Why so Boring

My biggest issue with the standard intranet environments within many business’ at the moment is that there is little engagement. In a world where everyone has some form of social presence on the internet, the traditional intranet environment is one of pushing information to people.

Our organisation had been using Microsoft Sharepoint since 2006 as our intranet presence. Unfortunately due to an inability to automatically upgrade early Sharepoint versions, we were stuck with an older environment. What really sucked about Sharepoint, was the inability to effectively interact. Sharepoint 2010 onwards has made significant progress on fixing the social aspect of this environment. But I have had one too many bad experiences with Sharepoint to continue with it. One significant issue was that the MS SQL Server at the back end over wrote itself for a Sharepoint 2007 instance we had.

The alternatives

There are a number of alternates out there, that deviate significantly from the Sharepoint experience. These include Huddle, Alfresco and Confluence.

Something Different

With our move to Google Apps for Business, we needed to consider what would be the best fit for our organisation. The key thing was that our intranet replacement needed to talk to the Google Environment we would be working within. We considered the adoption of a Google Site (built into Google Apps for Business), but this environment felt a little bit sterile.

We had dabbled a little bit with Google Communities within Google+. A Google Community can be setup as Public or Private and work very much like Facebook – but better. A user can place a post (text, links, videos, photographs) and people that have access to the post can view and respond to that post. A post can be shared publicly or to specific groups of people (people groups are called circles) or directly to individuals. People can re-share your posts, if you enable this, or comment (if enabled) on your post.

Because all our documents are managed within Google Drive. We can embed these documents as a post within our intranet environment. Staff can then provide comment on these posts. We now have the ability for staff to directly comment/discuss opinions regarding policy and procedures as they are being developed.