What is an Intranet?

“So there’s the internet.I’m sure you’ve heard of it.” It’s that global system of networks that connects the entire world. But what connects different parts of a particular company or organization? That’s called an intranet. The intranet is a computer network that shares information, services and systems within an organization. Intranets utilize familiar internet protocols—so HTTP web services, email and file transferring can be found there. It can be thought of as a private extension of the internet, confined to one institution. And just as the internet has changed the way the world works… Intranets have changed the way corporations operate. Especially regarding collaboration, project management and customer relationship management, to name just a few. Intranets are usually handled in-house, managed by the communications, human resources or IT facets of a company. And because of the intricacy and diversity of content, many intranets are much more complex than their company’s public websites. So maintaining it oftentimes requires a total team effort. But the benefits of concentration on a now-indispensable aspect of modern business are many. For instance: Collaboration is enhanced because the intranet makes data accessible throughout the organization, allowing for easier teamwork. Corporate culture is democratized because the same information is made available to every employee. The bottom line is enhanced, since all the information needed for employee manuals, requisition forms, contact lists and more can be accessed electronically through the intranet. This saves costs on the likes of printing and distribution. Time is also saved because data can be reached on an as-needed basis, and processes such as benefit enrollment are centralized and expedited. Combine all these assets and more, and overall workplace productivity and operations are optimized.And it hasn’t taken long for corporations to realize the true potential of intranets. Beyond simply storing central documents in one place, intranets have become communication hubs for many organizations. Prompting some to hire companies that will “socialize” their intranet and augment correspondence amongst the personnel. The most common software used for intranets is Microsoft SharePoint, which is estimated to be responsible for half of all intranets in use. But many companies are now turning to vendors that specialize in intranet software, such as Vauzo. So, as you can see, the concepts behind the internet do not only affect the global network. When applied within enterprises—through the form of the intranet—these same principles provide innovation and improvement on a much smaller, more contained scale.

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