Tag Archive for Intranet

Why would you want just a Social Intranet?

I recently read an article by Toby Ward posted October 18th, entitled Despite SharePoint’s Success, The Social Intranet is Still Rare. He talks of the massive adoption of SharePoint. He does a good job of describing how Intranets are evolving and the use of social media tools to create a Social Intranet. Then, he provides data showing that users of Intranets with social media tools actually are showing low levels of satisfaction. He also says that enterprise Social Intranets are rare, particularly on SharePoint. Bottom line is that I agree with what he writes. In this article, I’ll give you my take on why this is and talk about the other half of the story which is about where else people are going with SharePoint 2010, and, how fast.

The beginning…

SharePoint 2010 was launched in the spring of 2010. Basically, the features that got in were those that were in the market circa 2008. Things like blogs, wikis, discussion forums, social networking, I Like It tags. So, when you implement SharePoint 2010 out of the box, this is what you get – various social media features that can be used in a Social Intranet.

Recognize there are two perspectives of what SharePoint is (even within Microsoft). About 70% of customers think that SharePoint is “an application”. From this perspective, a Social Intranet is probably the high end of the stack of where they plan to go on 2010. The other half (less than half) see it as a platform. They view SharePoint as an enterprise, distributed work environment. It is a canvas to use to meet their organizational goals. For these folks, they may not even go to the Social Intranet, because it isn’t relevant to their objectives – they just leap frog over it.

What you end up with is a bit of a desert in the middle in the range of the Social Intranet at this point in the life cycle. It is too high for most right now. It is too low and irrelevant for the others.

Now, companies like CorasWorks cater to the platform half. We enable these organizations to go to the next level. In our case, in the context of social collaboration, it is deploying Social Business Applications on top of this platform that deliver a new layer of value and leverage an entirely new set of technologies. This next generation of applications are designed to tap into all those zillion users, engage them, and most importantly, channel their collaborative potential into activities that drive business value.

Below we show two comparative lists of items. The ones on the left are the capabilities that the super majority (largely IT-focused) people talk about in the context of a Social Intranet. The ones on the right are the Social Business Applications that the other half (largely business group driven) talk about putting in place to leverage this collaborative work environment to achieve a business result.


When we talk to customers, we are talking about the apps on the right. The conversations are just different. They focus on specific scenarios and how you get there leveraging what we offer along with everything else the customer may have.

It is true that our solutions provide a whole new set of technologies that leverage that collaborative potential and put it to purposeful use -things like Business Activity Streams (that actually filter out social and email noise), Stage-Gate processes, Task Automation, Collaborative Management Reviews, Portfolio management, custom forms, supporting activities etc. But, they are the means to the end, not the end in and of itself.

An interesting change up is that the majority of our customers for these new solutions purchase our products and services BEFORE they deploy SharePoint 2010 in production. This is really new for the SharePoint 2010 cycle (it didn’t happen in SharePoint 2003 and SharePoint 2007). We believe that these customers absolutely get the new breakout potential for SharePoint 2010 and are immediately moving to leverage it to drive business value. In today’s world, it is a luxury to invest the time and effort on something like SharePoint 2010 for a nominal benefit. These organizations are simply looking for leverage to drive significant tangible business value.

Those that breakout

I go back to my original question, “Why would you want just a Social Intranet?”. My guess is primarily because that is what you perceive the high-end of the use case of SharePoint to be within a given view of the cost, time and risk. You are not alone. In fact, as stated above, right now you are in the majority. However, I have a feeling that at this point this position is a risk. These new technologies and the applications they spawn for purposeful collaboration are powerful. Plus, we’ve gotten a lot better at reducing the time, risk and cost to get there. SharePoint 2010 is one of the great platforms to make this happen. Those organizations that figure it out are simply going to outperform those that do not.


Social Business Collaboration Meets SharePoint 2010 Intranet

Many of our customers are in the midst of migrating to SharePoint 2010.  In most cases, the initial objective is to lay out an Intranet with multiple departments and business functions.  In this article, through a few videos, I’ll show you how your new Intranet on SP2010 can become a much more vibrant, engaging, inter-active, and productive place to work when it is enhanced with CorasWorks Cim Social Business Collaboration.

On SP2007, our Intranets tended to be quite passive and focused on collaboration defined by the location and type of content.  As you’ll see in these videos, Cim on SP2010 puts an entire new layer of activity on top of this environment.  Your environment provides a much richer collaborative experience, where information and activity is visible, that encourages greater participation, and gives the users a much easier and more convenient way to work.

I have three videos for you.  They all revolve around the portal of an IT Department.  This department has three core collaborative communities that are embedded into their department portal.  Users just get down to work, with very little navigation required.

NOTE: When you click to view the video, click the “full screen” option at the top – looks a whole lot better.


Cim – IT Department Portal, Communities, and Inter-Activity (runtime 4:53)

In this video we’ll show the inter-activity by just working via the home page of the IT Department portal.  You’ll learn about collaborative communities, Top 10 Listings, rich collaborative articles, and, the Cim Virtual Workspace.


Cim – Collaborative Community Experience – Drilldown (runtime 3:32)

Here we’ll drill down in the IT Post community.  This is the community for general collaboration across the IT Department.  You’ll see how easy it is to find what you need, contribute, share and collaborate.


Cim – Business Activity Stream (runtime 4:53)

In one place, you can now see all of your activity across many communities in your SP2010 environment (not just your department, but, the whole environment).  You can see what you’ve done and where you did it – new posts, comments, ratings, uploads, reviews, etc.  You can also see the activity of others on the items you’ve posted or that you’ve decided to watch.  In addition, you’ll see how this integrates into SP2010 User Profiles, My Sites, and the social activity of SP2010. 


I hope these videos have given you a taste of the new type of experience that you can look forward to for your Intranet with CorasWorks Cim on SharePoint 2010.  We hope that your expectations for your collaborative work environment have grown over the last 3 years.  Today’s Intranet can be a much more engaging and inter-active place to work, and, that’s good business.



Intranet-Extranet Integration on SharePoint – Recorded Webcast

On March 4th, we did a webcast on integrating an Extranet and Intranet with both running on SharePoint.  It hits on getting across the barriers of firewalls, cross farm, cross data sources, and multiple channels of consuming.  It is focused on how you can accomplish it at the app levels.

We did three scenarios.  For each scenario, we lay out the scenario, then do the demonstration, and then, go behind the scenes to show you how it was done.

The Scenarios

- Publishing information from Intranet to Extranet

- Interacting with information between the Intranet and the Extranet

- Working with database information in the Extranet via multiple channels: Intranet via Browser, RSS, and Mobile


Click here to access the webcast (runtime 1 hour). 



Department Solution Set v1.0: Bringing It All Together

Our Department Dashboard app using our One Touch design with Central Configuration has been extensively adopted in our customer base on SharePoint 2007.  In this article, we’ll talk about the new Department Solution Set v1.0 which is the next generation of this solution and takes the level of collaboration, integration, and management to a whole new level.

The Department Dashboard – One Touch Edition has allowed customers to create a departmental work environment of multiple Departments, each with their department collaboration site.  With the One Touch design, all of the department sites are centrally managed.  This hub and spoke design thus allows you to make one change centrally, which then updates all instances of Department sites.image

The Department Solution Set v1.0 takes this core hub and spoke model to the next level.  This diagram shows how a typical DSS environment would lay out.

DSS is a 5-module solution that addresses the same core area – which is how to deploy and manage a multi-department work environment on SharePoint.  DSS goes further to create an integrated, flexible environment, that is centrally managed, with shared resources, services and processes that cut across the various departments and integrate them.

DSS has three aspects to it:

  • Central Services (typically its own Site Collection) – this area is used for central environment configuration (such as Global Navigation and Global Links), central application management, shared resources, services, and processes.  There are three modules for this, including, Central Configuration, Central Resources, and the Department Application Configuration Site.
  • Department Dashboard and Gateway – these two modules are in the production environment.  The Department Dashboard is used to bring up all of your Department sites where the core departmental collaboration takes place.  The Gateway is used for the environments’ top-level site or for special purpose consoles, such as an Employee Services Console or a Salespersons’ Console.  It is populated with Snaplets and Services that reside elsewhere (usually in other Apps or in Central Services).
  • Ready for Apps – the third part is not in the product but part of the design.  With this framework you can now drop in apps within your departments.  You can get apps from the CorasWorks App Store, you can create sites with native SharePoint site templates, or, you can build your own apps.  They will auto-magically appear in the Department dashboard features.  They can be added to Global and Departmental navigation in one place that makes them available environment wide.  They can be integrated to the Central Services or each other.  Each app enhances the overall environment.

Because of the One Touch hub and spoke design, you now have a framework for an integrated environment – information and functionality can flow across departments and between apps.  DSS comes with a number of pre-built, cross-environment services including: Global Navigation, Departmental News service, Company Calendar service, System Change Request service and Workplace Sites that allow you to submit and socialize sites across the environment that are then made available to users in the other departments.

DSS gives you a great framework.  But, at its core you also are getting a very robust collaborative environment for Departments.  A key change enhancement of DSS’s department site is the inclusion of features that allow users to have single displays for work across the different types of lists and libraries. Thus, in one display they can see What’s New across all types of lists or libraries, and, even sites.  You can act on multiple items, of multiple types, in one step.  You have My Work that shows users work assigned to them or created by them across ALL types.  You have Pinpoint Search to search across all types with the department.  In sum it is just the next gen of a true collaborative environment that is no longer data typed but based upon the users context.

DSS requires v10.3.1 of the Workplace Suite.  It runs on the AppEngine v10.3.1 and on both of our Fpweb.net cloud offerings – AppFoundation and AppServer.  In addition, with the Bridge ability of the v10.3.1 release, your entire DSS environment can be upgraded to SharePoint 2010 through an in-place upgrade. So, now matter how broad you go with departments and deep you go with apps on SP2007, you know you can move it all to SP2010 when the time comes.

See you in the community,