Consumer Internet and Corporate Intranets Converging

IBM has been trying to bring nice features from the consumer Internet to the Intranets as is evident from its announcements regarding tools for Social Networking and a free search engine along with Yahoo. Recently, it announced Google Gadgets will available as part of WebSphere Portal Server 6.0. This brings thousands of Internet applications to users inside the firewalls.

I think the two worlds are converging and this is a move in that direction. Infact, many of our clients have at least started thinking of Blogs and Wikis which became popular primarily because of the open nature of public Internet.

However, as I have written before, what works in public domain need not necessarily work behind the firewall. Apart from the fact that the two worlds are quite different, isn’t it is too much work for people managing the Intranet if they were to take advantage of Google Gadgets? One needs to go through thousands of applications on a regular basis and identify which ones go in the Intranet. I know there are quite a few good applications – for example, it would be a good idea to show Google maps gadget along with employee information within the portal but I don’t think there are too many applications “yet” that are useful within an Employee Portal. An Intranet is a business application. If you are an Investment Bank, would you want your bankers to be reading the “daily horoscope” or playing “PaCMan”? Okay its an extreme example but the point is that an Intranet should have what business needs and not necessarily what is available out there. One will also need to make sure the quality, usability, navigation and functionality etc of these external gadgets is acceptable before deciding on letting it be a part of the portal.

Also, if people can access a gadget thru the Intranet, won’t they be able to access it directly? If yes, I think people would not like to go thru their Intranet and let their employers know what they are up to.

2 thoughts on “Consumer Internet and Corporate Intranets Converging”

  1. I can think of several possibilities for Google Gadgets.

    e.g. for Employee Portal, it would be really nice to have a Google Gadget that can monitor your To-Do List of tasks and workflows to be approved!

    And if your intranet content is RSS-ready, the Gadget can be configured to point to the RSS feed. I can already think of one user group who will thank me for it …

    Really, your imagination is the limit! Kudos to IBM for finally bringing the Web 2.0 into the conservative world of enterprises. 🙂

  2. It would be good to have all these (Social Networking,Search) features in the enterprise.

    As you mentioned in your previous article on the same subject that it depends on organization culture to make this a success.Iam also of the same opinion that it depends on the culture. In the period where the organizations are driven by balance sheet (baring few) employees are deemed to follow the tailored process and very little room for all the “tions” (Colloboration, Innovation, Seemless Communication….etcc….)

    Among the Big Five Microsoft, Oracle,Apple, IBM ,Google
    Only Microsoft was successful in both Consumer and Business Market.
    Rest of them are prominent only in one.Oracle (Business Market), Apple (Consumer Market),Google (Consumer Market),IBM (Business Market).

    IBM’s selling of their PC business ,their attempt to introduce the features available in consumer market to business market and their recent acquisitions shows that they don’t want to provide any leeway for other four to enter into its core territory (which is BUSINESS).


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