Published on January 14, 2008
Intranet Implementation From a bright idea to a mature asset: Intranet Implementation From a bright idea to a mature asset Rens Scheepers, Ph.D. Department of Information Systems The University of Melbourne Seminar Outline: Seminar Outline What’s an intranet (really) ? Background & Research Approach Theoretical base Key results Further research issues Leavitt's “diamond” model of organisational change. : Leavitt's “diamond” model of organisational change. Leavitt, H.J. (1964). Applied organizational change in industry: structural, technical and human approaches. Being technology specific in information systems research: Being technology specific in information systems research “A good deal of discourse about computerization focuses on a convenient fiction called ‘the computer system.’ The computer-based systems that people and groups actually develop and use differ in important technical and social ways. These differences often seem to matter. … the convenience becomes a liability if our conceptual language is imprisoned in talk about ‘the computer.’ ” Rob Kling, “Computerization and Social Transformations”, Science, Technology and Human Values: 16(3) (July 1991), pp.342-367. Internet, Extranet, Intranet: Internet, Extranet, Intranet Intranets: A Technical Definition: Intranets: A Technical Definition An intranet is the application of Internet technology, more specifically World Wide Web technology within the organizational boundary. The very same technology is applied (web servers, browsers, protocols, etc.), but access is restricted exclusively to organizational members for example by means of “firewalls” or physically separating the intranet from external networks (“firebreaks”). An “Internet” within the organization: User with Browser Intranet Web Server Organizational Databases “Legacy” systems “Static” Information Discussion groups, Email, news, FTP An “Internet” within the organization Corporate Home page Search Engine ? Different computing platforms Intranets: Some interesting characteristics: Intranets: Some interesting characteristics Ubiquitous computing paradigm, compared with 1970s+ centralized computing paradigm (mainframes) 1980s+ decentralized computing paradigm (e.g. PCs, office automation, e-mail, groupware) Intranet development has no well-defined organisational boundaries, functionality or time span Intranet technology is multi purpose and richly networked Built on top of existing network and IT infrastructure Often initiated outside formal IT section; blurs “user”/”developer” role Multiple role players in different organisational units can be involved in implementing “the” intranet Background: Background Key research question: How are intranets implemented and used in large organisations? Research approach Understand deeper rather than broader Descriptive, in-depth, technology-specific Aim at understanding central implementation challenges, patterns Interpretive epistemological stance Methodology: in-depth longitudinal case studies Period of the study: mid 1996 – present Empirical base: four large organisations Denmark: The LEGO Group, Novo Nordisk + others South Africa: The CSIR, Telkom Findings “echoed” in a number of Australian organisations Theoretical base: Theoretical base Organisational change (e.g. Leavitt) Diffusion of Innovations (e.g. Rogers) Critical mass and interactive media (Markus) Implementation theory (e.g. Cooper & Zmud; Walsham; Nolan; Galliers; Markus; Orlikowski; Lyytinen) Knowledge management (e.g. Alavi & Leidner; Davenport; Nonaka) IT Outsourcing (e.g. Willcocks & Lacity) The Key Results: The Key Results A taxonomy of intranet use modes Conceptual model of the process of intranet implementation (from conception to maturity) – three central challenges Tactics to foster critical mass Key role players in the initiation and implementation process The mature Intranet (Intranet support for knowledge management processes) Intranets: Make or Buy? (A taxonomy of different strategies) Intranet Technology Use Modes: Intranet Technology Use Modes ublishing ransacting nteracting earching ecording Use technology to publish home pages, newsletters, technical documents, product catalogues, employee directories, etc. Use technology as front-end to transact with functionality on intranet pages and other organizational computer-based information systems e.g. via web forms. Use technology to interact with other individuals and groups in the organization (e.g. via discussion groups, collaborative applications) Use technology technology to search for organizational information (e.g. via search engines, indexes, search agents, portals) Use technology to record the computer-based "organizational memory" (e.g. as a tool for knowledge management) Use mode Examples Density function of the time taken by different segments of a population to adopt an innovation: Density function of the time taken by different segments of a population to adopt an innovation Early Adopters Early Majority Late Majority Laggards Innovators Rogers (1995) Success and failure in the management of intranet technology: Success and failure in the management of intranet technology The Double Critical mass problem: The Double Critical mass problem Need to attract users; users are attracted by content; Content is created by users “We are talking about the “hen and the egg” problem. We had to get critical mass here, otherwise people would say “this is nice, but there’s nothing on it.” Achieving Double Critical Mass: “Diffusion Drivers”: Achieving Double Critical Mass: “Diffusion Drivers” Timing of drivers is crucial: E.g. knowledge building, subsidy and mobilization, Later on: standardization Key Role Players during Intranet Initiation and Implementation: Key Role Players during Intranet Initiation and Implementation Five key interrelated roles: Technology Champion Organizational Sponsor Intranet Coordinator Intranet Developer Content Provider Findings: Implementation Roles: Findings: Implementation Roles Intranet support for knowledge management processes: Intranet support for knowledge management processes Even minimal support may help! “People sitting only a few 100 meters away from each other do not know they are working on similar things …I am often amazed how much people re-invent, not because they want to but because they don’t know it exists [Vice President, LEGO Group, October 1998] Nonaka’s (1998) model of organisational knowledge creation processes : Nonaka’s (1998) model of organisational knowledge creation processes Socialization Externalization Internalization Combination TACIT KNOWLEDGE TACIT KNOWLEDGE EXPLICIT KNOWLEDGE EXPLICIT KNOWLEDGE EXPLICIT KNOWLEDGE EXPLICIT KNOWLEDGE TACIT KNOWLEDGE TACIT KNOWLEDGE Primary intranet use modes for facilitating knowledge creation : Primary intranet use modes for facilitating knowledge creation Socialization Externalization Internalization Combination TACIT KNOWLEDGE TACIT KNOWLEDGE EXPLICIT KNOWLEDGE EXPLICIT KNOWLEDGE EXPLICIT KNOWLEDGE EXPLICIT KNOWLEDGE TACIT KNOWLEDGE TACIT KNOWLEDGE Transacting Searching Publishing Recording Interacting Example: Socialization (via intranet interaction): Example: Socialization (via intranet interaction) Connecting knowledgeable individuals Many-to-many interaction Poor substitute for face-to-face socialization, but reality in many dispersed settings Extend and sustain existing relationships Example: The Wall Example: Combination(via intranet searching): Example: Combination (via intranet searching) Intranet-based searching (flat, indexed, portals, engines, agents) Integrating existing pockets of knowledge dispersed throughout the organization Example: to prevent…reinventing the wheel Example: Internalization (via intranet transactions): Example: Internalization (via intranet transactions) Transaction with intranet-enabled knowledge repositories, systems, databases Access possible with intranet (often for first time) You can ask without revealing your ignorance (anonymous telephone call) Example: New employees view intranet as important learning environment Example: Externalization (via intranet recording): Example: Externalization (via intranet recording) Capturing organizational processes as they occur Like having a tape recorder running in the organization, building up an electronic record This record can be excavated later (also by others, with hindsight) Knowledge only apparent after the fact Example: post-project, cross analysis Intranets and KM: Findings: Intranets and KM: Findings Focus is on knowledge creation, rather than generalized KM Our processes are archetypical, but all applications are a mixture Malleability of intranet technology Importance of a vocabulary for KM and intranet managers With combined model possible to map organizational KM requirements onto the intranet (as opposed to just letting it happen) Intranet Technology developments since the mid 1990s: Intranet Technology developments since the mid 1990s Advanced tools for intranet development and maintenance have become widely accessible. Ready-made “intranet-in-a-box” packages now enable the implementation of an intranet without much in-house technical expertise. The rise in the use of the World Wide Web has elevated the general awareness and knowledge of Internet/intranet technologies. Formulating an intranet implementation strategy (make vs buy): Formulating an intranet implementation strategy (make vs buy) Implementation process: In-house or outsourced Intranet architecture: Tailor-made or ready-made The tailor-made intranet architecture: The tailor-made intranet architecture Implemented using a wide range of tools and technologies Usually expensive because the development costs are amortized on a single organization. Requires a high level of technical knowledge and training of the implementers and content providers The tailor-made intranet architecture integrates well with applications that are already implemented in the organization - the intranet becomes a portal or gateway to existing technologies The ready-made intranet architecture: The ready-made intranet architecture Collection of well-tested applications with proven functionality. The typical price model is a low system purchase price and additional licenses paid per-user Licenses then cover incremental upgrades to the standard applications and functionalities. The organization must weigh the benefits of the applications with the fact that it will tie its processes to an inherently proprietary format. Important to analyse organizational requirements as well as market research of available products in order to choose an intranet package suits the requirements. Ready-made intranets provide an integrated product with a simple form-based user interface for handling the tasks of both intranet administration as well as the content updating, thus reducing the technical skills demands placed on in-house staff Four different Intranet implementation strategies: Four different Intranet implementation strategies Make or Buy: Findings: Make or Buy: Findings Most of the case organizations we studied, still pursue the “homemade intranet” as the de facto implementation strategy; We expect this will change over time It is quite feasible for different strategies to be combined within the same organization; Why? Commoditization of intranets will come Potential of “lock-in” with ready-made architectures: The strong link between the application and the data suggests that companies may think that they control the data, but in reality they do not. Caution: The relationship with an intra-in-a-box provider is “more like a marriage and less like a date”. References: References Damsgaard, J., & Scheepers, R. (1999). Power, influence and intranet implementation: a safari of South African organizations. Information, Technology & People, 12 (4), 333-358. Damsgaard, J., & Scheepers, R. (2000). Managing the crises in intranet implementation: a stage model. Information Systems Journal, 10 (2), 131-149. Damsgaard, J., & Scheepers, R. (2001). Harnessing intranet technology for organisational knowledge creation. Australian Journal of Information Systems, Special Edition on Knowledge Management (December 2001), 4-15. Karlsbjerg, J., & Damsgaard, J. & Scheepers, R. (2003). A taxonomy of intranet implementation strategies: to make or buy?, Journal of Global Information Management, 11 (3), 39-62. Scheepers, R. (2003) Intranet Heroes: the Conquest and the Aftermath, forthcoming : Journal of Information Technology.