Whats the Sweet Spot Between Intranets and ESNs

A speaker at a recentintranet conference宣布“内联网将在五年内死亡。”他等待令人恐惧的喘息,但没有来。

事实上,经验丰富的观众似乎同意,至少在这种意义上,我们都试图从自上而下来推动内部网,出版老年人。企业社交网络(ESNS)有时被定位为具有内联网的赔率,但实际上大多数组织都接受了两者(见Jane McConnell's年度调查).

The more pragmatic question then, is what is the right balance point?

Blending Top-Down and Bottom-Up

Many organizations have invested heavily in highly structured and well governed intranets, but they struggle to get regular, widespread content contributions. A social approach offers the promise of higher engagement levels and more dynamic content, but it requires a relaxing of control.

ESNs work best when introduced in alignment with the existing intranet. Oakley, for example, has an intranet page on the use of the Oakley brand with a side-panel where employees can ask questions and discuss the brand policy. This provides both an authoritative reference space, and also a place to enter into dialogue about the topic.


Citizens and Consumers

This tension arises because it forces organizations to reconcile two different world views: The Employee as Citizen vs. The Employee as Consumer.

The “Employee as Citizen” view is seen in a top-down leadership style focused on setting strategy and direction. A logical consequence is that employees need to know things from above in order to do their job. This makes it important that they get clear, consistent messages about what’s going on. Traditional intranets support this approach and promote content on the basis of perceived importance by leadership.


这类似于自由市场经济,消费者权力决定了如何形状。ESNS中心的大部分吸引力 - 允许每个人决定什么是重要的。另外,促进微量供应和微需求的信息服务long tailneed for specialists that an intranet with content architected from the top-down rarely meets.


  • 选择并不总是可取的,因为它导致低效率,重复和犹豫不决。例如,您真的不希望费用的内部市场声称系统。
  • Information overload has a direct cost to the organization in employee productivity (compare this with company Twitter posts, where getting more retweets is almost limitlessly a good thing).



1. Design your intranet around communities and use ESNs as the cornerstone. When you structure intranet sites around commonalities in the information (e.g. everything about pensions) or commonalities in the provider (e.g. everything from HR) it becomes hard to augment it with information produced bottom-up and organically. Instead, structure sites around communities of people (e.g. everyone who works in HR or everyone in the Birmingham office). Here, the ESN tool is the main vehicle, with intranet pages on the same site providing context and reference.


3.融合各级社区的内容,两级都是正式发布和员工生成的。社区可以被视为观众。内容可以在自上而下和自下而上,只要原点清晰明显,就像BBC Websitemixes authoritative journalism with reader comments.

4. Differentiate fact and advice. When their goal is efficiency, employees welcome authority for reference information (“How many annual days leave can I have?”). But sometimes they want options because their goal is discovery (“What is the best way to explain the features of our new product?”). Facts need clear, concise, searchable content. Advice needs flexibility, community input and quality filters like ratings.


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