Intranet as "proof of concept"

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I got pretty involved in putting some of the final touches on our Intranet site before I open it up to a couple of folks to beta test next week, and didn’t quite get around to posting this earlier.

This is about what I see as the real purpose of this project. Yes, I think just having the intranet site is going to improve communications within the office, make things easier to find, easier to track and just generally create an atmosphere that’s more team-oriented. But, keep in mind that I took this project on totally on my own, with no budget, so I’m using just open-source stuff, and while there’s certainly some fantastic open-source tools available to me, there are some limits, especially when trying to integrate with our MS Mail Postoffice, or actually creating the infrastructure to connect weblogs to our external website, among other things. That gets me to the other purpose, simply exposing management to the concept of an intranet portal.

As much as I look at something like Sharepoint, or other groupware solutions and see all of the possibilities, I constantly run into the same problem when I talk to higher-ups about it. They just don’t really get it. They’re not techies, and having never had an intranet site before, they just aren’t familiar with the concept! So, I’m really hoping the open-source site will serve as a “proof of concept” and help everyone understand, “grok” if you will, the concept of groupware. My hope is that as people start to use the features I’ve built in, group blogs with commenting, web forms, RSS headlines, links to important HR information, and forms, etc. they begin to imagine what else they could do with an intranet, and perhaps a budget to do further development and build better infrastructure becomes closer to being a reality.

Heck, if nothing else, maybe the smattering of local business headlines in the RSS Headlines module of Xoops will help some folks understand the power of syndication. That’s a concept that I’ve had trouble getting people to really understand too.

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