Intranet implementation - from a bright idea to a mature asset

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© Rens Scheepers, 2002

1

Intranet
I
mplementation


F
rom a bright idea to a mature asset

Rens Scheepers, Ph.D.

Department of Information Systems

The University of Melbourne

© Rens Scheepers, 2002

2

Seminar Outline


What’s an intranet (really) ?


Background & Research Approach


Theoretical base


Key results


Further research issues




© Rens Scheepers, 2002

3

Leavitt's “diamond” model of
organisational change.

Leavitt, H.J. (1964). Applied organizational change in
industry: structural, technical and human approaches.

© Rens Scheepers, 2002

4

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
a
nd Social Transformations
”,


Science, Technology and Human Values
: 16(3) (July 1991)
,
pp.
342
-
367
.


© Rens Scheepers, 2002

5

Internet, Extranet, Intranet

Organizational
Intranet
The Internet
Extranet
Firewall
© Rens Scheepers, 2002

6

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”)
.


© Rens Scheepers, 2002

7

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

Dept 1
Dept 2
Dept 3
Corporate Home
Search Engine

?

Different
computing
platforms

© Rens Scheepers, 2002

8

Intranets: Some interesting characteristics


Ubiquitous computing paradigm, compared with


1970s+ c
entralized computing paradigm

(mainframes)


1980s+ d
ecentralized 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

© Rens Scheepers, 2002

9

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


© Rens Scheepers, 2002

10

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)



© Rens Scheepers, 2002

11

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)

© Rens Scheepers, 2002

12

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

© Rens Scheepers, 2002

13

D
ensity 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)

© Rens Scheepers, 2002

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Degree of
Institutionalisation
Initiation
Stagnation
Contagion
Control
Integration
Sponsor grabs
intranet
Critical mass
reached
Intranet
controlled
Saturation
Stage
No
order
No
critical
mass
No
sponsor
Success and failure in the management
of intranet technology

© Rens Scheepers, 2002

15

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.”


© Rens Scheepers, 2002

16

Achieving Double Critical Mass:
“Diffusion Drivers”


Content

Usage

Influence

Knowledge building

Knowledge deployment

Subsidy

Innovation directive

Mobilization

Knowledge deployment

Subsidy

Power

Knowledge deployment

Innovation directive

Subsidy

Standards

Subsidy

Standards

Innovation directive


Timing of drivers is crucial: E.g. knowledge building,
subsidy and mobilization, Later on: standardization

© Rens Scheepers, 2002

17

Key Role Players during Intranet
Initiation and Implementation


Five key interrelated roles:


Technology Champion


Organizational Sponsor


Intranet Coordinator


Intranet Developer


Content Provider


© Rens Scheepers, 2002

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Role

Role description

Key challenges

Technology
cham
pion

“Reinvents” technology for organization,

Establishes the intranet concept

“Selling” the intra
net concept to
senior man
agement

Organizational
sponsor

Negotiates organizational re
sources;

Supp
orts and nurtures organization
-
wide
implementation of technology;

Approves usage policies and content standards;

“Godfather”
for intranet agents

Owning the responsibility for the
intranet and associated political
risks

Intranet
Coordinator

Organizational
wide intranet change agent
,
man
ages cross
-
func
tional intranet initiatives;

Advocates intranet;

Information “broker” be
tween units;

Manages content quality

“Double problem” of getting
critical mass of both users and con
-
tent while ensuring content qua
lity

Intranet
Developer

Leads
technical intranet infrastructure

development;

Change agent where intra
net’s tech
nical aspects
de
mand new or changed systems and
organizational processes

Keeping pace with new
technological developments, while
delivering i
ntranet infrastructure

Content
Provider

Local change agent within own unit
;

Campaigns for use of intranet in departmental
processes;

Creates, maintains and translates content
on
behalf of others in unit

Designing appropriate content;

Resistance to change
at local unit
level


Findings:

Implementation Roles

© Rens Scheepers, 2002

19

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]

© Rens Scheepers, 2002

20

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

© Rens Scheepers, 2002

21

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

© Rens Scheepers, 2002

22

Example: So
c
ialization

(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

© Rens Scheepers, 2002

23

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

© Rens Scheepers, 2002

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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

© Rens Scheepers, 2002

25

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

© Rens Scheepers, 2002

26

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)

© Rens Scheepers, 2002

27

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.

© Rens Scheepers, 2002

28

Formulating an intranet
implementation strategy (make vs buy)


Implementation process: In
-
house or
outsourced


Intranet architecture: Tailor
-
made or ready
-
made


© Rens Scheepers, 2002

29

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

© Rens Scheepers, 2002

30

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

© Rens Scheepers, 2002

31

Four different Intranet
implementation strategies

In
-
house implementation

Outsourced implementation

Tailor
-
made
architecture

Homemade intranet



(The do
-
it
-
yourself
builder)




Type I




Type II


Tailor
-
made intranet
implemented by
consultants

(The Craftsman)

Ready
-
made
architecture

Intranet in
-
a
-
box
customized by
in
-
house
personnel

(The Engineer)

Type III

Type IV

Intranet in
-
a
-
box
customized by
outside contractor



(The Traveling Fitter)

© Rens Scheepers, 2002

32

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”.

© Rens Scheepers, 2002

33

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
.