its intranet, making it easier to use and more engaging for employees.
Editorial/Features Jan/Feb 2010 Issue,
Social media has opened the floodgates of content, yet one wonders if most of this content is knowledge. While some might be thought silly or even offensive, someof it is interesting, informative, and even inspirational. The immense amount of content flowing through these channels is baffling, and there is no doubt that there is a lot of knowledge created within this realm.
Editorial/Features By Qusai Mahesri , Farida Hasanali - Jan/Feb 2010 Issue,
Panasonic sought a better way to supply technical information to its authorized service center (ASC) partners, because it had thousands of documents spread across the business that it needed to draw on at different times. The company selected a solution from Intranet DASHBOARD (iD) to manage and publish documents for its network of 600 ASC partners using one central extranet platform. The iD platform launched in late 2008, giving Panasonic's partners instant access to the technical documents they needed in one easy-to-use location. Partner feedback has been positive, with traffic more than doubling since the iD platform launched.
Editorial/Features By Connie Pandos - Nov/Dec 2009 Issue,
In a few short years, Alpharetta, Ga.-based Infor has become the third largest provider of business software worldwide, with more than $2 billion in revenue, more than 70,000 customers, and 9,000 employees. Infor offers a full range of enterprise business software including CRM, asset management, enterprise resource planning, and financial management-along with a host of industry-specific tools. Due to its explosive growth, Infor decided to implement a single sales enablement platform companywide to streamline some of its increasingly complex operations and enable the entire company, including staff, sales teams, marketing, presales, and services, through internal, channel, partner, and customer-facing portals. Giving prospects the information they need in a timely fashion is an integral part of Infor's business model.
Editorial/Features By Craig Nelson - Nov/Dec 2009 Issue,
What can you make with Plasticine? Anything, really, depending on your sculptural talents and your com­mand of fine motor skills, although that “anything” is limited by the inherent properties of Plasticine. That is, you can’t make a real motor out of it, but you can make a model one.
Editorial/Features By Michael Sampson - Sep/Oct 2009 Issue,
When managing a company's business processes, there's something to be said for seeing "the big picture." As group network manager, my team responds to the needs of five companies, including two international firms and a sales and manufacturing plant in India. While GIS (our corporate IT team) drives IT overall, I'm responsible for group-level IT, including business processes, application integrations, and IT initiatives.
Editorial/Features By Bruce Lawrence - Sep/Oct 2009 Issue,
Lourdes Hospital in Paducah, Ky., has a long and storied history as an integral part of the area’s healthcare system. Like so many hospitals across the country, Lourdes struggles to provide a high standard of care for all of its patients while trying to contain costs. And like so many other healthcare providers, Lourdes is finding that increasing efficiency through new technologies may provide a means to achieve this objective.
Editorial/Features By Theresa Cramer - Jul/Aug 2009 Issue,
For the past several years, social networking services Facebook and LinkedIn have catered almost exclusively to the needs of the individual. By helping individuals share photos, links, and statuses; reconnect with friends; and find jobs, both services have built up substantial userbases. From an enterprise perspective, Facebook and LinkedIn have historically been criticized as nothing more than time wasters of the workday. However, recently there has been a marked shift by both services toward trying to provide value to enterprises. Both Facebook and LinkedIn have added or bolstered their networking, community, and collaboration capabilities in ways that will get the attention of some enterprises and yet will continue to fall short of enterprise-class for others.
Editorial/Features By Jarrod Gingras - Jul/Aug 2009 Issue,
It is generally accepted that folksonomies are most useful when they take the collective wisdom of a group and use that knowledge to organize and classify information in a way that makes the most sense to that user community. The reasoning goes that a userbase that categorizes and tags content in its own way—regardless of how unorthodox that method may be— knows what works best for itself, and a system should not dictate how an object isclassified for later retrieval. In contrast to highly structured taxonomies, a folksonomy requires less oversight, owing to its decentralized nature, and is ideal for applying descriptive data to a large number of information objects quickly and with minimal effort. Indeed, a folksonomy approach is often the best method for applying structure to an unwieldy, disparate assortment of assets. On the other hand, folksonomies with expansive tag clouds are also known for imprecision and generally lower metadata quality.
Editorial/Features By David Runyan - May/Jun 2009 Issue,
As they mature, intranets gain in personalization and collaboration features.This is one observation from the Nielsen Norman Group, based on its assessments of intranets for its 2009 annual design awards ( It certainly applies to McKesson Corp.’s intranet, one of Nielsen Norman’s 10 best. Known as McKNet, the corporate intranet encourages usage by a diverse group of employees and outside contractors.
Editorial/Features By Marydee Ojala - May/Jun 2009 Issue,
In 2006, KUKA Systems, a global manu- facturer of automated assembly lines, began to use Traction TeamPage, a wiki-based intranet solution for collaboration and sharing from Traction Software, to track and collaborate on software and process improvement in its enterprise applications group based in offices outside of Detroit.
Editorial/Features By Carolina K. Reid - Mar/Apr 2009 Issue,
In 2008, for the seventh year in a row, Zurich, Switzerland, was named by Mercer, LLC as the city with the highest standard of living worldwide. Like any city government, Zurich is tasked with getting practical information out to its residents, whether it’s about new water lines, trash collection, or the latest trendy food event. In Zurich’s case, its website was suffering from a bit of an identity crisis. So the powers that be decided it was time to revamp the city’s website—to make it an easier-to-use, more cohesive portal for web authors as well as users.
Editorial/Features By Theresa Cramer - Mar/Apr 2009 Issue,
We create websites to communicate with our key constituents: readers, customers, partners, employees, and colleagues. The experience that we deliver to our site visitors greatly depends on the quality of content that we place there. First and foremost, this content must be fresh, informative, accurate, and relevant. In many cases, it must also be engaging and entertaining. Unfortunately, producing high-quality content can be time-consuming and expensive.
Editorial/Features By Dmitri Tcherevik - Jan/Feb 2009 Issue,
According to Etienne Wenger, one of the leading thinkers in the space, “Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.” On many intranets, the employee directory or “people finder” is one of the most popular features. This popularity indicates the need that employees have to locate and communicate with others regarding particular topics or areas of practice. In fact, communication with others regarding a specific topic can be much more valuable than the actual content posted on an intranet.
Editorial/Features By Michael Hawley , Amy Cueva - Jan/Feb 2009 Issue,
Enterprise portals promise increased productivity, utility, and convenience by gathering scattered content and functionality into a single destination experience. Yet many portals become victims of their own success. Rapid expansion and frequent changes in audience and content lead to problems of poorly integrated or conflicting assets, impaired usability and findability, and inflated management and IT support costs. The cumulative inconvenience of sprawling collections of portlets stuck in a flat information architecture quickly overwhelms the value of the business assets, content, and functionality the portal brings together.
Editorial/Features By Joe Lamantia - Nov/Dec 2008 Issue,
Innovation equals originality plus impact. Innovative ideas are not simply new; they must also deliver concrete benefits, creating something of value or making things easier and quicker.
Editorial/Features By James Robertson - Nov/Dec 2008 Issue,
Wikis are increasingly gaining popularity in the enterprise and are being deployed for many different types of projects, in particular for team collaboration. While doing research at the beginning of 2008, I found that wikis had recently become ubiquitous in many organizations. Join me for a quick review of some of the common myths about wikis coupled with best practices for wikis inside the enterprise.
Editorial/Features By Janus Boye - Sep/Oct 2008 Issue,
Say the word “intranet” and many business managers cringe. Bad memories of overtime and over-budget IT projects that never delivered on their promise to increase internal collaboration and know-ledge sharing abound. Why? Because so many homegrown, custom intranets were built with little input from the end user and required technical expertise to continuously update and maintain, business users failed to adopt them. Luckily, the concept of “anytime, anywhere” access to business-critical information lured developers back to the drawing board and fueled the growth of the web-based software—software as a service (SaaS), hosted—market. Today, large and small organizations alike are getting up and running with web-based collaboration solutions in a matter of minutes, with no upfront investment in hardware or software.
Editorial/Features By Andrew Cameron-Webb - Sep/Oct 2008 Issue,
Midas, Inc. is one of the world’s largest providers of automotive services, offering brake, exhaust, maintenance, tire, steering, and suspension services at nearly 2,600 franchised, licensed, and company-owned Midas shops in 19 countries—including nearly 1,800 in the U.S. and Canada. At any given time, employees, dealers, and partners need to access a wide range of company information—from warranty data, customer feedback, and sales reports to promotions and shop policies.
Editorial/Features By Ian Davies - Jul/Aug 2008 Issue,
Two Ontario organizations have created the Online Activity Planner (OAP), which will offer an interactive collection of activities and lesson plans for coaches, teachers, and recreation providers to use with participants of all ages, though the initial focus is on development of activities and activity plans that can be used with children and youth.
Editorial/Features By Bill Trippe - Jul/Aug 2008 Issue,
In 2005, Fiat was about to face its fiercest challenge: to overcome the deep economic and image crisis into which it had plunged during the preceding years, to revitalize its brand, and to again establish a leadership position in Italy and all over Europe.
Editorial/Features By James Robertson - May/Jun 2008 Issue,
Developing a hierarchical taxonomy (or set of taxonomies) involves a great deal of decision making regarding the kind of categories, the number of categories, the number of levels, the wording of the terms, etc. While taxonomy owners or stakeholders can provide some of the answers, they often leave a number of decisions up to the individual developing the taxonomy (the taxonomist), who “knows best.”
Editorial/Features By Heather Hedden - May/Jun 2008 Issue,
Each year, organizations invest ever-increasing sums in their intranet environments. They do so for good reasons: to drive internal efficiencies, to enable staff to collaborate better, to reduce face-to-face meeting and travel time, to enable remote/home working, or to foster innovation and knowledge sharing. From time to time—particularly when substantial injections of new funds are required—senior leaders posit a question: “So if we put the $2.5 million you want into the intranet, what will the return be?”
Editorial/Features By Paul Miller - Mar/Apr 2008 Issue,
The introduction of a new software system into an existing company (and its culture) is always a challenge. All new software is at risk of being under-used, improperly used, or simply not accepted. An intranet faces additional challenges because, to a certain extent, it alters the flow of how people work and communicate.
Editorial/Features By Martin Amm - Mar/Apr 2008 Issue,
Forrester Research reports that 71% of American companies currently support web-based email to help address this challenge. Many organizations have also invested in web-based solutions for their sales force and field services applications. As employees become accustomed to accessing email remotely via a web browser, there will be an increase in demand to have the same services available via mobile devices.
Editorial/Features By Jerome Pesenti - Jan/Feb 2008 Issue,
The highly visible activities that take place aboard each NASA space shuttle mission are supported by complex behind-the-scenes efforts that ensure a safe and productive mission. Like most organizations, NASA’s operations require it to capture, categorize, organize, and provide access to a wide range of information assets used by many people in many locations.
Editorial/Features By Mary Anne North - Jan/Feb 2008 Issue,
YouTube has enjoyed a rarely seen level of mass acceptance and adoption around the globe and across many subject areas. What is it about this approach to communications that has caused its amazing reception, and how can that be applied to training and learning?
Editorial/Features By Dave Burta - Nov/Dec 2007 Issue,
Implementing a useful web analytics initiative need not require an abundance of resources. The effort does require planning, project management, and a credible assessment of analytics goals to accomplish. Let's review some key best practices to ensure a successful intranet analytics program.
Editorial/Features By Phil Kemelor - Nov/Dec 2007 Issue,
In the summer of 2004, Loyola Marymount University (, where I?serve as VP?for information technology, debuted its university portal. Although enterprise information portals had been around for years, we took a cautious approach to deploying what became known as ManeGate. Our initial portal effort was motivated in part by students looking for better ways to engage with one another electronically. The administration, on the other hand, saw the portal first and foremost as a vehicle for im- proving communication among campus constituencies—a way to simplify access to university systems.
Editorial/Features By Erin Griffin - Sep/Oct 2007 Issue,
Facets are most often used for objects, while taxonomies are used for topics or subjects found in documents. As we shall see, this difference is changing, but it explains why facets have been mostly associated with ecommerce sites rather than within the enterprise where finding documents is the dominant interaction.
Editorial/Features By Tom Reamy - Sep/Oct 2007 Issue,
The intranet offers a unique opportunity to share content. However, you must empower users to participate by providing employees the tools to create, capture, and converse within a sensible governance framework.
Editorial/Features By Audrey Scarff - Jul/Aug 2007 Issue,
Like any Fortune 500 company, Ingersoll Rand understands the importance of bringing newly hired employees into the fold the right way—with a clear understanding of who the company is, what it does, and of course, what is expected of every new employee. Providing this information is not nearly as easy as it sounds—as the leading diversified industrial company, best known for its construction and mining machinery, can attest.
Editorial/Features By David Terry - Jul/Aug 2007 Issue,
Looking at the way business is conducted today—websites, email, online document management—it’s hard to imagine how we ever managed before the internet. I find it strange that, with so many tools at our disposal, so many companies still rely on paper in the form of memos, handbooks, phone directories, and so on to manage internal communications. Even companies trying to make the digital switch by using an intranet often default to traditional inter-office communication methods. ecause we work with many clients integrating their intranets into a content-management system for the first time, we get to see many companies as they go through the process of evaluating what works and what doesn’t on their intranets. Here are some of the tips I’ve gleaned from watching that process.
Editorial/Features By David Cummings - May/Jun 2007 Issue,
Sharing information across an enterprise is difficult, much more difficult than one would expect in these latter days of the Information Age. Part of the problem is terminology. It seems every corner of the enterprise has its own language or dialect. Even though two people work for the same company, they often use different terms for the same concept and something is always lost in translation. The other part of the problem is technology. The number of the components comprising our intranets has exploded.
Editorial/Features By Darin Stewart - May/Jun 2007 Issue,
In organizations with successful intranets, the intranet champion is a C-level executive—a senior executive that reports directly to the CEO. This could be the CIO, CFO, COO, or perhaps the SVP for communications or human resources. There are organizations with decent intranets that have little support from the executive floor, but they’re not likely to have great ones. Without support from upstairs, an intranet’s potential value will be hobbled.
Editorial/Features By Toby Ward - Mar/Apr 2007 Issue,
Gathering marketing intelligence is a critical process for any company, particularly those launching a new product or service, looking to enter a new market sector, or seeking to merge with or acquire other companies. These major decisions can involve millions or even billions of dollars, and as a matter of course, companies need to be as informed as possible to execute plans that could result in tremendous success or financial disaster.
Editorial/Features By John R. McGrath - Mar/Apr 2007 Issue,
In November 2005, at an intranet standards workshop at the KMWorld & Intranets Conference, I asked which participants were building intranets in Microsoft SharePoint. Out of 26 participants, nearly half raised their hands. The fact was, whether or not SharePoint was the best portal product out there—and most agreed it had significant limitations—it was the default choice for many. And while I was a veteran designer of several portals and content management systems, I had to admit that I hadn’t spent much time with SharePoint. I decided that, given the response from the audience, it was time to educate myself.
Editorial/Features By Craig St. Clair - Jan/Feb 2007 Issue,
Every company wants to create great products that meet and exceed customers’ needs. Employees have a wealth of ideas to help develop and improve product offerings and fuel an organization’s success. But many companies find it a challenge to capture that information and harness it effectively to drive the process of customer-focused product innovation. A company-wide intranet or portal can provide a centralized hub for information gathering and collaboration, but there are overriding considerations that organizations should consider when developing such a tool.
Editorial/Features By Jennifer Fraser - Jan/Feb 2007 Issue,
Many organizations recognize the need to build standards around metadata management. These efforts range from formal data architecture boards and standards committees to less formal guidelines for tagging intranet or web content. The difficulty in getting traction on these projects depends on the extent of the effort and the impact on entrenched work practices. Most employees are not affected by “enterprise architecture standards.”
Editorial/Features By Seth Earley - Nov/Dec 2006 Issue,
I was flying the other day (actually, many of the other days lately), and I got to thinking about air traffic control. Hundreds, maybe thousands of planes are in the air, all requiring the right information at the right time to safely reach the intended destination. We should all be so lucky as pilots: real-time information, relevant and specific, all delivered when it is needed most. If companies could get the right knowledge about their businesses to the right people at the right time, we could know when we’re running out of gas, or when we’re going to be outrun by a faster plane. It is inevitable that we will reach our audience, and software will help us get there.
Editorial/Features By Jay Budzik - Nov/Dec 2006 Issue,
The planning model you choose for your intranet, extranet, or portal project can determine your success in getting initial funding, keeping the project on track, increasing user productivity, and giving the organization an acceptable return on its investment. In this article we compare time/cost surveys with three other planning models that, under the right circumstances, provide a more comprehensive, accurate, and agile roadmap for intranet success.
Editorial/Features By Jean Graef - Sep/Oct 2006 Issue,
Enterprise Portal software is often purchased to “unify” disparate intranets into a single interface. Indeed, portals are typically sold on the basis of providing a unified dashboard or information access point into diverse enterprises. But what does that interface look like, and how well does it work?
Editorial/Features By Tony Boye , Janus Boye - Sep/Oct 2006 Issue,
Email is the beloved and bane of corporate life in the digital era. It enhances real-time internal and external communication, but its simplicity and low learning curve make it the natural place for all employees to dump and distribute every kind of material. Email attachments become unregulated publishing systems; collaborations become confusing round-robin message loops with countless revised versions of the same documents; while critical communications with partners and clients are dispersed across multiple employee inboxes with no hope of tracking back important message and document exchanges. For all these reasons and more, Austin-based information security and remote access provider Permeo sought an intranet solution that could help discipline internal and external communications as well as centralize document storage and distribution for sales and marketing departments. Rather than build its own, which the company estimates could have taken more than two years, it opted for a hosted content-storage solution from Minnesota-based iCentera that turns documents and communication exchanges into custom portals for both employees and partners.
Editorial/Features By Steve Smith - Jul/Aug 2006 Issue,
Tagging, or social bookmarking, emerged in the internet this past year through popular sites like and Flickr. It allows people to put metadata (labels) on content, primarily internet links in the case of and photos at Flickr. Tagging is the “offspring” of keywords, but with some new twists. Anyone can tag anything any way they want; there is no agreed-upon or imposed taxonomy. In addition, multiple tags to the same object allow bookmarks to belong to more than one category, bypassing a limitation of the traditional hierarchically organized category systems. There are other differences between tagging and conventional classification. Readers—not just writers and librarians—get to tag. The new tagging systems are web-based, so they can become accessible to all, and for these two reasons tagging becomes social. This social quality also allows taxonomies to be built from the ground up by users, rather than be determined by designated experts.
Editorial/Features By Bill Ives - Jul/Aug 2006 Issue,
Intranets have evolved. Cumbersome and expensive technology has been replaced by software that allows almost anyone to build an intranet quickly and more cost efficiently than ever before. The challenge of making an intranet successful is no longer its technology platform, but rather maintaining the relevancy of information and inspiring employees to use it.
Editorial/Features By Andrew Sarnoff - May/Jun 2006 Issue,
Imagine you’re a high school senior wanting to pursue a medical career, but you live in a rural community in north-central British Columbia. Your school doesn’t have the human or financial resources to offer the preparatory classes you need to get into college, and the nearest school teaching them is hundreds of miles away. The 6,000-plus students of Nechako Lakes School District No. 91 (SD91,—a roughly 27,000-square-mile area encompassing 21 schools and eight communities with populations ranging from several hundred to several thousand residents—know challenges like these all too well.
Editorial/Features By Marla Misek - May/Jun 2006 Issue,
Nonprofit organizations like the United Methodist Church can put information technology to work to improve financial control and internal business processes and protect against potential abuse. IT-based solutions can help ease the management of program funds by automatically documenting donation flow and providing secure levels of access as well as providing a trail for conducting internal or even external audits.
Editorial/Features By Stephen R. Goodwin - Mar/Apr 2006 Issue,
What if your knowledge workers could easily tag important documents so they could be retrieved precisely using today’s search engines, but without the thousands of irrelevant documents that are returned in a typical search? And what if your extranet partners could use the same technique to retrieve pages relevant to their needs? Perhaps you’ve tried metatags and taxonomies with limited success, but there’s a way to go deeper, to provide utterly accurate search results. The secret is “tagging” your “memes.”
Editorial/Features By Bob Doyle - Mar/Apr 2006 Issue,
If you dismiss podcasting as over-hyped, hip tech of the week, too niche or geeky for your buttoned-down stick-to-business intranet, then pop in a set of earbuds and listen up! These downloadable audio shows for playback on remote devices (or any desktop media player, for that matter) are little more than a year old, but key corporations already rave about their effectiveness for internal communications.
Editorial/Features By Steve Smith - Jan/Feb 2006 Issue,
Each time an intranet manager establishes the annual budget for an upcoming financial year, he or she wonders if it is missing something important. The budgeting process forces the manager to think more deliberately about the enterprise intranet—where it is, where it needs to go, how many enhancements can be done in the next fiscal year, and by whom. Historically this has been a relatively simple exercise size as intranets haven’t needed to mature quickly, with companies only embarking on significant user experience or technology upgrades after much deliberation and planning.
Editorial/Features By Shiv Singh - Jan/Feb 2006 Issue,
By launching a portal independent of its corporate site, Dermik has chosen to educate consumers and healthcare providers through supplying content rather than by force-feeding sales messages compressed into 30-second TV spots. Interestingly, Dermik did not build its Skin Health Solutions portal with original content. Rather, the site is comprised of links to more than 300 other sites (including competitors’) to offer the very best of skincare content, all reviewed by an independent, professional advisory board. Dermik wants Skin Health Solutions to be the first place both doctors and patients go for information on dermatological conditions.
Editorial/Features By David Meerman Scott - Nov/Dec 2005 Issue,
Experience has shown that the challenge in realizing the best return from any system that derives value from human input—sales automation, customer relationship management, collaborative workspace, knowledge management best practice sharing systems, or an intranet that combines several of these components—is to maximize usage. In the past decade, numerous collaborative systems have been implemented at enormous expense within companies and then used rarely. As a result, there is also a general skepticism about new software solutions. In the highly competitive global business environment, many workers feel pressured by an increasing focus on productivity and little time to engage in activities with other than immediate benefits. How can these barriers to system usage be overcome?
Editorial/Features By Michael Chender - Nov/Dec 2005 Issue,
Informative is a marketing software company with offices in countries spread across the globe. Tom is a strategy consultant for the firm based in California, and Ken is a salesman working in the London office. Normally they don’t work together because they are in different departments halfway around the world. But Informative has a secret weapon—its intranet is a wiki. Wiki technology enables the rapid response participation of employees from disparate business groups and high-quality intranet content. While many intranets are operated through the established Web site model—where changes are funneled through content and technology people—wikis allow for a horizontal approach that can result in much greater participation and usage.
Editorial/Features By Adina Levin - Sep/Oct 2005 Issue,
I wonder how different the Web would be if all Internet users were required to attend one-hour training sessions on Web site surfing before firing up their browsers for the first time. Would Web sites be designed differently? Would they be more complex, functionality rich, and design immersive? Would usage be higher? In contrast, in the intranet domain we can require our users to read guides, view Web-based seminars, or even attend instructor-led training sessions (ILT) before they are given access to the company intranets. Training has become more important as intranets evolve to include new content, collaboration, and office productivity applications.
Editorial/Features By Shiv Singh - Sep/Oct 2005 Issue,
Staff directories (also known as phone directories, corporate phone books, or internal white pages) are generally the most used element of a corporate intranet. They are also one of the few tools that staff use every day, and as such, they have a considerable impact upon the efficiency of staff throughout the organization. The role of the staff directory is to provide an online source of staff contact details that is quick, easy, accurate, and complete. As the size of the organization grows, and the rate of change in the business increases, so does the importance of the staff directory. There can be no communication within an organization without the ability to first find the staff person to contact.
Editorial/Features By James Robertson , Donna Maurer - Jul/Aug 2005 Issue,
When developing intranets, companies often make significant investments in armies of consultants, whiz-bang technology, industrial-strength hardware, and cutting-edge visual design. Despite these efforts, a large percentage of intranet projects fail to meet expectations, or produce lackluster results. Often, these failures are due to the oversight of a fundamental premise: know your users and plan everything with them in mind. You are probably thinking, “Of course it’s about the user.” But this mantra is not always self-evident, nor is it easy to maintain. Many directives are quickly derailed by extraneous business goals, stakeholders who confuse themselves with users, inarticulate users, and personal agendas overriding best practices.
Editorial/Features By Manivone Phommahaxay , Evan Gerber - Jul/Aug 2005 Issue,
The issue of corporate taxonomies—systems for naming and organizing things that share similar characteristics into groups—first appeared on Montague Institute members’ radar back in 1999. At that time, we convened a roundtable to explore a collaborative development effort in which different companies, possibly in the same industry, would share the costs of creating taxonomies everyone could use. As it turned out, a cooperative joint venture for corporate taxonomies was neither feasible nor necessary. In the first place, companies can license taxonomies from many sources, including publishers, professional associations, and software vendors. In the second place, corporate information and the taxonomies used to organize it are viewed by most companies as key intellectual assets to be used for competitive advantage. But the idea of collaborative taxonomy development is not dead.
Editorial/Features By Jean Graef - May/Jun 2005 Issue,
The initial reaction of most readers, upon seeing these two ideas—complexity theory and intranets—conjoined, might be described as befuddlement, promptly followed by the question, “What does this have to do with my job and my intranet?” Well, I’ll argue here that some very interesting implications result in both theory and practice when you consider them together. Complexity theory is an interdisciplinary method that can be applied to a wide variety of subjects, including math, artificial intelligence, economics, ecology, and so on. The Santa Fe Institute is one focal point for a lot of new research. In addition, there is a growing field of complexity theory and social research with David Byrne, senior lecturer in social policy at the University of Durham, as a leader.
Editorial/Features By Tom Reamy - May/Jun 2005 Issue,
Since the early 1990s, many large corporations have used homegrown intranets, often built by IT departments, to serve as central online information hubs. While these enterprise hubs effectively function as knowledge management bases, additional ad hoc intranet functionality is becoming a strategic initiative now. However, in large part, the corporate hub approach does not suit the needs of modern project teams or task forces whose members would benefit from some of an intranet's functionality, but for who, in essence, require a virtual shared desktop. The fact is that this sort of focused team dynamic doesn't work well within the context of an organization-wide intranet. Today, the on-demand, hosted intranet model offers a viable alternative by fulfilling the time-sensitive needs of project teams.
Editorial/Features By Rick Faulk - Mar/Apr 2005 Issue,
Web site designers and information architects take special care to design good navigational structures with hierarchies and site maps to aid users in navigating sites or intranets. However, because intranet users are repeat visitors, they are likely to be less interested in navigation and more interested in searching. The difference? Navigating means getting to know one’s way around a site, becoming familiar with the content in general, and knowing approximately where to find what. Searching involves trying to go directly to some specific piece of information. Once intranet users have garnered a basic lay of the land, they are much more likely to be searching for specific information than to be navigating about casually. Thus, a good search tool is essential for an intranet’s usefulness.
Editorial/Features By Heather Hedden - Mar/Apr 2005 Issue,
IBM has launched an array of new open standards-based software and technologies that are designed to give organizations the choice and flexibility to build the "front end" of their collaborative solutions on a variety of client devices, from PCs to mobile devices. In addition to new software enhancements, IBM is also introducing new Workplace development tools, enhanced business partner programs, and a new hosted solution that allows customers to leverage IBM collaborative software on demand.
Consolidation continues to impact many industries as competitors jockey for market position, an inside track to a more desirable product offering, and other business imperatives. Whenever organizations evaluate significant operational consolidation—be it the merger of two multinational conglomerates or the relatively simple combination of departments within the same business—careful human resource planning must be a priority. Sstudies of businesses that have gone through a merger and acquisition (M&A) experience reveal that the extent of human resources integration planning involved can be among the most pivotal factors influencing the long-term success of a consolidation effort.
Editorial/Features By Mark Gilbert - Jan/Feb 2005 Issue,
Over the last several years, many large organizations have developed intranets and portals to serve the role of a centralized information access point, often backed-up by a searchable content repository. More recently, accompanying the development of business process management and collaboration software, intranets and portals have found other ways to meet employee’s needs. Yet for all of these technological solutions, sometimes the answer to a given problem lies not in a database, but inside the head of a human being. The question is, how do you find that person, especially inside a large organization, where employees may be spread out over a large campus or even across the world? The answer may come from a growing niche market known as Expert Locator software. These software packages and, to a lesser degree, people-finder technologies, help employees in large companies find one another, often saving time, effort, and employee hours and even cutting the cost of getting a product to market.
Editorial/Features By Ron Miller - Jan/Feb 2005 Issue,
Since their appearance in the late 1990s, intranets have offered a way to deal with a variety of business issues—in practically every industry and business type. On the back-end, they help address issues of application sprawl by providing a centralized framework. On the front-end, along with content management, intranets provide a single interface to employees through which they can access multiple systems. The goal of providing access to enterprise-wide content has always existed but this dream has not quite been realized—at least in part because employees still struggle to locate information stored in structured and unstructured content repositories. "Findability" has been sacrificed because of the very limited search capabilities provided out-of-the-box by intranet and CMS solutions, and, in some cases, even those provided by search vendors. The key here is out-of-the-box, because findability is an issue of more than just ready-made technology.
Editorial/Features By David Hickman - Nov/Dec 2004 Issue,
Toby Banks, a worldwide portal and workplace sales specialist for IBM, works out of his home, but routinely travels to places like Texas, Cambridge, New York, and New Hampshire. To stay abreast of developments within IBM and the wider world of technology and business, Banks—like thousands of other mobile IBM employees—hits IBM’s On Demand Workplace portal several times a day.

IBM’s On Demand portal enables Banks as well as other IBM employees and executives to access new information, participate in forums, and keep up to date on important developments in the industry. IBM salespeople use a separate educational portal: Sales Compass. And IBM is notalone. Intranets and portals are growing in popularity for elearning.

Editorial/Features By Phil Britt - Nov/Dec 2004 Issue,
Taming intranet chaos state involves more than just implementing corporate design guidelines; it requires a fundamental change in organizational behaviors and expectations. By integrating the intranet into one functioning whole, a firm signals its seriousness and commitment to a unified brand effort. It makes these seemingly abstract ideas real and meaningful.
Editorial/Features By Thomas Ordahl - Sep/Oct 2004 Issue,
While researching for this article, I got to revisit a lot of old articles and studies from the early days of intranet development, in part because that is when most of the articles that dealt with culture and intranets were written. I also interviewed a number of people working in various positions in the intranet world, and surveyed its customer base to help me understand the corporate culture challenges facing intranets today. Considering the range of inputs, there was a remarkable unanimity around the most important difficulties in getting acceptance of intranets within organizations. There was also agreement about the most successful strategies in solving those difficulties. However, the early articles revealed a very interesting dimension to the intranets and culture interaction that continues to be a real problem.
Editorial/Features By Tom Reamy - Sep/Oct 2004 Issue,
Today, a series of myths surround intranets, myths that initially arose during the Internet boom days and have somehow survived. As a result, many intranet projects—whether they are new intranets or retreads of failed intranets—are still overly complex and potentially fated to remain both costly and ineffectual.
Editorial/Features By Jim Howard - Jul/Aug 2004 Issue,
Ventures marketing research project on multi-channel communications illustrated this and made me question the belief that most firms are committed to implementing an enterprise information portal. My hesitation didn’t arise because portals are bad, simply a fad, or not beneficial to most companies. I’ve just found that enterprise information portal implementation is simply too large of a project or investment for the vast majority of companies. Perhaps what most businesses really need is a somewhat scaled down technology that can deliver the benefits of a portal, without extensive and complicated development and without a huge cost: portals for mortals, in other words.
Editorial/Features By Michael Maziarka - Jul/Aug 2004 Issue,
ost people quietly going about their business creating intranets and/or extranets aren’t in it for the glory. They don’t expect to win awards or gain international recognition for their work. The very nature of intranets makes outside scrutiny—much less praise—unlikely. In spite of this, Alacra, Inc. recently sponsored an award for the best intranet or extranet project, given during the Online Information show held in London in December 2003. The award went to the London Business Support Network (LBSN) Knowledge Centre (, which beat out the BBC Research Gateway, MG Rover’s Dealer extranet, and the BT Group Legal Knowledge Team’s Library Online Project. Andrew Rumfitt, head of Online Services, Business Link for London, received the award at a gala banquet in London, with the awards presentation hosted by noted British TV News at Ten personality John Suchet.
Editorial/Features By Marydee Ojala - May/Jun 2004 Issue,
In June 2002, Forrester Research reported that about 50% of enterprise content management implementations completed during the previous five years were unprofitable. The report went on to suggest that 50% might actually have been a conservative estimate if decommissioned deployments were also factored in. According to Forrester’s market overview, improved usability emerged as the most important unmet need in the content management space. These conclusions are telling (and consistent) with our experiences as we work with companies to create and implement content management solutions.
Editorial/Features By David Goldberg , Lisa Larroque - May/Jun 2004 Issue,
In assessment of training needs should be a key component of any intranet project that introduces new functionality or other improvements to employees. While usability professionals have pointed to a reduced need for training as one benefit of proper user testing, training should not viewed as simply a Band-Aid for poor interface design. Even if proper testing eliminates interface problems, there are several reasons for viewing training as an important part of any intranet change.
Editorial/Features By Elton Billings - Mar/Apr 2004 Issue,
The reality today is that most multinational company intranets are actually multiple sites, which overlap and compete for the user’s attention. When thousands of PCs are turned on everyday around the globe, up comes the home page of the intranet…but which home page is it? It could be one of dozens of different home pages, depending on where you work in the company or what you do. In my work with international companies, I have repeatedly come across two truisms: The farther you are from the center, the more the intranet becomes your lifeline to the rest of the company; and, the farther you are from the center, the less the intranet meets your needs.
Editorial/Features By Jane McConnell - Mar/Apr 2004 Issue,
HarperCollins’ intranet consists of 70 dynamic and 10 static Web sites, which can be accessed by employees from their seven U.S. locations and Toronto, Canada. The dynamic sites are used for vacation scheduling, sending jobs to the copy center, providing sales information, accessing corporate services, and email. Static sites include the HarperCollins home page, “HarperSource,” where employees access publishing industry-specific information including external content provided by the Corporate Librarian Group, and “HR Online,” which offers information on a wide variety of human resources-related initiatives. Most of the sites draw from an SQL server data warehouse based on ASP, although the company has begun a migration to Cold Fusion.
Editorial/Features By Michelle Manafy , D.J. Spellman - Jan/Feb 2004 Issue,
The effort to keep resources up to date, particularly in a personalized environment, is pretty intense and frequently just doesn’t happen. So, spending some extra time at the beginning of your portal deployment to consider re-use of content and applications should be a priority. If you identify the opportunities for re-use up front you’re going to save a lot of time and effort.
Editorial/Features By Seth Miller - Jan/Feb 2004 Issue,
Many corporate intranets are actually made up of content directly authored or otherwise provided by representatives of each department of the corporation. In fact, some intranets are simply a collection of such departmental sites. While managing a corporate intranet is a considerable challenge, managing a departmental intranet site poses its own challenges and pitfalls.
Editorial/Features By Elton Billings -
There are three elements of an intranet strategy: an information/content strategy, a technology strategy, and a governance strategy. It is in the development of a governance strategy that most organizations fail to take account of organization issues, especially organization culture. Governance is more than “management,” although a management structure is required. and revised.
Editorial/Features By Martin White - Nov/Dec 2003 Issue,
When Microsoft’s Knowledge Network Group (KNG) conducted a user needs assessment as part of product planning for a new library Web site, we discovered our users were hungry for authoritative, organized internal information in combination with third-party content. Previously, we had focused on external, publicly available content, but data gathered in surveys, focus groups, and in one-on-one research indicated that Microsoft’s employees needed seamlessly integrated internal and external business information. Today, the Library portal delivers integrated content on topic pages and through search. Soon we will also integrate content directly into the user’s workspace.
Editorial/Features By Mary Lee Kennedy - Nov/Dec 2003 Issue,
For the purpose of this article, a learning tool is any available resource that can potentially contribute to the ongoing learning and development of an individual or team in a corporate environment. This broad definition includes items like e-books (electronic books). An e-book is a learning resource that can become even more valuable when integrated with other learning tools that are presented in context with the topic of the e-book. This article explores examples from SunLibrary to show the added employee value of having those additional learning tools.
Editorial/Features By Christy Confetti Higgins - Nov/Dec 2003 Issue,
Search engines can help find relevant documents, but a new breed of technology goes beyond simple document retrieval. These text-mining tools make it possible to discover new knowledge in the form of trends, anomalies, relationships, and patterns that span multiple documents and large document collections. By extending the way text databases can be explored, text mining can add valuable content analysis and decision support tools to existing intranets.
Editorial/Features Sep/Oct 2003 Issue,
Blogs have spread like wildfire on the Internet. Blog postings range from the trivial and vain to the witty, informative, and insightful. A blog, for those of you who have not taken a look at one yet, is a Web page of short entries arranged in reverse chronological order. Some blogs are the efforts of one individual while others are produced by a team of authors. The success of blogging as a new publishing form lies in the ease with which a new Web site can be produced “automatically.” Intranet blogs certainly can support KM. Blogs allow individuals or groups to easily encode content, store it, and transmit it via Web pages, Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds, or daily or weekly e-mail digests.
Editorial/Features By Darlene Fichter - Sep/Oct 2003 Issue,
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) is a not-for-profit division of The Johns Hopkins University. The library has developed and maintains numerous Web sites on the laboratory’s internal network. These sites include the internal home page, a research portal, and specialized topical resource sites.
Editorial/Features By Peter LePoer , Judith Theodori - Sep/Oct 2003 Issue,
An interview between the editors of Intranet Professonal and Eric Hards, who serves as Senior Web Designer, Lockheed Martin Systems Integration. Hards also serves as Web Program Manager for Lockheed Martin in Owego, New York. For the past 6 years, Hards has been working with Web design, information architecture, usability, and Web technology for Lockheed Martin’s Internet and intranet. He is an award-winning designer, considered an industry expert for intranet design and usability.
Editorial/Features Jul/Aug 2003 Issue,
An interview between the editors of Intranet Professional and Mary Lee Kennedy. Kennedy is accountable for connecting employees with the people and information they require to do their jobs successfully. Her primary focus is on the intranet and content tools for the end user's desktop.
Editorial/Features Jul/Aug 2003 Issue,
An interview betweein the editors of Intranet Profssional and Peter Morville, President of Semantic Studios. Semantic Studios is an information architecture and user experience consulting firm. Morville is also co-author of the best-selling book Information Architecture for the World Wide Web and co-founder of the Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He can be reached at
Editorial/Features Jul/Aug 2003 Issue,
An interview between the editors of Intranet Professional and Elizabeth Kellison, who has been involved in online content management for the past 6 years, first with Los Angeles-based University Access, where she helped create online undergraduate and graduate business courses and also launched a Web-based journal, @cademyonline. Most recently she worked with Isoph, a company specializing in online collaboration and learning opportunities for the nonprofit sector.
Editorial/Features Jul/Aug 2003 Issue,
Communities of practice can play a vital role in any organization, but their greatest value comes when they are leveraged for the strategic capabilities they can generate. A planned approach to community development that includes a technology infrastructure to support collaboration and learning is key to creating the value proposition for the organization, the community members, and the practice at large.
Editorial/Features By Deb Wallace , Hubert Saint-Onge - May/Jun 2003 Issue,
Recently Intranet Professional asked Jakob Nielsen, of the Nielsen Norman Group, about critical issues all Web designers need to consider when tasked with meeting user requirements on an intranet.
Editorial/Features May/Jun 2003 Issue,
In today's world, intranet professionals face many challenges in incorporating an abundance of information, both external and internal, into the daily work flow of their constituents. One of the greatest hurdles is enabling a user to easily discover, locate, and access contextually relevant information, especially if that information is provided from a variety of sources. The Digital Object Identifier (DOI), long used by the science, technology, and medical (STM) journal publishing industry for citation-based linking, now is being rapidly adopted by other content companies. The DOI affords a relatively simple, cost-effective yet powerful tool for contextually linking materials within and across intranets.
Editorial/Features By Hal Espo - May/Jun 2003 Issue,
This article will focus on infrastructure—software products to manage and deliver e-learning. The fragmentation of the e-learning market provided a challenge in writing this article. It is hard to define product categories, because there are large areas of overlapping functionality among products and a lack of agreed-upon definitions. This article will focus on the technology categories designed specifically for e-learning: courseware authoring tools, LMSs, and learning content management systems (LMCSs); provide an overview of each category; identify leading products by category; and suggest some of the features/capabilities to consider when making selection decisions for e-learning technologies.
Editorial/Features By Bonnie Burwell - Mar/Apr 2003 Issue,
It is simple. Information professionals are in the business of creating environments, like intranets, for the effective transfer of information to the appropriate users so they can create personal knowledge. This is the process of "informing" and that is what information pros do, and do well. The process of knowledge creation that happens at the user level is called learning. These two processes are important and critical sides of the same coin. Informing without learning is the equivalent of placing article photocopies and books on a desktop and not reading them. No matter how carefully selected and chosen, the end result is moot. Learning without information or content is again risky and, arguably, significantly impacts progress in an intellectual arena.
Editorial/Features By Stephen Abram - Mar/Apr 2003 Issue,
When the Web and Internet exploded in the 1990s, so too did the tantalizing promise that a corresponding wealth of understanding and communication would be available within private companies. Private companies both large and small were quick to create intranets and extranets to serve their employees, clients, and customers. By 1996, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies had an intranet up and running. But 5 years later, were they working? Not really, according to usability expert Alison J. Head in her groundbreaking research study, “On-The-Job Research: How Usable Are Corporate Intranets?”
Editorial/Features By Miriam Silver - Mar/Apr 2003 Issue,
How do you handle a problem like online issues in the workplace? It may sound like the title of a song from The Sound of Music, but many companies are finding online issues are getting more complicated every day, whether it’s the use of an intranet or the Internet. Relevant questions include the following:
Editorial/Features By J. A. Hitchcock - Jan/Feb 2003 Issue,
Intranets are networks made available to employees or to contractors to an organization. Most people assume that intranets are more secure than public networks such as the Internet. Any network is vulnerable, even internal networks operated by companies that sell secure online transaction systems. In the course of our work at commercial and governmental clients, we find many examples of excellent security systems. However, even the best security system can erode over time if security procedures are not followed and modified.
Editorial/Features By Stephen E. Arnold - Jan/Feb 2003 Issue,
e-Business Connection was a small idea that became a LotusNotes database and then took off to become an extranet. When the Information Center at MasterCard International was established in 1997, LotusNotes was leveraged to promote library services. In 1997 and 1998, e-mail was used as an alerting service to employees that covered important articles in the secondary press. In the beginning of 1999, the service had grown to the point where e-mail was inadequate. Given employee needs, the Information Center Exchange (ICE) was launched in July 1999.
Editorial/Features By Trudy Katz , Susan Merola - Nov/Dec 2002 Issue,
At UC Berkeley’s Institute of Industrial Relations, the library is charged with monitoring networked information developments, and the staff was on the watch for a campus portal product selection. While a variety of departmental intranets had popped up at UC Berkeley, no single standard had emerged. The campus had plans for a major new portal, but the exact scope of the product was unclear. Rather than wait, the library staff partnered with IIR’s desktop support staff to create an Institute-wide intranet. The challenge was to create an intranet that would work with the other products and services available in the campus system without duplicating them.
Editorial/Features Nov/Dec 2002 Issue,
The medical library is an essential part of every academic hospital. Medical staff constantly evaluate clinical findings at the patient’s bedside to establish the diagnosis and to provide evidence-based treatment options. Excellent care is the desired outcome. The search for medical literature is an important tool for the evaluation and precipitates a connection between the staff at the patient’s bedside and the medical library. Access must be time-effective to provide the best possible care for the patient. This article discusses how the Sidney Liswood Library at Mount Sinai Hospital used PDAs to facilitate bedside health information.
Editorial/Features By Sandra Kendall , Dr. Sandra Fischer , Dr. Stephen Lapinsky - Sep/Oct 2002 Issue,
The word “gadget” has been used since the 19th century to describe small mechanical or electronic devices with practical uses. Personal digital assistants (PDAs), pocket, tablet, and panel PCs, and a menagerie of accessories are the gadgets “du jour.” This article explores the range of gadgets available, how these gadgets interface with the intranet, and possible applications.
Editorial/Features By Barbara Fullerton , Lori Belle , Tom Peters - Sep/Oct 2002 Issue,
XML is the most important technological advance for information professionals since the Web. Extensible Markup Language (XML) increasingly provides the underlying technological infrastructure for many of the information systems and services used every day. For a profession that is founded on the collection of information and the provision of services to users who wish to use that information, it is hard to think of a more useful tool. This article briefly describes XML and how it can be used, then highlights particular uses of it in libraries.
Editorial/Features By Roy Tennant - Sep/Oct 2002 Issue,
As intranets grow, providing access to more and more documents, their value grows. The larger the collection, the harder and harder is becomes to find that important presentation, contract, or HR form. Enterprise Information Portals (EIPs) provide a starting point to intranets, and a search engine helps locate information, including archives and unstructured data. Search engines need to be tuned and indexed to provide the best answers.
Editorial/Features By Avi Rappoport - May/Jun 2002 Issue,
It is never too early to begin thinking how a new Web site or intranet is going to be launched. What promotion activities will usher in the new online resource? What are the promotion objectives? How will activities be coordinated? Who is going to do the work and make it happen? Whether revamping an existing site or bringing a new intranet online, it is important that plans include the resources and time needed for a promotion rollout. Here are seven components of a launch plan that put a rollout on the fast track to success.
Editorial/Features By Christine A. Olson - May/Jun 2002 Issue,
This case study presents the benefits of adopting an intranet for the sales force of Centurion Vehicles Inc. of White Pigeon, Michigan. Centurion moved from a paper-based business to one that relies on the intranet for daily operations. Centurion is the leading U.S. manufacturer of luxury conversion vehicles, taking standard vans, SUVs and pickup trucks and turning them into feature-rich, high-quality vehicles with all the comforts of home.
Editorial/Features By John Falk - May/Jun 2002 Issue,
This article covers when—and why—you should consider the technology route for taxonomy development and deployment.
Editorial/Features By Bonnie Burwell - Mar/Apr 2002 Issue,
An outline of how to build a mixed human/auto categorization model Tom named "cyborg."
Editorial/Features By Tom Reamy - Mar/Apr 2002 Issue,
Through work with corporate clients over the past three years, Open Door Technologies, LLC, a services firm specializing in enterprise portals and knowledge management, has developed a clear process for planning and defining an enterprise portal project. It is evident that the definition of the project is the critical element in projecting success. That process is explained in detail in this article.
Editorial/Features By John Quirk, Jr. - Jan/Feb 2002 Issue,
Intranets consist of a number of different parts, including these key features and functions: Portals, Content Management, Knowledge Management, CRM, and Enterprise Information Systems. The first step is to know what type of intranet a particular group is thinking about or wants to deploy.
Editorial/Features By Steve Arnold - Jan/Feb 2002 Issue,
A discussion of auto-categorization, what it can offer a corporate intranet, and a case for a mix of human and auto-categorization.
Editorial/Features By Tom Reamy - Jan/Feb 2002 Issue,
Successfully managing intranet projects is a challenging task. Most intranet managers have experience managing a particular area, such as a corporate information center, marketing, IT, or publication areas. We know one functional area or type of work extremely well and suddenly we’re in charge of a multi-faceted project that requires multi-disciplinary and leadership skills, along with an understanding of other functional areas. Intranet project success requires that several areas come together which basically boil down to people, technology, and money.
Editorial/Features By Darlene Fichter , Frank Cervone -