Funny really when you think about it, a lot of time, effort, blood, sweat and hard cash budget goes into the intranet itself, the CMS, the platform and portals, etc., etc., but little all goes into the browser. What of the Intranet Browser? A few searches on this shows not a lot being done, apart from one notable exception Shiv Singh at the AppGap Intranets are not just intranets anymore. Here Shiv rightly to my mind, talks about the core business functionality and says that:
Today, employees demand more consolidated interfaces where all the information, collaboration, self service and business application access needs are met.
This is certainly so, but for Shiv this is ‘post-browser’ issue and ultimately a question about ownership within the corporation and a need to realign to meet employee, not application or dept needs. Yes, indeed, this is an item I plan to write on shortly, but for the time being I think one needs to ask if this is really going to happen. I for one won’t be holding my breath here. There are possibilities – WebEx Connect for example, or Microsoft’s Surface Table technologies, but for the time being, let’s get tactical.
I think there’s a low hanger ready to be scrumped in terms of Shiv’s one stop consolidated interface, in terms of what we can do with the browser now. The model I believe is Flock. I’ve written before about the way that Flock so neatly integrates RSS into the browser experience and that if this was more widely adopted in the enterprise then tales of RSS’s death might certainly seem to be exaggerated (Kick my RSS – How to make Enterprise RSS work). But, and it’s a but as big as Galway Bay, why stop there? Why not use Mozilla technology to do what Flock has done for the average social media savvy punter and do the same for the enterprise?
Enterprise Social Network Browser
This is what I’d have in my Intranet Browser of the Future:
1) At the top left there would be a series of buttons to access the core built in functions. These button would provide access to function bars such as RSS
2) There would also be a direct hard wired button to Directory. The Directory would have full Tagging and self-personalisation functionality
3) This tagging would tie in to other social media tools, all accessible from the browser. One would be Favourites – my personal and social bookmarks that I could share with my colleagues
4) I would naturally also be able to connect a wide range of other enterprise social network tools, not only bookmarks, but also my internal corporate blog, my forums, my videos, etc etc. In the corporate example these would be Yammer or Jive, all or a mix. The key thing is the access to their functionality is hard-wired into the Browser, not the apps.
5) So continuing in the same logic, all the corporate video and streams would be available within the browser – these could be live IPTV shows, streamed Video on Demand (VoD), or user generated YouTube type video.
And so on and so on. To reiterate, the Browser holds all this together to create the ‘consolidated interface’. It’s a Pareto fix I grant, but 80% consolidation in the near future would be better than waiting indefinitely for the full delivery.
Apologies for the duff formatting – I need to look at how WordPress is handling images.