In every company I've worked for, the Intranet has been where good ideas are sent to die. Outdated org charts, canteen menus which are updated sporadically, attempts to write an FAQ for the antiquated expenses system, and a maze of links dedicated to the Byzantine HR process.
One thing I've never seen was information which could in any sense be considered confidential. Don't get me wrong, occasionally someone manages to upload a salary scale to Sharepoint, or posts a rant about a late-paying supplier on the internal blogs - but the majority of Intranet content is nothing special.
Of course, it makes sense to keep certain systems behind an authorisation mechanism - payslips, purchase orders, financial results and so on. But how much needs to be locked away?
What would the competitive advantage be if your business rivals knew how your employees completed their timesheets?
By contrast, what are the advantages of making an Intranet public?
- Allow potential employees to understand what sort of company they're joining.
- Spread best practice throughout your industry.
- Show how you're a forward thinking company which uses technology to its best advantage.
- Give your customers an insight into how you work.
- Potentially allow interaction between internal and external stakeholders.
- Force you to continually innovate and improve, lest you be seen as technological laggards.
- Promote outside the workplace the incredible work that your employees do inside the workplace.
- Similarly, show off the world-class design talent, attention to detail, and thoughtfulness which goes into making your employees life easier.
It's a pipe-dream, sure. But I'd be fascinated to see if any company or Government organisation does embrace such radical transparency.