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CMSWire – The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

Our very own Andrew Dixon, Senior Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Operations, tells the story of the perennial fight between intranets and ESN and explain why it truly is about how work gets done.

When the Internet came along, optimism was at an all-time high. We thought we would solve all the problems of the world, possibilities were endless.

And granted, we solved many. We work much better today because of the innovations of the last 20 years. The scope of these improvements has been massive. However, one major problem still looms — collaboration in the workplace. Seems like a no-brainer doesn’t it? Everyone is connected, so it should be easy to work in unison, splitting tasks and having every specialist do their own thing.

“Should” is the keyword here.

A big factor is and always will be human nature. Even with the most sophisticated tools available, some people will resist rethinking their routines. Others will still protect information, try to sandbag work to keep themselves relevant, and so on.

This is a problem, but also a defeatist outlook. Set people up for greatness, design around their work, and if the culture is right, good things will follow.

It’s About the Way Work Gets Done

Choosing between an Enterprise Social Network (ESN) and an intranet is irrelevant if you don’t look inward first. Some options require you to work in a very specific way in order to be efficient. While a small 20 person company might be up for adapting their approach to suit a platform, it’s near impossible once you cross the 200 employee mark. For that reason, it’s crucial to assess the way your company works before you even look at a collaboration platform.

Do you work in a network of smaller teams, or is there a lot of communication between offices and departments? Does your business require a more structured approach to knowledge sharing, or is it more about keeping in touch with one another and sharing status updates? These simple questions will dramatically reduce the list of suitable software.

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