I was only able to attend the afternoon session of Intranets '07 (and my own workshop the following day), but I enjoyed each of the presentations from Chris Knowles (Heinz Australia), Keith De La Rue (Telstra) and Deanne Davidson (Thiess). Lucy Hoffman (Te Papa Tongarewa, Muesum of New Zealand), who stepped in as the conference chair, also did one the best conference wrap ups that I've heard in a long time.
- The level of awareness about Web 2.0 and social software has grown significantly in the last few years, with many at least experimenting on the Web if nothing else - however there is a clear challenge around the issue of openness vs control that people haven't quite worked out yet (also see my next point);
- The maturing of intranets into essential or important business tools (along with the influence of Web 2.0 and other trends) is also bringing the relationship between intranets and IT departments into the spotlight, however the underlying problem of who owns the intranet (HR, communications, IT, etc) hasn't changed much in the last decade;
- Also related to the above two points is the convergence of Intranet, intranets and extranets into just different interfaces for enterprise content - this is driven by the possibilities of the technology itself but also changing patterns of work; and
- Finally, many of the core challenges of intranets haven't changed despite the advances in technology, and they are the parts that relate to people and process - one participant described attending these conferences as a bit like therapy to remind himself that everyone faces similar problems!
BTW I didn't know at the time, but Daryl from Anecdote was also there and he also comments on the openness vs control issue, saying:
"there seemed to be a real dichotomy in the language being used. On the one hand speakers when describing their Intranets were talking about standards, compliance, custodians, approval, reviews, structured, efficiency, control, and 'single source of truth'. Yet on the other hand, they mused that intranets were about 'people, people, people' and that they were trying to improve collaboration, increase knowledge sharing and foster networks."
Peta Hopkins has also shared her thoughts on the main conference day and promises to post more on the workshop she attended.
What do you think - how well can you relate to these issues for your own intranet?