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6 lessons from BT for building a successful social software intranet

Richard Dennison of BT gave attendees at Online Information 2007 a look at the company's social software powered intranet. What I find really useful in the presentation is the “map” (starting on slide 6) detailing the various pieces of the intranet: RSS powered news, project wikis, blogs (including BT's first external blog), podcasting, and BTpedia (internal knowledge base - looks like it's a wiki).

He also talks about the changing user and institutional responsibilities. In discussing the need to make this successful, he used a Venn diagram that also highlights shared responsibilities.

This is the key difference between a social intranet and a controlled one. No shared responsibility when everything is locked down!

The most important statements about making this successful come on slide 29. My personal favorite, and what I advise the organizations I work with is: “Start small and build slowly - users dictate direction and speed.”

For social media tools to be successful, there must not be an uncontrolled explosion of use or people will just feel overwhelmed. Everyday users will have no idea where to start or what to do, leadership /legal/HR will be fearful, and IT staff will be strugging just to to keep up. So keep it small, user focused, and let the network organically build itself as people champion it to each other.
(via Scott Gavin)


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