What’s the difference between Intranet and AI Assistants

AI Assistants are not just a way to make legacy Intranets smarter, they also pack a bunch of changes under the hood – some natural evolutions, others mark a rather comprehensive delineation from the way “old” IT was run. For the sake of this comparison we are comparing adenin’s IntelliEnterprise Intranet Suite with Now Assistant; let’s take a look:

Silos are suddenly a good thing

IntelliEnterprise is one of those classic, monolithic solutions which is meant to be a be-all and end-all to all Intranet needs: CMS, Social, Search, Tagging, Applications… all of these aspects are covered by the Intranet. And while integrations of outside data are possible, they’re not central to the product and therefore happen only for bespoke solutions as they require extensive knowledge of databases.

Now Assistant on the other hand lives on any data bar its own. Easy to configure Connectors to over 50 data sources – on-premise, cloud and databases – build the backbone of the information architecture. With Now Assistant comes the realization that for reasons that depend on innovativeness, cost, history or chance most companies mix and match their software between different vendors. The previous monolithic solutions of all of these vendors deliberately shut out foreign data beyond some limited custom-built integrations. This era is now over.

Social: Divide and conquer

Anecdotal evidence suggests that Intranets are excellent tools to connect employees with data and to connect data with more data. However social skills are usually where the experience falls down. Successful implementations of “Social Intranets” or “Enterprise Social Networks” are – while extremely desirable – quite rare indeed. The truth is there are just better tools out there to get the job done. Real-time collaboration works best in Google Drive. Instant messaging is kept firmly in hand by Slack or a bunch of others (which all frankly try to emulate their success), work groups often meet in Yammer, etc.

Intranets just don’t work as well when you try and shoehorn all of the above into them. So with Now Assistant there is now a clear division between any applications. The difference is that now you can freely mix and match software as the Assistant contains an integration platform that consolidates data from any and all sources, while also managing identity and authentication in the background.

For content vs. for tasks

Intranets are made to be repositories. Which is something they have in common with city libraries: Being beautifully conceived places for vetted information that people can depend on. They are places to store policies, legal documents, product manuals, technical specs, database entries, and so on…

The Assistant doesn’t focus on managing data, but on things you can do with that data. It unifies, searches and surveys the data so you can be notified about changes, take actions, trigger workflow, search it in its entirety, etc.

Fit for the mobile age.

Most Intranets were implemented before the smartphone revolution. In fact some Intranets saw their last upgrade before the original iPad even made its debut. This dates their interfaces rather seriously; therefore mobile versions of the Intranet are often bolted on and less functional than their desktop counterparts.

Now Assistant however is made with the smartphone in mind and sports four different ways to interact with:

HTML5 mobile-first web app

Based on Google Polymer Web Components. Browser-based apps with Web Components have enjoyed a lot of praise for their speed and snappiness while benefiting from platform independence. The Assistant runs on virtually any device that has a web browser, while the responsive design dynamically adapts to small and large screens. Web apps also come with a native app shell for submission to public app stores for iOS and Android.

Intranet integration

For SharePoint and IntelliEnterprise you can option an integration of the Assistant which adds a small ‘Now’ toggle switch to your current Intranet UI. Clicking the button will slide open Now Assistant and offers you all features of the web app.

Chrome integration

Similar to the Intranet integration you can integrate the Assistant into the web browser which adds a button to the Chrome toolbar that opens the Assistant as a dropdown. Bot integration: The Assistant can be had as a virtual user for many workplace instant messaging platforms, like Slack, Skype for Business etc. This allows users to stay within their familiar environment and speak/query/ask the Assistant like they would with an actual personal assistant.

This shows that the Now Assistant has completely rewritten the rules about enterprise app UI for the consumerized workplace era, so Omnipresent help is always just a swipe away.

Hybrid enterprise solution

An Intranet is made to be an enterprise solution that runs behind your own firewall, on a single dedicated server and regularly requires a lot of initial set up until all the desired systems and capabilities are ready for the roll out of the implementation.

The Assistant on the other hand is a much lighter footprint on your architecture. First of all, it is optimized to run on various Clouds (Azure, AWS, etc.) but can also run on-premise only or combine both for a hybrid implementation. The Assistant doesn’t depend on any proprietary SQL databases, uses Open source technology for the CMS, backend and frontend. Finally it swiftly integrates all data sources in the enterprise through pre-built Connectors. It therefore actively helps to bust existing silos, as opposed to depending on migration or custom-built integrations.

All of the above areas demonstrate the dramatic departure from traditional enterprise app suite developments in favour of more fluid, open architectures that offer greater flexibility and vendor independence through reliance of widely standardized, open-source technology.