Nielsen Norman Group has announced winners in their 11th annual contest for best intranets for 2010. In the announcement Usability expert Jakob Nielsen was quoted, “If there’s anything that has been overused, abused and hyped almost beyond the level of cliché, it’s ‘knowledge management.’ It might therefore be better to say that the winners in this year’s intranet design contest were very strong in ‘managing knowledge’ on their intranets. Employees are the ultimate knowledge resource, and the winning intranets provided features to transform their behavior into manageable knowledge. In particular, organizations used social networking—a natural inside the enterprise—to give employees practical and simple ways to communicate with one another and even change the way work is done at the organization.”
So if read this correctly knowledge management was mostly useless until social networking came along. While the introduction of social networking and other social applications has grealty increased the potential of knowledge management in my opinion, I would hardly say that KM was simply a cliché before their advent. You can set up siloed document repositories as a strawman for bad KM but when it is aligned with business processes I have seen a lot of value over the past 15 years. Having said this I do like the strong support for enterprise 2.0 concepts in this current report.
It is ironic that such weight is placed on social networking since social media was seen somewhat skeptically by the same group when the 2006 winners for best intranets were announced. The 2006 summary said that the winners “took a pragmatic approach to many hyped “Web 2.0″ techniques.” It also said. “Several winners have weblogs this year, but the blogs are restrained, emphasizing useful information instead of “what I did on my last date.” This is an anachronistic straw man as business blogs had been around for several years, getting high marks from Fortune, Business Week, and Harvard Business Review as early as 2005. Blog on.
The 2010 winners are described in detail in Nielsen Norman Group’s 433-page report entitled “Intranet Design Annual 2011: The Year’s 10 Best Intranets,” co-authored by Amy Schade, Jakob Nielsen and Nielsen Norman Group researcher Patty Caya. The report is available for download from the Nielsen Norman Group website. In alphabetical order, the 2011 world's 10 best intranets are:
AMP Limited (Australia), a wealth management company
Bennett Jones LLP (Canada), one of Canada's largest law firms
Bouygues Telecom (France), a telecom, mobile, fixed, TV, and Internet communications services company
Credit Suisse AG (Switzerland), a global financial services company
Duke Energy (US), an electrical power holding company
Habitat for Humanity International (US), a non-profit, non-denominational Christian housing ministry
Heineken International (The Netherlands), a leading brewer and owner and manager of a portfolio of beer brands
KT (Republic of Korea), an information, communications, and technology company
Mota-Engil Engenharia e Construção, S.A. (Portugal), a leading construction enterprise
Verizon Communications (US), a provider of wired and wireless broadband and communications services to US consumers, as well as of global business networking, data, and managed solutions to enterprises worldwide
There were no repeats from 2006 when Verizon competitor, Comcast, was named along with Volvo, DaimlerChrysler (nsme at the time), Microsoft, and others.