As we’ve all come to realize, the tired old model of the static intranet is dead. For many organizations, the intranet was a place where content went to die — where most sites and pages acted more like rarely updated billboards than collaborative spaces where employees, their managers, and leadership teams could work together, share information, and innovate. Thankfully, the static intranet is quickly being replaced by a live stream of personalized, relevant content and work activities. Streaming work activities to your personal, team, and organizational “newsfeeds” is now a core component of the modern intranet.
There is still great value in creating and maintaining an intranet within many organizations — but the expectations around the intranet have changed substantially. There are so many options out there for gathering corporate intelligence and as a central location for collaboration. SharePoint remains the leading intranet and extranet platform, and yet even the ways in which SharePoint collects and disseminates information has changed.
In my latest interview with KanBo CEO Michal Sobotkiewicz (@michalsobot), we talk about this change to the old intranet model, and how our methods of consuming and sharing information have changed — and how our expectations are that our tools and systems can be personalized, giving us exactly the data we want and in context to our current tasks and collaboration activities:
How SharePoint is Surfacing Content
The latest guidance from Microsoft focuses on how you can better surface information through SharePoint. For example, Communication Sites are a team site template that provides a dynamic, permissions-based model for the sharing of information. You, as a site owner, can determine what information is shared publicly, and, as always, SharePoint permission-trims all content that it presents. The idea is that curators (administrators) can identify and surface the data they want to promote, and employees and site visitors then see the most pertinent information.
Add to that the intelligent search and discovery experiences of SharePoint, and the system becomes aware of who you are the more you interact with the system. Your personal patterns of collaboration (your search entries, your email usage, your personal and professional connections and conversations) help the system to surface the most relevant and personalized information to you and your immediate circumstances.
That is what the modern intranet needs to provide: a real-time, personalized stream of relevant content.
When Microsoft launched Delve, it was positioned as a new home page, which caused some confusion in the marketplace. What it really demonstrated was the need for improved discovery throughout SharePoint and Office 365 — which is why Microsoft has re-calibrated its messaging around Delve, re-branding it as Intelligent Search and Discovery, and focusing on an integrated experience rather than yet another search page. What is important to understand underneath all of these marketing shifts is the growing role of machine-learning within the intranet experience, moving search and discovery away from a destination (a separate web page) and integrating the capability into every tool and system.
Communication Sites and Hub Sites are two of the most recent developments to help organizations build out intranets that do not fall into the failed models of the past, and instead focus on intelligent search and discovery experiences — not as yet-another standalone home page, but as an integrated component of all of our solutions — especially our intranets. As I mention in the video, the problem is not that we have too much information, but that our tools for filtering and sorting through the growing volume of content has not kept up with the content growth rate. Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning capabilities is the key for organizations to identify the right content at the right time, consumed through a variety of devices and experiences.
Streaming Work Activities with KanBo
Personalization is king, and automated streams are the new way in which we consume information. One of the reasons I love working with KanBo is the multiple streams of activity that I can follow, or add to when needed. I can see what is happening around a specific task or card, participate in a conversation that spans a list of tasks or entire project, or engage in a persistent chat with one or more team members — with all of these streams and activities captured within SharePoint and Active Directory, whether on prem or online.
If you’re interested in learning more about KanBo, check out the free trial. I also highly recommend you sign up for a personalized demo of their award-winning solution, allowing you to ask questions about how KanBo might fit within your unique business scenarios.