Unlocking knowledge with your social intranet

Why should you even consider a social intranet in your organisation? Surely the world doesn’t change just because there’s a new way of communicating? This is an attitude that reflects the uneven digital skills in our society, and ignores the fact that a new medium can deliver new benefits. A social intranet isn’t just about communication. It’s about finding and unlocking valuable knowledge and expertise in your organisation – a return on investment you may never have considered.

A broader community on your social intranet

Communication online is very different to what has gone before. The ease of entering a discussion in an online forum reflects the way we chat and exchange information in a face to face networking setting. However, in the real world, the people in a face to face meeting are likely to have similar expertise to you, or work in the same function, or be geographically close. Online, you suddenly have contributions from a much wider group. How could you have known that there’s someone in an office at the other end of the country who has the solution to your problem? Where would you have looked to find a networking group which included people at every level of the organisation for a new viewpoint?

Crowdsourcing ideas and expertise

Using this larger online community – crowdsourcing – is not simply a way of finding new ideas or solutions to problems. In your private social network, you also have an interest in the people involved. You are already members of the same organisation, by virtue of being, for instance, alumni of the same educational establishment, subscribers to a business network or cluster, or volunteers in the same field. When you identify a great solution, you have also found a hive of expertise and people with valuable skills who can contribute to the organisation as a whole.

Build an online knowledge base

As you use your social intranet, and encourage your members to do so, valuable information is exchanged and, crucially, retained by the system. Communication can be effective on a multitude of platforms including established social media tools, but third party systems won’t let you build the knowledge base that your organisation deserves. With deep search and strong categorisation, the nuggets of information built up through curated content, crowdsourced solutions, uploaded source material, and user discussions, can form your own dedicated knowledge base to improve best practice and performance in the real world.

A social intranet adds more value than you may think at first sight.  How could you use the skills that are unlocked in your cloud community?