What is an intranet?

And why is a social intranet the logical development of it?


The intranet – The basics

What is an intranet and what is it used for? An intranet is a network that, in many respects, functions like the Internet but, in contrast to the Internet, is only accessible by a specific group of people. This makes an intranet perfect for exchanging information in companies and institutions, for example – particularly if this data is only intended for people within the organization in question.

Another difference between an intranet and the Internet lies in the ability to grant users additional permissions. Since the functions of the intranet are also tailored to the requirements of the company in question, these differ from those of the Internet to some extent.

The basics of a social intranet
Social intranet - the basics

Areas of application

Intranet – Tasks and applications

Anyone who wants to survive and even triumph in the age of digitalization and globalization needs well-thought-out knowledge management in their company: rapid communication for exchanges between the employees and easy access to all the necessary data are the basic requirements for an efficient workflow and an organization’s ongoing ability to innovate. In order to achieve this, the intranet therefore fulfills multiple functions in many companies and institutions:

As a database, the intranet contains all of the information that a company’s employees need for their work – at least in theory. In practice, an intranet requires regular maintenance in order to keep the data up to date and to enter new information in good time.

Particularly in the modern variants of the intranet, the focus is increasingly on its function as a platform for rapid communication between employees. Companies thus speed up the internal flow of information massively. The result: the employees network more quickly, communicate more rapidly and therefore increase both their productivity and their creativity.

By assigning the corresponding access permissions, the company specifically controls what functions and information are available to which employees – to precisely the extent that the employee needs for their work. In combination with its function as a database, the intranet therefore forms a basis for the optimization of business processes.

Ideally, an intranet has tools for analyzing how it is used by employees such as with the help of user statistics. As a result, the managers responsible for the intranet are able to review and assess the success of the various intranet functions. In this manner, a company can see which intranet applications are working well. And likewise, the managers responsible can see in good time which areas indicate opportunities for optimization.

Since an intranet is a closed system, it always also offers a certain level of protection for internal company data. Since only a precisely defined group of people have access to the content of the intranet, this platform combines the need for protection of the company’s own data with the benefits of the efficient exchange of information within a company.



How does the intranet work?

As already mentioned, the intranet is a closed system. This can be seen in its name “intranet”, which contains the Latin word “intra”, which in turn means “within”. The intranet connects PCs and mobile devices with one another via network connections. The individual users generally have a personal user account, meaning that they log in to the intranet using a username and password.

Intranet 2.0

What is a social intranet?

In recent years, the question of “What is an intranet?” has developed into the question of “What is a social intranet?”. Because in practice, an intranet often develops into a confusing storage system, in which data is poorly maintained and which is therefore hardly used. The social intranet has a major advantage in comparison with a traditional intranet: it galvanizes the employees significantly more strongly through its improved and direct communication options alone. This makes communication within an organization considerably easier and thus creates a strong incentive for the employees to use it regularly in their day-to-day work. It is for precisely this reason that the intranet has developed into the social intranet.

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