At the recent Ragan Web Content Conference in Chicago, keynote speaker and online communication expert Gerry McGovern had a great riff on the problem with many corporate intranets.
“Most intranets should be subtitled, ‘A Survivor’s Guide to a Shitty Week,’” he told the crowd. “People turn to the intranet when things have gone wrong, when they forgot to fill out an expense report and need to find one in a hurry, or when they need to do something with their benefits.”
A survivor’s guide to a shitty week. I like that. I like that a lot. And it’s so true. While the Internet has all sorts of fun things on it—like YouTube and blogs and podcasts on thousands of topics and games and even virtual worlds—the intranet has … forms. And benefits information. And lousy search engines. And more forms. And org charts. And more benefits information. And the employee directory. And … well, you get the idea.
Of course, there are exceptions. Companies like IBM and Sun Microsystems and Microsoft have intranets that closely mirror the external ‘net. They have interactivity and podcasts and blogs and video and other interesting content.