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I’ve been talking to numerous owners of corporate websites lately to try and understand where the “internet prescence” of large enterprises is heading in the future.  In my view the future for the “corporate website” looks bleak. Online services in large organisations are gradually melding, with the intranet, extranet and internet growing closer in technology, content and resourcing; due to synergies and efficiencies achieved.

This could be good news for the “internet teams” but it isn’t. In fact, the emerging trend is for increasing access to be given to intranets for people outside the firewall; suppliers, contractors, customers, former staff etc. Major companies globally are looking to open up to their marketplaces, customers and consumers. They are also looking to increase their presence and engagement with social media and emerging 2.0 technologies.

This trend was underlined this week by the ever influential John Chambers, Chairman and CEO of Cisco, who in his keynote address at the Cisco Partner Summit said that consumer and enterprise technologies will continue to merge, and no where will that be more prominent than in video, which he said will change the way people communicate and do business. Chambers pointed to Cisco’s purchase of the company that made the Flip video as a key advantage for Cisco as it moves into a more video-based future, where he said video will soon account for 90 percent of all network traffic.

Intranet teams are being given increasing responsibility for engagement beyond the firewall and they have flourished during the recession while corporate website budgets have been cut. We always felt that the internet might absorb the intranet; but in looks firmly that the direction will be reversed as areas of the intranet are opened up to investors, media, job applicants, environmental groups and customers.

Where does that leave the corporate website? They are stuck it seems. Caught between the ever increasingly important intranet spaces and the dynamic expanding 2.0 world, they look like yesterday’s story with declining funding, static role and no clear future direction.  The corporate website starts to look like the marketing brochures of the past: meeting a need but no more.

This is all good for the intranet teams. For years they have been the “cinderella” of the online world but with lots of experience of optimising with low resource and innovation, the future looks very bright as their remit extends.

About the author

Nancy Goebel - DWG's Managing Director for Member & Benchmarking ServicesNancy Goebel is the Digital Workplace Group’s Managing Director, Member Services & Strategic Partnerships.

During her six-year tenure with DWG, Nancy has been involved in account management, benchmarking, research, blogging and executive producing Digital Workplace Live and DW 24.

Prior to joining the Digital Workplace Group, Nancy was a accomplished executive at JPMorgan Chase where she built and led a global team in desigining and implementing an award-winning intranet. She also led digital enablement and business re-engineering initiatives.

Outside work, Nancy is a wine maker, fundraiser, meditator, wife and mother of two.

Connect with Nancy on Twitter: @nancyatdwg or on Google +.


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