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FreePint BlogLinking LinkedIn to your intranet

Friday, 24th February 2012 Please login top-right to be able to star items

By James Mullan


Abstract:

Earlier this week LinkedIn announced that it was considering developing an intranet service for businesses. This won't come as a surprise to many people and is certainly a good move by LinkedIn as it will build on the work that many organisations have been doing with social networking tools internally. One of the main ideas behind an internal social network is to try to foster communication between employees and encourage an open and collaborative environment with the hope that individuals will feel more motivated


Item:

Earlier this week LinkedIn announced that it was considering developing an intranet service for businesses. This won't come as a surprise to many people and is certainly a good move by LinkedIn as it will build on the work that many organisations have been doing with social networking tools internally.

One of the main ideas behind an internal social network is to foster communication between employees and encourage an open and collaborative environment with the hope that individuals will feel more motivated. Many organisations are already using internal social networking tools and, with the development of new tools like IBM Connections, the trend for organisations to develop and use internal social networks is surely set to increase.

What impact would integrating LinkedIn have?
If implemented, the LinkedIn service would allow staff within an organisation to collaborate and connect with their colleagues in a similar manner to how they network with contacts outside their organisation. On the surface this sounds like a great idea as anecdotal evidence suggests that most individuals only use an organisation’s intranet when they really have to. So integrating a tool like LinkedIn into an intranet might well encourage more individuals to use the intranet both to find people and to connect with them. There are also some good examples of companies using hosted solutions like Yammer as an alternative way for individuals to communicate and collaborate with each other.

However, as Alex Manchester points out in his blog post, although LinkedIn is a great business focused social network, is another hosted solution which creates more silos of knowledge really the best solution? One alternative to asking users to log on to hosted solutions is to ask them whether they're happy for content from LinkedIn to be integrated within the intranet.

This is exactly what Lundbeck, a global pharmaceutical company who work with brain disorders, did with its intranet "BrainWeb" in 2011. The integration they did with LinkedIn means that, instead of users having to access an external site, content from LinkedIn is displayed within their SharePoint intranet. Significantly users can "disconnect" from LinkedIn and edit their LinkedIn content (profile information etc.) from within SharePoint using custom fields. This allows a user to have a lot of control over what information is displayed whilst ensuring both the intranet and the LinkedIn site are synchronised. You can read more about how Lundbeck integrated LinkedIn in the first link below.

What does the future look like?
When it comes to integrating social applications like LinkedIn and Yammer within intranets there are certainly a number of options open to intranet managers and, with this proposed development from LinkedIn, it would appear that intranets are going to become even more social.

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James Mullan has worked in the legal sector since 2001. He is an advocate of social media tools and has been talking about how these tools can be used by information professionals and organisations since 2005. James is a Past President of BIALL and in 2009 won the Wildy-BIALL Law Librarian of the year award for his use of social media tools. Outside of work James is a keen runner and maintains his own blog called "The Running Librarian". You can follow James on Twitter @jamesmullan6 or friend him on Facebook.

James can be reached at james.mullan@freepint.com

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