In general, looking for an open discussion. In my experience, as well as observing others talking about their companies ... I seem to hear an alarming number of people express concern that a social intranet would never work in their corporate culture. To cut to the chase, I'd like to hear your opinons.
I think the answer is No. A Social Intranet will work in any organization, regardless of culture. At the end of the day, a company's end goal is to make money (in most cases), and Social Intranets have proven widely successful at doing just that, by connecting the work-force and providing faster channels of response. To be very clear, Social = Social on the consumer web. Social = Business in the enterprise. When email was introduced, people were reluctant to adopt; however, they learned quick that it was a faster way to get work done. Similarly, as soon as people see the Social Intranet as a means of boosting their productivity and simplifying their day, they WILL latch on. This isn't to say that everyone will skip down the halls, hold hands, and sing Kumbaya; however, it does mean that when it comes to getting the work done ... people will use whatever tools at their disposal to make their job more simple.
Socializing your work-force is the easiest step in a social intranet roll-out. In most cases, a solid social business platform will do most of the work for you; however, it's the next step that many people tend to overlook in discussion when talking about Social Intranets, which is: Socializing enterprise applications. Just imagine reinvigorating investments into depreciating enterprise systems, such as ERP, CRM, and ECM, by connecting your newly socialized work-force into these systems in a manner that is both contextually relevant and actionable. Imagine giving your employees a system that is fun to use, improves their morale (by connecting them with the organization), and makes them more efficient interacting with both people and key enterprise systems. Soon, I see this vision being a true universal work-place differentiater; meaning, employees choosing employers based on such an environment.
That is the story of Social Intranet that excites me, and why I am such an advocate of the Jive Platform and Jive Apps Framework. I believe (without hesitation) that a Social Intranet built on Jive can provide a true competitive advantage for ANY company in ANY industry. Success story after success story have proven the road ahead is worth taking the first step.
Q: Does an enterprise need to be "social" for a "Social Intranet" to work?
A: No, as long as a company is in business to make money ... a social intranet (on the right platform) will be VERY successful.