intranet is a computer network that uses Internet Protocol technology to share
information, operational systems, or computing services within an organization.
This term is used in contrast to extranet, a network between organizations, and
instead refers to a network within an organization. Sometimes, the term refers
only to the organization's internal website, but may be a more extensive part
of the organization's information technology infrastructure, and may be
composed of multiple local area networks. The objective is to organize each
individual's desktop with minimal cost, time and effort to be more productive,
cost efficient, timely, and competitive.
intranet may host multiple private websites and constitute an important
component and focal point of internal communication and collaboration. Any of
the well known Internet protocols may be found in an intranet, such as HTTP
(web services), SMTP (e-mail), and FTP (file transfer protocol). Internet
technologies are often deployed to provide modern interfaces to legacy
information systems hosting corporate data.
intranet can be understood as a private analog of the Internet, or as a private
extension of the Internet confined to an organization. The first intranet
websites and home pages were published in 1991, and began to appear in
non-educational organizations in 1994.
are sometimes contrasted to extranets. While intranets are generally restricted
to employees of the organization, extranets may also be accessed by customers,
suppliers, or other approved parties. Extranets extend a private network onto
the Internet with special provisions for authentication, authorization and
accounting (AAA protocol).
intranets are being used to deliver tools, e.g. collaboration (to facilitate
working in groups and teleconferencing) or sophisticated corporate directories,
sales and customer relationship management tools, project management etc., to
are also being used as corporate culture-change platforms. For example, large
numbers of employees discussing key issues in an intranet forum application
could lead to new ideas in management, productivity, quality, and other
intranets, website traffic is often similar to public website traffic and can
be better understood by using web metrics software to track overall activity.
User surveys also improve intranet website effectiveness. Larger businesses
allow users within their intranet to access public internet through firewall
servers. They have the ability to screen messages coming and going keeping
of an intranet is made accessible to customers and others outside the business,
that part becomes part of an extranet. Businesses can send private messages
through the public network, using special encryption/decryption and other
security safeguards to connect one part of their intranet to another.
user-experience, editorial, and technology team‘s work together to produce
in-house sites. Most commonly, intranets are managed by the communications, HR
or CIO departments of large organizations, or some combination of these.
of the scope and variety of content and the number of system interfaces,
intranets of many organizations are much more complex than their respective
public websites. Intranets and their use are growing rapidly. According to the
Intranet design annual 2007 from Nielsen Norman Group, the number of pages on
participants' intranets averaged 200,000 over the years 2001 to 2003 and has
grown to an average of 6 million pages over 2005–2007.
Workforce productivity: Intranets can
help users to locate and view information faster and use applications relevant
to their roles and responsibilities. With the help of a web browser interface,
users can access data held in any database the organization wants to make
available, anytime and subject to security provisions from anywhere within the
company workstations, increasing employees' ability to perform their jobs
faster, more accurately, and with confidence that they have the right
information. It also helps to improve the services provided to the users.
Time: Intranets allow organizations to
distribute information to employees on an as-needed basis; Employees may link
to relevant information at their convenience, rather than being distracted
indiscriminately by email.
Communication: Intranets can serve as
powerful tools for communication within an organization, vertically strategic
initiatives that have a global reach throughout the organization. The type of
information that can easily be conveyed is the purpose of the initiative and
what the initiative is aiming to achieve, who is driving the initiative,
results achieved to date, and who to speak to for more information. By
providing this information on the intranet, staff have the opportunity to keep
up-to-date with the strategic focus of the organization. Some examples of
communication would be chat, email, and/or blogs. A great real world example of
where an intranet helped a company communicate is when Nestle had a number of
food processing plants in Scandinavia. Their central support system had to deal
with a number of queries every day. When Nestle decided to invest in an
intranet, they quickly realized the savings. McGovern says the savings from the
reduction in query calls was substantially greater than the investment in the
Web publishing allows cumbersome
corporate knowledge to be maintained and easily accessed throughout the company
using hypermedia and Web technologies. Examples include: employee manuals,
benefits documents, company policies, business standards, news feeds, and even
training, can be accessed using common Internet standards (Acrobat files, Flash
files, CGI applications). Because each business unit can update the online copy
of a document, the most recent version is usually available to employees using
Business operations and management:
Intranets are also being used as a platform for developing and deploying
applications to support business operations and decisions across the
Cost-effective: Users can view
information and data via web-browser rather than maintaining physical documents
such as procedure manuals, internal phone list and requisition forms. This can
potentially save the business money on printing, duplicating documents, and the
environment as well as document maintenance overhead. For example, the HRM
company PeopleSoft "derived significant cost savings by shifting HR
processes to the intranet". McGovern goes on to say the manual cost of
enrolling in benefits was found to be USD109.48 per enrollment. "Shifting
this process to the intranet reduced the cost per enrollment to $21.79; a
saving of 80 percent". Another company that saved money on expense reports
was Cisco. "In 1996, Cisco processed 54,000 reports and the amount of
dollars processed was USD19 million".
Enhance collaboration: Information is
easily accessible by all authorised users, which enables teamwork.
Standards-compliant web browsers are available for Windows, Mac, and UNIX.
Built for one audience: Many companies
dictate computer specifications which, in turn, may allow Intranet developers
to write applications that only have to work on one browser (no cross-browser
compatibility issues). Promote common corporate culture: Every user has the
ability to view the same information within the Intranet.
Immediate updates: When dealing with
the public in any capacity, laws, specifications, and parameters can change.
Intranets make it possible to provide your audience with "live"
changes so they are kept up-to-date, which can limit a company's liability.
Supports a distributed computing
architecture: The intranet can also be linked to a company‘s management
information system, for example a time keeping system.
3 Planning and creation
organizations devote considerable resources into the planning and
implementation of their intranet as it is of strategic importance to the
organization's success. Some of the planning would include topics such as:
The purpose and goals of the intranet
Persons or departments responsible for
implementation and management
Functional plans, information
architecture, page layouts, design
Implementation schedules and phase-out
of existing systems
Defining and implementing security of
How to ensure it is within legal
boundaries and other constraints
Level of interactivity (e.g. wikis,
on-line forms) desired.
Is the input of new data and updating
of existing data to be centrally controlled or devolved
in addition to the hardware and software decisions (like content management
systems), participation issues (like good taste, harassment, confidentiality),
and features to be supported. Intranets are often static sites. Essentially
they are a shared drive, serving up centrally stored documents alongside
internal articles or communications (often one-way communication). However
organisations are now starting to think of how their intranets can become a
'communication hub' for their team by using companies specialising in
'socialising' intranets. The actual implementation would include steps such as:
Securing senior management support and
Business requirements analysis.
Identify users' information needs.
Installation of web server and user
Installing required user applications
Creation of document framework for the
content to be hosted.
User involvement in testing and
promoting use of intranet.
Ongoing measurement and evaluation,
including through benchmarking against other intranets.
useful component in an intranet structure might be key personnel committed to
maintaining the Intranet and keeping content current. For feedback on the
intranet, social networking can be done through a forum for users to indicate
what they want and what they do not like.
4 Intranet software
dominant software used for creating intranets. Estimates indicate that around
50% of all intranets are developed using SharePoint, however there are many
alternatives. Other intranet software includes:
• Autonomy Corporation
• Atlassian Confluence
• Lotus Notes
• eXo Platform
• Oracle Fusion Middleware
• Google Sites
• Plone (software)
• Igloo Software
• SAP NetWeaver Portal
• IBM Websphere
• Interact Intranet
• Jive Software