Collaborative intranet tools you can even use on a train

Earlier this year CrossCountry shared a live tour of their intranet. it was amazing for two key reasons 1) Malcolm Cotterell and Kate Barnes are amazing, they do incredible work and are great to learn from and 2) I didn’t make a cheesy joke about trains and user journeys…I was doing so well.

Then, a few days ago I had a conversation with a taxi driver who was a retired Business Process Analyst, he talked about some of the tips and tricks he used to identify efficiencies, and I learned something I could use in a consultancy session that day.

After the taxi ride I caught a train with hundreds of people on it; as usual no one was talking yet we were all going in the same direction and potentially to the same destination. However, when travellers do talk it can prove interesting and often beneficial finding out places to see, transport hold ups to be aware of etc. Good citizens may help others with their bags or give advice to an older person as to the easiest way to get between platforms to avoid a long flight of stairs. The problem with this is if you’re sat at the wrong seat, table or in the wrong carriage you may not get to learn this information, it’s all down to chance and this is symptomatic of communication in lots of businesses – all travelling towards the same objectives but what they share and learn is shaped by who they sit near or know.

Sit next to everyone

What if you could cherry pick the most useful conversations to you, not just in your seat, not just in your carriage / floor, not just on your train / office, but on every train across the world or in your business. By enabling tagging, commenting, blogging and general user generated content, we massively increase the chance of like-minded people networking, marrying together problems with collective solutions… and the best part? It’s free and it’s already part of your intranet. So, if you have 100 people in your business, that’s 99 others who may be able to help you with a problem or way to work better. In reality that may only be another ten people who can help you but that will be ten people you may not engage with otherwise.


We use Google to answer so many simple questions but don’t think of our collective knowledge as being searchable, collaborative tools can help to solve this. Interact Intranet has many features to aid collaboration including discussion forums, blogging tools and social timelines, Interact Intranet also make it easy to identify the information most relevant to you with its unique Intelligence Store, which suggests and recommends content to you based on your profile and intranet behaviour. If your intranet has responsive design (which Interact Intranet does) you can access the answers on your smartphone or tablet regardless of your location – you could even do this whilst sat on the silent train!

Intranet Mobile

Shut out the noise

We’ve all been on journeys where there’s a screaming child or someone talking ludicrously loudly and this noise could potentially happen on your social business applications with lots of spurious posts by a user. However a quiet word in both examples usually stops them, in this case via Community Management or even an Acceptable Use Policy.

You may face opposition who see collaborative tools as potential time wasters, they’ll undoubtedly mention Facebook. Challenge them back and explain the Google concept, social tools allow you to search and engage collective knowledge for greater productivity.

You may all be in the same train going to the same destination, but you’ll get there quicker and in greater comfort if you share your knowledge and work together.