John Tropea recently commented,
Anyway, I always wonder why platforms like SBS are not the Intranet itself eg. Thoughtfarmer.
I have several clients who, in fact, are using Jive SBS as their intranet. Usually, they see SBS as the chance to collapse multiple intranets obtained through acquisitions into a single piazza, or to breathe new life into their traditional intranet, or to make content publishing much easier.
The issue, though, is when Corporate Communications needs to ensure communication delivery to individuals based on their employee type: managers see ABCD, contractors see A, European employees see BC, etc. (Actually, this is also true for more stuff, beyond the Corporate Voice stuff). They want to lock down a portion of the user’s landing page. This is something traditional, portal-based solutions from Days of Yore offer, but typically requires customization in SBS systems, where users have complete control over their landing page.
Another item we run into is that traditional intranets might include application integration in the form of, “hey, let’s put the top 3-5 actions a user is allowed to perform in our ERP/CRM/HRIS/whatever system (e.g., “Modify Customer Record”) and data relevant to the user based on their permissions in that system into a portlet/gadget/web part/widget, so that users can use them directly from the internet, but they can click through to dive into the full application if they need to.”
SBS systems approach this integration from a different angle, namely, “let’s bring all the activity going on in those applications (e.g., “John Tropea modified the Acme, Inc. customer record”) into the stream of activities scrolling by the user’s eyeballs in SBS. They can click through if they want to.” The integration is starting to go the other way, too. When you pop open your CRM/HRIS/ERP/Whatever app, you could start seeing messages such as, “John Tropea linked to this record in a discussion.”
So, what I think will really make SBS systems the eventual de facto intranet, beyond the social business interaction aspect, is when they can deliver directed content based on member type, make it stupid-simple to collect activity streams from other apps based on the user’s permissions and interests, and make it stupid-simple to surface actions and data from other apps, all in a way that makes sense to the user.
That last phrase is the kicker.
Update May 21
I’ve just learned that some have read this post and misinterpreted it to mean that Jive SBS cannot serve the needs of those who do, in fact, need to ensure corporate communications delivery to specific member types, or need to integrate with different enterprise applications. My opinions address the out-of-box functionality of the general category of applications called “social business software”, but I should have known better. Who uses anything out of the box these days (unless it’s an Apple mobile device)?
Rest assured, we have customers who have done both, and more, because Jive is probably one of the most extensible platforms out there.
Jive’s ease of use, platform flexibility, and customer orientation made its focused solution the ideal choice for our Ourspace initiative,” said Wolfgang Jastrowski, Swiss Re IT Director. “The extensible nature of the Jive SBS solution gives us ample flexibility as we continue to build out our platform and its capabilities. We’re especially excited about Jive’s new initiative to surface content and activities from almost any content management system (CMS) inside Jive SBS, making it possible to realize even greater business value through the integration of social media collaboration with content.