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How Mobile is Displacing the Intranet

10/18/16 6:54 AM

When the software-as-a-service (SaaS) business model was first introduced to businesses in the early 1990s, it was largely through specialized application service providers (ASP) where the vendor would provide complex, enterprise-scale solutions accessible to businesses through the browser. For many business solutions, such as credit card processing or portfolio management services, it made sense to hand off some of these specialized and proprietary solutions to vendors rather than build out and support the hardware and technical skills to maintain them. In many ways, we are following that same path with the modern enterprise. The signs are all around us: mobile is slowly but surely displacing the traditional intranet.

Mobile is displacing the intranet

The Intranet Problem

Most intranets fail. Not because the team failed to deliver exactly what their end users asked for, but because the entire strategy of the traditional intranet is misguided. Companies spend massive amounts of money, time, and manpower to create these platforms that fail to deliver. Once live, people log in for the first week or two, but then there is the inevitable decline in usage. As people stop frequenting the platform, core content within the intranet become outdated or forgotten, making the environment even less functional.

Improving productivity and supporting engagement are not just empty platitudes, but key strategic goals for the modern digital workplace. The problem is that most intranets fail to deliver what people want and need to get their work done. As a result, end users are rapidly moving toward unsupported, non-compliant, consumer-based tools and services that are accessible through work and personal devices. If the intranet cannot deliver the features they want, and allow them to work where they want, and with the devices they want, end users will stop using it.

The latest analyst surveys and industry reports show that this move away from the traditional intranet, with its static content and limited range of capabilities, toward a more functional, collaborative and social environment is the direction innovative corporations are heading.

Norman Nielsen provides an annual report of the 10 best Intranets, with the majority of winners since 2013 providing these next-generation collaboration capabilities — and SharePoint is powering 70% or more of them.

But as you know, even Microsoft has found it difficult to keep up with all of these trends (although they seem to be doing a lot of things right more recently). While SharePoint is good at general collaboration, organizations also need a variety of communication capabilities, unique and creative ways of capturing and classifying their knowledge assets, and tools to help end users automate and optimize their day-to-day activities. However, to understand what is happening here, you need to look beyond features and tools and recognize that there is a much more fundamental transformation underway that is changing the way we work.

Mobile is Eating the World

When Benedict Evans published his slide deck "Mobile is Eating the World" back in 2013, he talked about this fundamental transformation, and how the speed and scale of mobile is altering the way that people manage their daily lives. Millennials are a visible measurement of this rate of change -- and organizations that fail to make the necessary adjustments for the next generation of Information Workers will find themselves with a rapidly disengaged workforce.

On Tuesday, October 25th at 10am PDT, Beezy is hosting a webinar entitled "Why Mobile is Eating the Workplace" in which I will break down the key trends of the mobility movement that is transforming the enterprise, and share some insights into what your company can do to stay one step ahead of these trends -- and how to keep your employees engaged and motivated.

Register for our free webinar

At Beezy, we are focusing intently on the mobile revolution that is currently underway, and we are convinced that organizations that have a defined strategy to move from the desktop to the mobile content will have a distinct and measurable advantage over those who lag behind. In short, mobile is the future of the intranet.

This is an important topic for every organization, and I hope that you can participate.

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