Move aside Intranet, here comes the super powered Extranet

Yesterday I attended the Knowledge Hub Advisory group in London, although this time I had company (Richard Carter – Head of Business Solutions and Innovation).

We were asked to give a short presentation on our vision and plans around our future Web, Intranet, Extranet etc, so we obliged (I’m not normally one to turn down a chance to talk about stuff I’m passionate about).

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t see the point in Local Government considering investments in new intranets when the Knowledge Hub is and will be available from early next year and fully live by next september. If you are also ambitious you could consider downloading the source code which is free and installing a local implementation.

Anyway, yesterday was primarily aimed at talking about how the KHub fit with our vision and our potential technical architecture and our information architecture.

You can see the full slide deck on the Communities of Practice site – however one of the slides showed the very broad concept of how we essentially want to create a Service Oriented Architectural approach which will provide more agility, flexibility and scalability as well as providing a better platform for integration (we are all facing budget reductions and it is highly likely that we will commission more services)

The slide i refer to is below

This slide is for illustrative purposes but is essentially attempting to show how by decoupling the layers of our website we can provide better integration opportunities and greater business capabilities.

The services listed at the bottom represent business applications which will need to be presented via the web, the possibility of integrating Khub in at this level is relatively simple, once we move forward with this architecture. However we are also considering whether or not the KHub becomes part of the core technology towards the top of the slide. We call this the common solutions platform or CSP. It is core technology that supports a number of key strategic priorities around web, document management and business intelligence.

I wasn’t the only one who thought it was an interesting approach as Ingrid Koelher in her post Knowledge Hub – get an early look said:

But what was the coolest for me out of the day was Carl Haggerty’s presentation on the possibilities for Knowledge Hub as part of a local authorities information architecture. Yes, of course, Knowledge Hub will be an awesome replacement for communities of practice and yes, it will give us new opportunities to explore, share and compare data and information. But it’s also a huge money saving opportunity for the sector. Carl thinks that first opportunities are particularly around the extranets – as councils need to work closely with public sector partners, the voluntary and community sectors and social enterprises around new ways of delivering public services. And, of course, there are also opportunities to link sources of learning and help within council intranets to the Knowledge Hub. But there may also be opportunities to use the Knowledge Hub as an intranet itself. Either through extended use (we’d have to work out that might be done), but also perhaps as a local instance of the Knowledge Hub code.

The last point to make is that we are on a learning journey and i’m keen to hear from other lcoal authorities who are interested in this approach or who are considering the same thing as i’d love to chat some things through with you and look at how we can save development and integration time and costs.


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