Social Intranets: A guide for SMEs

Wim Stoop
Head of Product Marketing | Jive Software
11th April 2014

Social intranets? Enterprise social networks? Mobile portals? Think you need to be bigger to start taking advantage? Think again.

As a SME, it's even more important to be agile, to quickly find the information and people you need, to be able to deal with spurts of conversation and hot topics, to leverage what you've got and delight your customers and partners.

That’s why we created this short guide especially for small to medium sized business, so you can start the journey and take advantage of everything a Social Intranet has to offer.

So what is a social intranet?

A Social Intranet is a web-based application for creating online communities that incorporates a broad range of features found in social networking software, community software, and collaboration software. Social Intranet applications are designed for use in a corporate context, typically to supplement or substitute static, rarely used company intranets in internal instances. A Social Intranet makes it easy for employees who may otherwise never cross paths to share ideas, best practices, and war stories.

Why should I care? 

"A survey by Forrester Research from 2009 shows that just 43% of enterprise employees access an intranet every day. Worse, 35% don't even use their intranet on a monthly basis." Why Your Company's Intranet is Failing, ReadWrite Web, September 26, 2011.

Where do traditional intranets go wrong? For starters, they are centred on content, without the all-important human context. They serve as storehouses for documents and other resources, but really don’t facilitate interaction, sharing, and collaboration. The flow is one-way: designated individuals post content, the rank-and-file consumes (if they ever see or find it).

For SMEs these problems are even more important to get right first time. You’re smaller and can’t rely on chance meetings of question and answer. You have to know the person that has the information you are looking for, the best practice, the account history or the full insight to make the right decision.

You’re also dealing with a higher frequency and bigger spurts of relevant information in shorter spaces of time. Disseminating that information to a dispersed workforce in a near real time manner is crucial to keep your edge over competitors and set you apart.

How will this impact my business?

A recent analysis of several hundred companies by a top-three global business consultancy showed just how big the impacts can be. Researchers found that on average, best-of-breed social intranets:

  • Improved employee productivity by 15%
  • Grew top-line value by 2-4%
  • Reduced email load by 21%
  • Reduced meetings by 16%
  • Reduced the time to find knowledge and expertise by 34%
  • Reduced employee turnover by 24%

Not yet another tool?

A social intranet integrates with your most common tools, such as MS Office, Outlook, SharePoint, Lync, Google Docs, Google Drive, Box,, etc. It consolidates—within a single, searchable area—all the actions assigned, decisions made and the conversation threads and activity streams happening across those tools. And it delivers all of this in the context of a specific process to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. In short, a social intranet becomes the hub and the system of record for collaboration.


About the author

Wim Stoop is head of Product Marketing for Jive Europe, Middle East & Africa. He leads the marketing direction and strategic vision for Jive's Social Communication and Collaboration solution in the region.



Do you want to join the conversation?

Sign up here