The way of the old intranet has been to control the users, and keep the users limited in what they can do, and where they can go in the intranet. The administrator has had the role of a prison warden, controlling the inmates. Now that collaboration and openness Is emphasized and popular buzzwords when it comes to the design of intranets, will there be a need for an administrator at all?
Even though the users are given more access and have the more rights than previously, there will still be a need to maintain structure and tidiness in the system. Before, the structure of the intranet system kept users from doing unforeseen things, or cluttering the intranet, due to their restrictions. Now that the responsibility to behave lies with the users, not all of them will behave in a way that is expected by the IT-staff. In order to make sure the intranet is functioning properly, the administrator(s) will need to be the ones that keep it neat and clean. They will begardeners more than wardens.
Currently, administrators are finding out that their roles are changing in the collaborative environments of the modern intranets. What should be realized is that just because the roles are changing, it does not mean that administrators are no longer needed. The need to keep a clean and structured intranet environment is still there; how this is done is what is changing. From the controlling style of the warden role, the admin is now turned into a gardener.
What the role change for the administrator will lead to is a more relaxed environment where the users and the administrators are on the same side of the fence, collaborating and creating content together. Hopefully this can lead to a more alive and fruitful intranet.