Social Intranet Communications

Author: Toby Ward, The founder and CEO of Prescient Digital Media, and Social Business interactive, is an internationally recognized and acclaimed expert in the areas of enterprise technology, intranets, and social media. Among his many clients are Harvard, HSBC, Mastercard, Nintendo, Pepsico, Sony, and many others.

For all the talk on technology, particularly social and mobile technologies, an intranet is mostly people and process. And it is not a communications or IT project, it is a *business system* meant to support and enhance the entire organization including communications, IT, HR, etc.

The focus must first be on governance — namely ownership, executive stewardship, and process — and content, and then social, mobile access, etc. should follow. As they say: don’t put the cart before the horse. Our horse is our people, the cart as a technology only facilitates the movement of knowledge, ideas and work. If you put people first, starting at the C-Suite, you can’t help but be successful.

A successful intranet needs, first and foremost, executive sponsorship. The best intranets on the planet have CEOs and Presidents who actively seek to invest in the intranet, and are champions of the intranet and the digital workplace (to use an overused, hot moniker). Moreover, great intranets have executive sponsors that are great communicators — they are active users of the intranet themselves, and they actively talk about and promote use of the intranet.

And speaking of process, if you build it they will not come. As I’ve said many, many times there will always be the keeners in IT and Communications that will use the intranet, but the average employee needs a reason, and a slight push. That’s where the CEO helps.

Leading intranet leaders Unisys and Best Western made dedicated videos promoting the intranet (both featured at the recent Intranet Global Forum in LA (, and use the CEO to actively promote the intranet. The Unisys social intranet promotional video leads with footage of the CEO using the intranet, and then discussing the value and importance of the intranet. Leading us to the second most important ingredient for an intranet, money.

Read the full Social Intranet Communications article at the Intranet Blog

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