New roles emerging as we bridge the digital divide


New roles are emerging as companies begin to bridge the digital divide. Is this an aspiration for intranet managers? Your thoughts please.

With potential changes to the scope and role of the intranet it means an opportunity to redefine what the intranet editors do and how they work. Intranet teams have traditionally been rigidly built around the organizational structure and technology, with the intranet team often emerging as an afterthought. The emergence of a social platform and a change in the way people are engaging with content represents the possibility for some radical re-shaping of the intranet team in order to prepare for these shifts as well as open up new career opportunities.

Where content has been a central focus, this evolution will also mean putting people at the centre of the intranets. And as this starts to happen, the intranet team’s role moves beyond design and communication towards that of a facilitating collaboration and knowledge sharing.

While IT and the intranet teams control, the wave of employees using a social platform are looking to innovate, share, collaborate, learn and engage not inside the physical boundaries of an office nor the virtual boundaries of a network but a social business platform that spans the globe.

These changes in the workplace do not mean that the fundamental skills of the intranet team are no longer needed, but they do mean that the intranet team need to respond by developing new key characteristics:

·         Becoming more agile and fluid – able to adapt quickly to new technologies and ways of working. This may mean learning new skills quickly, or bringing in these skills from other parts of the organization, or outside.

·         Becoming more user-centric – focused on fostering communities, and facilitating interaction and knowledge sharing. Nurturing the capabilities to make best use of the digital platforms available.

 ·         Leading by example – as the intranet team increasingly takes on the role of facilitator/ enabler, it is key that they demonstrate new ways of working in the digital workplace in their own behaviours. This is further emphasized by the fact that as the workforce becomes more technologically savvy (anyone can set up a blog, start microblogging, or find what they need on the web) everyone is becoming an “expert”.

·         Being the innovators – as traditional boundaries and ways of working are challenged the intranet team need to become ever more creative in understanding the opportunities for the organizations online channels to develop and merge in new ways. To do so it is essential that the intranet team understand emerging technologies on the web and the user behaviours associated with them.



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