Altimeter’s latest report now on Enterprise (inside of companies) social networking is now out from Charlene Li, author of Groundswell, Open Leadership and my business partner. She conducted thorough analysis by surveying 185 users, surveyed 81 ESN decision makers and interviewed 12 technology vendors.
Key findings that attracted my eye include:
Long term adoption often unsuccessful beyond one department. What’s interesting is there’s lots of initial enthusiasm but a slow decline after deployment. In many cases, primary adoption occurred in the marketing/product section, IT, followed by sales and corporate communication.
Highest adoption of fremium tools. Interesting breakdown of vendors, with self-service Yammer in the lead, followed by Chatter and Tellingent and IBM connections. What’s interesting is these fremium tools enter the market, get their hooks in and grow adoption and switch to premium offerings.
Companies are measuring in the wrong way. Lack of metrics (or measuring the wrong way) by focusing on measuring conversations or engagement –rather than measuring improvement in relationships
Who said social media will reduce emails?
What’s interesting is that enterprise social networks don’t actually reduce internal email. The report also includes an actionable plan to get started, while there’s lots of details in the bullet points (filled with real world examples from real research interviews), they include four ways ESNs drive business value, including: 1) Encourage Sharing, 2) Capture Knowledge, 3) Enable Action, and 4) Empower people.
Open Research: Use it, Share it, and We’ll Publish More
We’re continuing to publish reports, and have a growing archive on our site, and will be doing a variety of webinars in support of these research findings. If you found them helpful, we look forward to you engaging with us in the conversation, and appreciate you using, sharing, and applying the findings.
Enterprise Intranets are an often overlooked corporate asset. These powerful tools represent the knowledge, relationships, and processes of a company, yet for the most part they go under-resources, under-appreciated, and given third-class citizenship to the public site and customer or partner extranet. We know they are important as they are a direct reflection of your corporate culture.
If a company’s competitive strength is it’s employees and how they work together, the intranet is a valuable tool. Secondly, with many baby boomers in the United States retiring in the near future a great deal of corporate knowledge will be lost, how will you capture and distribute this tacit knowledge?
The Challenges of the Enterprise Intranet:
There’s a few major reasons why the intranet is not fully utliized, it really comes down to corporate prioritizies and resources.
1) Leadership not employee focused. Web strategy is often owned by the Marketing department, or a dedicated web team, they have specific business goals to hit, and they are often aimed at marketing or customer focused –not employee focused. 2) Little love from IT: IT often owns the infrastructure, systems, and applications that the Intranet sits on top of, and they often are focused on ERP project and leave the intranet in a ‘maintaince and manage’ mode. 3) Value not recognized: The intranet management team (if you have one) is perceived as a corporate cost as it can’t directly generate revenue further perplexing the problem 4) Too many cooks in kitchen: Many constituents from Marketing, HR, IT, and every business unit make decisions at an enterprise level difficult, unwieldy, and often not worth the effort. 5) Decision makers oblivious: Management and decision makers don’t use the intranet, they rely on administrative staff for scheduling, sometimes emails, and any intranet tasks, the pains and opportunities are rarely seen.
Evolution of the Enterprise Intranet
Intranets have a variety of stages as it evolves, I’ve listed out the natural growth pattern that I’ve seen.
1) Disparate: The early stages of an intranets birth often lies in the hand of a forward thinking rogue that sets up a server beneath their desk and initiates the first behind-the-firewall website. Later, many others follow his lead and create their own intranets on modified workmachines, and then finally they are put on servers and supported by IT. These often horrific looking and abandonded websites have a disparte user experience, look and feel, and content. There is little or no consistency resulting in a fragmented experience for users.
2) Common User Experience: As the company realizes the importance of sharing information on a web repository that’s available globally and 24/7 (unlike email) the push to unify the disparate intranet into a common user experience occurs. Outsourcing to a design firm or to marketing will yield a look and feel, navigation and information architecture form. Likely, hopefully the birth of a dedicated intranet team occurs, who manage the ongoing program. They provide direction, strategy, processes, and styles for content and the experience.
3) Unified Content Management System: Unfortunately, just because the front end of the website and the processes are starting to solifidy this doesn’t mean the right tools are in place. For the intranet team to manage all the content updates, create versions, and obtain reporting becomes unrealistic. As a result, the need for the right tools are needed. In the past, these webpages may have been static created and managed by tools like Homesite, Dreamweaver, or raw HTML, the need for what you see is what you get software is a requirement. The Intranet team needs and wants to empower business owners to manage their own content within the framework of the enterprise intranet. Typically IT is resourced to obtain the CMS tool, which will likely glue into existing architectures and systems, sometimes without the consent of the experience of the user base.
4) Personalization and Enterprise Search: With the access for business groups to publish at will with their CMS system, massive content is created and documents of every flavor are uploaded. The intranet begins to progress to a great deal of information, but leaving a very unwieldy experience for users, as a result the push for ‘portal’ type of personalized homepages may emerge, where content is delivered based on team, location, and rank. More difficult than easy, this undertaking is often not completed to the full enterprise. Enterprise Search, a tool that looks at all internal documents and data repositories emerges and starts to scan, index, and serve up information for users.
5) Collaboration: Popular in the last few years, businesses started to realize that employees needed to work together on knowledge projects and the right tools to span distance and time were not available. A large influx of collaboration tools invaded the enterprise, allowing teams to share and work on documents together and in near-real time. While helpful to many, the promise of ongoing collaboration isn’t for every user, as the complexity of features can be mind-boggling.
6) Socialization: Fast forward to today, the enterprise intranet are starting to see social features, (some call this Enterprise 2.0, but I prefer to focus on outcomes) where employees can go beyond collaboration on ideas and start to tell others about themselves, connect with others, and share information. The social capital of a company (the contacts and influence within a company) starts to become realized and the need to share contacts, knowledge across the enterprise (regardless of location or team) starts to emerge. There are many challenges that come with this, as the data starts to move to application service providers if IT doesn’t respond and data, security, and personal information leave the firewall. IT departments that are too slow to keep up end up doing clean up as business units can easily deploy their own intranet using tools like blogtronix, ning, and a variety of others.
7) The future: It’s sure difficult to peer into the next 5 years, expect rich smart phones to start to access the intranet for secured users as collaboration and communication occure on the road, at home, and during weekends –the workplace (along with the intranet) goes with us.
Success Factors for Successful Enterprise Intranet
1) A centralized body that controls the User Experience. A group that can define the design, look and feel, user interface, navigation, taxonomy, and information architecture of a site. They are also empowered to enforce this regardless of polical structure. 2) Business and personal users have freedom to publish: Although the constraints for consistency are setup, the business teams are empowered to control their own content, to quickly publish, and to modify at will. A balance is needed between them. 3) Expiration of content: The worst thing that happens to an intranet is the layer and layers of retired content that is overlayed on it. The intranet team should auto-review content that hasn’t been modified after X quarters or years, identify the creator, ask if it’s valid and remove if not. 4) IT gets ahead of the need: IT needs to move away from thinking of the intranet as a system to maintain, but as a system to grow, develop and constantly build on top of. Failure to do so will result in business teams finding their own third-party software, installing or running on a remote server. 5) A social sandbox for employees: Currently, many employees are sharing their personal and business lives on third party social networks like Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and to some degree LinkedIn. In many situations the opportunity for self-expression or to share personal information (even in the context of the workplace) is not supported by the enterprise. Companies should provide a social networking like service for employees to connect, share, build and further relationships on the intrarnet. Clearly delineate this is separate from the other area of the website, but give freedom for unique ideas to spread, grow, and be built.
So where is your intranet? which Challenge? What stage of evolution? Which success factors are present
For each of the three sections above which relate to you or your clients? Share with me in the comments:
My intranet background: I don’t talk about it as much now, as I’m more focused on social media, but it’s still a passion. But in the past I’ve managed a global enterprise one for Hitachi Data Systems, aligned one at World Savings (now Wachovia) and did UI design and management at Exodus and Cable and Wireless America. Details on my profile.
Before you join that next company, consider asking for a look at the corporate intranet first. Why? The intranet is a direct reflection of the ethos, soul, and culture of a company.
An intranet is important, it’s the collective knowledge of your employees, a collection of resources, and directories that should enable business to move forward faster (cost savings) and to grow and support customer focused teams (revenue generation). I’ve read research that indicates that 40% of the United States population will retire in the next few years, (Update: US Census reports that 26% of all Americans are baby boomers. 78M over US population of 298M, since youth and elderly are not working, 40% isn’t much of a stretch) and intranets are a key way to harvest the tacit knowledge from these information wealthy individuals.
[An Intranet is an accurate reflection of the inner workings and 'Corporate DNA' of a company]
My German uncle (I’ve a diverse family) runs the health department for a major county in California, his roots are with health inspection of restaurants. He told me one indicator of a cleanliness of a kitchen is to first check out the restroom, it’s often managed and cared for the same way. Intranets are often the same indicator for it’s internal culture. I know as I was an intranet manager, and have been involved with those programs in four previous roles.
You can tell a lot from the intranet, the way it’s designed, displayed, organized, the content all reflect how the corporation is run. Take a closer look at your intranet and compare it to the following attributes
What are the comparative attributes of a corporate intranet?
Structured Organization or Loosely organized Is the architcture of your site tightly wound around the features of an existing CMS system, or loosely created by different collaborative groups? This is an indicator of how the company may be managed, either centralized or run by different factions.
Static or Dynamic Is the content rarely updated, or is frequently changing with the speed of business? This could indicate how information is being shared (or not) within the enterprise.
Text based or Media Focused Is the content primarily text and information geared, or are there uses of more ‘human’ mediums like images, maps, videos, audio? Is your company focused on delivering hard raw data, or sharing the human and ‘life’ stories among employees.
Disparate or Centralized Is the user experience of your intranet different with every business group? or is it centralized within a single framework. This is a clear indicator of how your company is likely setup.
Product/Customer focused or Employee focused Is your intranet focused on selling of products, or customers, or on the lifestyle of employees, and how they communicate. I’ve worked for a company where the sole purpose of the homepage was to push sales and marketing information to employees, nearly brainwashing. This indicates the true focus of a company. For example, Intuit is truly employee focused, and former employees tell me the intranet is setup this way.
Top down publishing or Bottom up publishing perhaps the most telling attribute, if your intranet a publication of just a few key members with power, or are the voices and knowledge shared from across the enterprise? Does management lead with an iron fist, or are the suggestions from the employees on the ground floor (ones dealing with customers/products from day to day) taken into account?
Publishing from Business or Technology Group Is the content published by a technology group, or is it in the hands of business? I’ve seen some intranets (a business tool) be controlled and owned by IT, which is clearly a mis-use of human tool to empower business units to communicate. This is a reflection of how business information is handled or respected, from a technology perspective or from a business perspective.
[By looking at the organization, content, and publishing of your intranet, will indicate how your company is managed, prioritized, and focused]
You can learn a lot from your enterprise intranet, it’s a telling mirror of the culture and ethos of your company. Now to hear from you: So how was/is your intranet organized? Does it reflect the corporate DNA of your company culture?
In the spirit of self analysis, Dennis McDonald often posts the top downloaded documents on his blog. If you don’t know Dr Dennis, he’s an experienced, and level-headed IT consultant that I’ve known and been communicating with since 2005 (I guess we were thinking ahead). In fact, we started a white paper in late 2005 called “Business and I.T. Must Work Together to Manage New “Web 2.0″ Tools”.
If you’re a new reader to my blog, you may be surprised to find out, that before I became so focused on social computing, I was actually an enterprise Intranet manager on the business side, and have worked on a total of 4 intranets, for some of my career, internal knowledge management was my passion.
Although I don’t have many docs on my blog, I logged into Google Analytics, and pulled this data.
Here’s the top 5 posts in the last 6 months:
The first was the blog index page, so I don’t need to include that.
Views are ‘page views’ and Attention is duration spent on post (very important), I’ve included other interaction elements too such as comments, add them up and you’ll get a sense of user engagement.
You’ll notice that for the most part, the traffic for these posts are not high, but it’s the interaction, the multiple comments, that make them stand out.
If I had more time, I would go into Delicious, Magnolia, Technorati, and Stumbleupon to find others tags, comments and metadata associated around the content.
Need to build an online community that collaborates?
I get asked by a lot of folks to provide recommendations for products, often there’s too many companies to keep analyze, so I make these lists and refer folks to them. One of my most popular index lists is the list of companies that provide White Label Social Networking solutions, in fact there’s over 60 in that space.
Here’s a list of companies that provide collaboration platforms with turn-key social features for ‘instant’ community.
Collaboration tools and social features
Common features, but are not limited to, include: forums, wikis, blogs, media, rss, aggregation homepages, presence, instant messaging, and ability to connect to identity systems such as LDAP/Active Directory.
These tools may have social networking features, that’s optional, but should certainly scale to it.
These platforms can be used in intranets, extranets, or public communities.
Limitations: I am NOT seeking platforms which you could build these features on top of it, I’m really seeking a ready-to-go community suite. I’m seeking solutions to build community, not ERP systems (but if they have both, that could be included). See my list of web-based CRMs.
List of companies that provide collaboration platforms
“Alfresco is the leading open source alternative for enterprise content management. The open source model allows Alfresco to use best-of-breed open source technologies and contributions from the open source community to get higher quality software produced more quickly at much lower cost. Our goal is to not only provide an open source offering but to surpass commercial offerings in terms of features, functionality and benefits to the user community. Alfresco is built by a team of leading members from Documentum® and Interwoven® with 15 years experience in Enterprise Content Management (ECM), including the co-founder of Documentum. ”
“Blogtronix is a social media platform for Enterprise 2.0 communication. We provide a single, unified system that includes blogs, wikis, and social networking. Unlike other companies, we are able to offer a product that’s easy to use, scalable and can be delivered either on-demand or as a software. We’re equipped with a rich feature set that includes vlogging, podcasting, flash as well as a fully customizable interface. Our applications range from corporate in-house collaboration to global user created networks. ”
“Central Desktop provides simple project collaboration tools for business teams.
Our tools help your business organize and share information efficiently, communicate with others and collaborate on projects.”
CommunityZero by Ramius
“CommunityZero’s many features simplify community management and support group communication by making it easy for users to share information and knowledge online. Read on to learn more about these features.”
“Drupal.org is the official website of Drupal, an open source content management platform. Equipped with a powerful blend of features, Drupal supports a variety of websites ranging from personal weblogs to large community-driven websites.”
“iUpload enables Internet-based business communities for the purpose of improving communications, enhancing customer relationships, driving sales opportunities and gathering marketing data.”
“We develop award-winning collaboration software that improves a company’s productivity through open collaboration among employees, partners and customers. We’re located in downtown Portland, Oregon.”
Lotus Connections, IBM
“IBM Lotus® Connections is social software for business that empowers you to be more innovative and helps you execute more quickly by using dynamic networks of coworkers, partners and customers.”
“A leader in social media software solutions , Pluck helps transform how publishers, media sites and major brands engage their audiences and customers to discover, create and distribute information online. Providing the technologies for content generation, syndication, social networking and news personalization, Pluck helps its customers more easily consume and leverage the new open content model that has emerged as the cornerstone of Web 2.0.”
“SharePoint Products and Technologies provide enterprise-scale capabilities to meet business-critical needs like managing content and business processes, simplifying how people find and share information across boundaries, and enabling better informed decisions. Using the combined collaboration features of Windows SharePoint Services and Office SharePoint Server 2007, plus the design and customization capabilities of Office SharePoint Designer 2007, organizations can enable their users to create, manage, and easily build their own SharePoint sites, and enable these sites to be discovered throughout the organization.”
Social Networking with Enterprise 2.0 Collaboration As the Enterprise 2.0 leader, Socialtext applies Web 2.0 technologies to the critical challenges facing businesses.
ThoughtFarmer (For Intranets)
“Capture intellectual capital and strengthen workplace community with ThoughtFarmer social software for enterprise intranets. ThoughtFarmer combines the best of wikis, blogs, and social networking into an attractive, easy-to-use intranet solution for Windows server environments.”
“Founded in 1996, Traction® Software, Inc. (formerly Twisted Systems, Inc.) set out to eliminate the frustrating and costly inefficiencies in team communications and information management by creating a revolutionary web-based end-user hypertext journaling system. Traction TeamPage was first released in 1999 and, after commerical launch in July 2002, is the industry’s first and leading Enterprise Blog software. The software is deployed in leading enterprises, universities and many branches of the U.S. Government.”
“Zoho is one of the brands from AdventNet, a software company started in 1996 focusing on building affordable software for businesses. AdventNet has served a diverse range of enterprise IT, networking and telecom customers. We know our customers have a choice of many vendors, and we want to earn their business and their trust by working hard for it. And having earned their business, we want to keep them happy so they will choose to do business with us again. These simple ideas have served us well, during good times and bad. AdventNet has achieved impressive growth, and has emerged as a rock-solid supplier and partner, with sound financials.”
Sosius is an online workspace, accessible from any PC, that lets you create and collaborate. No software to buy and set up. Powerful and flexible yet easy to use.
“Simple, secure and powerful web-based workspace to help your project teams, workgroups, committees, partners, and others quickly and easily connect, share and collaborate.”
“six groups enables you to start your own community for free, about every topic, available to everyone: Start immediately with a fully-enabled community, Define the data fields for your members’ profiles, Choose your design from a large variety of templates, Benefit from the six groups community.”
“Web Crossing helps companies strengthen brands and build relationships. We are the innovative leader in Internet collaboration solutions used by online communities and project teams.” YouFig
“Create your own secure collaboration communities branded & customized for your company, school or organization.”
There’s a bunch of companies that provide document management or email type systems, this isn’t that. If you know of other companies that should be on this list, please leave a comment.
This ties in well with my recent post on The challenges that Enterprises will have with Enterprise 2.0. This mindshift is very hard for many folks to adopt. I think it’s somewhat stereotypical that the control freak is an older white male, I know people in many demographics that have a hard time with letting go. Link via Rafael, who focuses on Enterprise 2.0.
Why adopt these open, collaborative, and community tools for the Enterprise? So frequently is the enterprise Intranet overlooked as a mission critical corporate asset, it IS the soul, knowledge, and essence of the culture and company. Find out what health inspectors and intranets have in common.
Here are some of the key challenges I see Intranets, Extranets, and other systems will have in integrating Social Media with enterprise systems.
Challenges the Enterprise will have with Enterprise 2.0:
1) Understanding the term “Enterprise 2.0″
For many IT and Business departments, understanding what these terms meet will be a challenge. Anything 2.0 can turn on or turn off individuals as the ‘breakthrough we’ve been waiting for’ or the ‘word of the day’. This buzz word can hurt as much as it can help in a conservative company. If you still don’t know what it means, try Dion.
2) Adapting quickly
For many IT departments, they’re too slow or too focused on managing existing systems “keeping the lights on” than having the time and ability to research new technologies with vague returns on investment or are not mission critical. As a result, business groups will start to adopt these tools on their own in an organic fashion, creating the chicken/egg problem of MORE disparte systems, data, and iD.
3) Understanding that the Intranet is no longer internal
Recognizing that Data is outside of the network is hard for security and network groups. As IT departments don’t move quickly, employees and partners will start to share information on third party websites outside of the firewall. Employee information, corporate information will now reside on a variety of tools, not to mention social networking tools.
4) Dealing with Multiple IDs and Data
This is continuing to be an issue in every industry, how many user logins and profiles are we going to have and try to keep track of? With Open ID not taking off as quickly as we would hope, every new enterprise 2.0 service may have a different login. The more sophisticated systems will tie into enterprise directory systems, but currently, those are few and far in between.
5) Lack of Enterprise suites and solutions
The CIO would be more than likely to embrace a full ‘enterprise suite 2.0′ that has all the tagging, networking, and other knowledge and community tools, but today, they’re very peace meal. Take for example Delicious, a knowledge sharing tool outside of the enterprise, doesn’t offer a suite of services. The CIO wants turnkey enterprise solutions, this is what Sharepoint was supposed to be.
6) Embracing the Cultural shifts
It’s difficult for traditional folks to understand that the next generation of workers is has already networking online in college, and will bring those networks to the workplace. These new workers will already be connected to employees, prospects, and competitors, and there’s nothing a corporation can do about it. Communication in general is shifting, as my kid sister told me she only uses email to talk to old people like me. The biggest challenge? understanding that these communication tools shift power to the lower ranks and file of the company.
What do corporations need to adopt these tools for success? They need conversations like Jeff from Intel is having, I enjoy Intel as a client, they’re a big company that’s adopting change as fast as they can.
I’ve been involved with many Intranets and Extranets in the corporate environment, in fact my last job was managing the global Intranet at a Fortune 1000 company, my corporate web background is listed on my profile page. I also wrote a white paper regarding IT and the emerging web industry with Dennis McDonald entitled: “Business and I.T. Must Work Together to Manage New “Web 2.0″ Tools” way back in Jan 2006. It’s still relevant, it’s worth a read.
I guess we were thinking pretty far ahead, as just NOW IT departments are figuring out how to integrate, implement social media tools. I probably would have used the term Social Media, rather than Web 2.0 but that term had not yet crossed my vocabulary.
I guess this goes to show the time for adoption is starting now, and with Nick and Richard’s resource indicating that enterprises are more interested in feature sets from established software suite providers than one-off software start-ups, apparently the CIO is starting to wake up. (Forrester report available). Need some quick ways to get started? Mario summarizes.
What’s on my mind for a year from now? The normalization of Social Media, and how powers will start to shift and hierarchies will form, the socialist dream never will happen.
Just last week, I was present and documented how the emerging Web industry is being sought after by Enterprise IT companies, now this latest ploy is starting to flip over as Social Media features integrate into existing enterprise environments.
Social Networking is nearly present in all communities, we know that as the groups fragment by age group (and there will be more niches and fragmentations over time) that for the fores sable future, that logging on and getting instant access to existing and new friends is satisfying our human needs to connect with each other and belong. While there’s an excess of White Label Social Networking sites out there although Cisco decided to buy Five Across.
Benefits of new web tools emerging
Having spent most of my career in Enterprise IT type companies as a web professionals (four enterprise Intranets and two enterprise Extranets), I could easily make the conclusion that Cisco is entering the “Enterprise 2.0″ Market. Which when broken down into human terms suggests that they will deliver to their established customer base a pre-packaged suite of productivity tools for the Intranet and Extranet. The sell actually won’t be too difficult, as there’s productivity benefits according to commentary from the folks at ConnectBeam where I’m an Advisor. In his analysis, those that are well connected are actually highly productive. Looking forward, we all know the Internet is going to be the platform for the next TV, other rich media, and the connective tissue for networked gaming that these infrastructures are moving Cisco up the platform into the business space –Where I know that other ERP systems may already sit.
Getting ahead of the Enterprise Web “Islands”
For much of my career as an Enterprise Intranet Manager many of my projects were cleaning up all the disparate sources of rotting data, processes and finding tools that can seamlessly improve the user experience –it’s going to happen all over again. Enterprise IT Dennis McDonald, discusses how the risks of the open information age needs responsibility. None of this is really new to Dennis or I, we wrote a forward looking white paper on how Social Media “Web 2.0″ will hit the Enterprise Intranet over a year ago. It was our conclusion that IT departments need to get ahead of business groups that can deploy social media programs without the aid of IT, and I believe that Cisco and other companies are going to enable just that.
This morning, my discussion with Dennis revolved around on our predictions of why enterprise companies are headed this way, he emphasis on actual implementation as the real cruz over any turn-key solution:
“By beefing up their offerings in the collaboration and social networking space, they are following in the footsteps of Microsoft and IBM who have also been rolling out “Web 2.0 enabled” enterprise infrastructure components. The proof of the pudding will be the skills of their business partners, resellers, and integrators. Those are the people on the front line with customers who are still undecided about so much of what we in the enterprise 2.0 area have been talking about.” -Dennis McDonald
Intranet adoptions will be interesting
I can already imagine how the Information Architect community, who is just getting settled into their roles after years of proving their worth will be introduced to user created taxonomies, amorphous content structures, and the shifting and moving of data out of their control. I’m the moderator for the Intranet User Experience group, a working group that will have to deal with this.
I get it. It’s more than an Intranet play or an Extranet play. Enterprise tech companies that can successfully introduce a platform that’s tied to existing corporate directory and identity systems, provide security, handle the load, and deliver measurement and metrics have a strong chance for being a successful deployment. The bigger sale is to help those worrysome CIOs to get ahead of business groups who will downloadable blogs, networks, and systems from being deployed in a disparate. It’s also about looking at digital media, they make that clear from their push on the Human Network, you can hear from the CEO directly.
[When the CEO figures out his kids are all over Facebook and MySpace, it's just a matter of time before his next meeting with the CIO/CMO where he asks for some exploration. Embedded and established IT infrastructure companies who have a turn-key solution make the logical choice in deployment]
Delivered correctly, IT Infrastructure companies that move upward into employee productivity have a larger play in the game; productivity, reduction in future cost, lock-in to the enterprise Intranet, and hard statistics and measurement to employee communication and productivity, it’s much more than just MySpace for the Intranet.
Over the next few months, I’ll keep an eye on marketing collateral aimed at this market, let’s see how close my predictions are.
[Disclosure: Cisco is one of the 30 something clients of my employer, PodTech Network. I'm on the Advisory Board for ConnectBeam. These are my opinions only]
Internet Strategy Forum
As a resource for Web Strategists, Steve Gehlen (founder of the Internet Strategy Forum) has helped to organize and unite those that are responsible for corporate web directions. We’ve been maintaining contact over the past year, and I even had the opportunity to get lunch with Steve himself at Webvisions last summer.
If you don’t know, he’s on a mission to create a user group of Web Strategist, and has already lined up resources, meetings and educational events. He and those participating have done a tremendous job so far. Each year Steve and the ISF publishes a report that tracks our industry.
What is a Web Strategist?
In my words, a Web Strategist is responsible for the long term vision of a corporate website, they should balance the trilogy of Business Needs, User needs, and Technical limitations. About the 2006 Corporate Internet Strategist Survey Results:
One excerpt from the press release indicates that
“ …the majority of Internet strategists have a professional background in either traditional marketing (31%) or traditional IT (29%).
The majority of companies still drive Internet strategy out of the marketing department (58%) while the data shows a reduced role for IT (4% drive Internet strategy, down from 7% in 2005).
However, 20% of companies have a stand-alone department that drives Internet strategy, an emerging trend.”
I’ve access to last year’s report, and also participated in the survey for this 2007 one. There’s also a detailed report for download, you’ll need to pay for it so it can get expensed. It answers questions like:
What are the top challenges for Corporate Web Strategists?
What is the common educational background?
What percentage of Web Strategists make over six figure salaries?
What is the typical budget your programs should have?
Join your local ISF Chapter
If you’re interesting in getting more involved or want to contribute and assist other Web Strategists, you can join a local chapter, Austin, New York, and Portland are active, I was involved as a charter member of the Silicon Valley group.
Now that I’m at PodTech, which is a vendor to Corporate Web Strategists, I’m no longer affiliated with ISF, but am a friend to the organization, as such I was not paid to write this post, but consider it a resource to my audience. I’m no longer participating in ISF, but will emerge perhaps in another role. I wish you luck this year my friends.
Update Tuesday, Jan 2nd:
Clarifications from Steve:
Short on time or not near a chapter? Prospective members can join without being affiliated with a chapter since all events are available via webcast.