The goal of most innovations, ideas or continuous improvements is to ultimately make a positive return on investment (either through less costs or greater revenue). The quicker an organisation (or a project within an organisation) can move from an 'innovative' state to an 'operational' state, the quicker an organisation can begin to reap the benefits.
This article looks at how the intranet can enable organisations to move from an innovative state to the more profitable and predictable operational state.
Example: the innovation to operation lifecyle
Lets say someone within a SharePoint consulting organisation has the bright idea to organise an annual SharePoint conference - an innovation!
How can the intranet help move this idea from an innovation to operation?
At the early stages of the idea, there will be much discussion and collaboration. Is it a good idea? Who else is doing something similiar? Is there a market? Other people within the organisation may get involved.
Some of this discussion can be faciliated by the intranet using discussion forums, online chatting or collaborative team rooms.
After the decision is made to go ahead, more discussion questions fly around. Where is a good location? Who should present at the conference? How will we market the conference? What booking system should we use? What topics should be discussed? When should we have it? How will we organise sponsors?
There will be even more discussion, collaboration and research taking place at this stage, all of which is taking time and costing money and the organisation is still yet to make even one dollar.
However, also during this time, lists are being compiled (possible speakers, possible venues, possible sponsors), templates & forms generated (invitations, booking forms, feedback forms), activities developed (Organise a venue, Choose a speaker, Process a booking, Request conference feedback), marketing material developed, notes being taken….
A lot of valuable content and intellectual property is being created. In an ideal world, most of this content is created, categorised and managed using the intranet.
Finally after much collaboration, discussion and change management, the innovation has moved into an operational state and the conference is ready to go. Because it's now in this state, the next time the conference is organised the chances are it will be more profitable. All the intellectual property - processes, forms, lists, etc created from the previous year can be re-used, making it less costly and time consuming and in all probability at a higher standard as well.
The role of the intranet
In the article, 8 good business reasons for having an intranet, I identified some important ways an intranet can add tangible benefits to an organisation. These are shown in the following diagram in the context of how they relate to the innovation to operation lifecycle. For example, during the early phases of implementing an idea, the intranet can help in identifying the actual idea, faciliating collaboration and the change management required when introducing new systems and processes into an organisation.
Once the idea has become operational, the intranet becomes more important in enabling tasks to be completed quickly, providing access to data and the applications needed to complete these tasks, and managing documents and other content.
The following diagram shows the different ways an intranet can help organisations move quickly from an innovative state to the more desirable operational and profitable state.
- 8 good business reasons for having an intranet (tips for writing an intranet business case)
- 9 intranet content types that add value to your organisation