An interview with Jane McConnell

I'm Davide Del Monte, I'm an "information worker": currently I manage the intranet website of an international company with subsidiaries worldwide. Web developer and web designer, i'm interested in 2.0 matters since these issues were only academic discussions. I'm graduated in Managerial Engineering (italian readers could see my thesis about ICT technologies for Enterprise 2.0 and Project Management - 2008) . I made plans for development of corporate portals with wikies & blogs and realized several blog-based websites.


Davide: What a good intranet must have?

Jane: A good intranet must have 3 things:

  1. user focus,

  2. a strategy that is aligned to the business

  3. governance and management policies that are integrated into "business as usual"

Davide: Wich are the best practices to adopt enterprise 2.0? Is there a common roadmap?

Jane: I'm afraid there is no common roadmap. Some enterprises start with a strategy, then roll it down. Some start with grass roots experimentation, then officialise what works. Others have a little strategy and a little bottom up and both ends meet! A key success criteria is to start with the business need, not the technology. Do pilots where there is both a need and a champion.

Davide: Should wikis and blogs be used in a intranet website? If yes, is there a recommended approach to explain users wich is the right tool to use, based on contents they need to publish and feedback they need to obtain?

Jane: Wikis are for co-creation: doing things together, providing a platform for the "voice of the crowd". They are "owned' by the crowd or the group. They are multi-dimensional: creation occurs. The unexpected may emerge. Blogs are for expressing the individual voice, the team voice, sharing expertise. They carry a voice of a person or a group of people. They are 2-dimensional: a view is expressed or information published, then people can add comments or ask questions. Interestingly, my research over the last few years via the Global Intranet Strategies survey shows that only last year blogs caught up with wikis in enterprises. Both reached 45 % usage in the 2009 survey population of nearly 300 organizations around the world. Until last year, wikis were in the lead. I think companies are becoming more comfortable with blogs. Blogs are often more visible: people expressing viewpoints. They probably scare management more than wikis, which are based on collaboration, which enterprises have been doing for a long time.

Davide: Connection with ERP system, linking to corporate internet website: is it useful to have in intranet websites?

Jane: Absolutely. More than useful, it is essential. This is a key to making intranets the way of working in organisations.

Davide: Do you think that a killing application exists? Many people talk about Sharepoint.. I work on Sharepoint from two years, i think it's a great platform to build webapps, really customizable to map business processes

Jane: Sharepoint is just another solution. I don't think any solution on its own is a killer app.

Davide: External and mobile access: do you think it's a primary goal?

Jane: Not primary but very important. It's one of the 5 key trends I identified for 2010.

Davide: Wich is the best project you've done? Why?

Jane: Lots of them! The best ones are where the intranet makes a change in how the organization works, and how business is done. Intranets exist, ultimately, to serve the customers. By customers, I mean the external customers. Intranets help organizations work better: organizations work to serve their customers.

Thank you very much for this interview Jane, i hope to ear some usefull advices from you at E2.0 Forum!