The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Intranet?

In an interesting article, Chris Anderson and Michael Wolf argue the decease of the Web. Mostly the article covers the commercial end of the Web. My question would be if the stuff they describe in their article is applicable inside the firewall. The consumer world is setting the trend for technology inside organizations these days as it once was the other way around. This would imply that at least some if not all of the article will apply to organizations some time in the future.

The mayor paradigm shift Chris Anderson is describing means that apps are taking over the position of the browser. This shifts was accelerated by the introduction of the iPhone and iPad recently. The total amount of traffic of websites will get smaller and smaller the coming years.

Would this mean that the intranet as we know it will move away from the browser? At the moment workers predominantly use PC’s and laptops for work, either at home or at the office. Smartphones are on the rise and are already taking over as a primary email client. The characteristics of apps is that they offer a closed and limited set of functionalities. The intranet has to be cut into small pieces of homogenous functionalities and be fitted to app size.

We are starting these discussions with our clients with success. Because the examples in the consumer world are ubiquitous (for instance LinkedIn for iPhone or Twitter for Blackberry), everybody can imagine how this will look like. The idea of a peoplefinder like functionality on your smartphone has added value because when you are on your way to a meeting you generally speaking only have access to your smartphone. There are already apps to use your SharePoint intranet available. If Chris is right than we will see this paradigm shift as-well inside the firewall. The primary catalyst will be be shift away from the normal screen and towards iPad or Tablet like hardware.

What do you think? Can you share an example of an app that offers intranet functionality? Would be great to hear and share ideas!

Conversations at Work: Lessons from the Cluetrain

As promised this post will cover my reading of the 10th anniversary edition of The Cluetrain Manifesto. What a great book and I feel a bit embarrassed that I didn’t read this book 10 years ago. This book is entertaining, insightfull and still ahead of it’s time. A lot of things the authors talk about is taking place in some organizations but is still a long way for most organizations.  

Obviously the first lessons is that “markets are conversations” and as Jake McGee outlines it is very hard to fully understand this thesis and truthfully apply it. How can you have real conversations? What is your voice, what is your opinion? How can I start a conversation? With whom?

The second lesson for me is a construct of the following theses:

8 In both a internetworked markets and amoung intranetworked employees, people are speaking to each other in a powerful new way

53 There are two conversations going on. One inside the company. One with the market.

56 These two conversations want to talk to each other. They are speaking in the same language. They recognize each other’s voices.

57 Smart companies will get out of the way and help the inevitable to happen sooner.   

For me the lesson is about the conversations between comployees is equally important than conversations in the market and the conversation between employees and the market is even more important. If you understand that there are more smart people working outside your company than inside, the only smart think to do is to enable conversations between employees and the markt. This lesson is also about the changing role of the organization, embodied mostly by the communications department. Your role has to change to get out of the way and help the inevitable happen sooner. That is you need to facilitate conversations and not be the one that talks to the customer and the employee. Your work needs to move up one level and you need to think about ways to improve conversations that you cannot  manage.

The third important lesson is quoted from Dan Gilmore “The ultimate [journalistic] tool is the human brain: our ability to learn, absorb and adapt. In a conversational mode, we do all of the more effectively. And what is the first rule or a conversation? To listen” Listening is also the most difficult part, that we all have forgotten how to do. Being generally interested in one and other and taking the time to focus on the other. This means to forget about your iPhone or blackberry for 10 minutes! Stop all these interruptions and focus! For a nice article on interruptions and attention look at this post form Nick Carr (thanks to @driessen).

For a great explanation of listening, watch the TEDtalk by Evelyn Glennie!
http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf

What were your important lessons from the Cluetrain?

The Cluetrain Manifesto, the 10th anniversary edition

June 30 this year was the release date of the revised edition of The Cluetrain Manifesto. This book was written by four gentlemen: Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls and David Weinberger. Here I must admit the I have only read the start of this book on it’s first release 10 years ago. So I am going to make it up to myself actually and I am going to read it now. Bonus for not having read the first edition that in this edition some commentary is added by Jake McGee, J.P. Rangaswami and Dan Gilmor. I have added their blogs to the digital workspace blogroll on the left side. With one exception: the blog of Rick, Seth Ellis Chocolatier (sorry), the blog tells the story of founding a small chocolate manufacturer!

Later on this year I will blog about the revised edition of The Cluetrain Manifesto!