An intranet offers several advantages. You can use it for your company to improve internal communication and cooperation, among other things.
The term "intranet" is composed of the words "intra" for "within" and "net" for "network". This means: An intranet is a network within an organisation or a company.
A company's intranet runs independently of the World Wide Web and other forms of the internet. This means that external people have no access to an intranet - and that is by design. This is because intranets are where internets, confidential information and important documents of a company are exchanged. That is why the networks are deliberately cut off from the "outside world".
Intranet is an umbrella term for various forms of internal networks. Here are a few examples:
In the past, intranets were often designed like a website or blog. That is, news and announcements were available here for all employees to read, so that they were always informed about internals.
Knowledge management platform
The focus here is on the continuing education of all employees. For example, training videos, tutorials, online quizzes and guides are made available on this intranet.
Collaboration between users is promoted with this form of intranet. For example, there are tools for data exchange, task management and messaging services.
This intranet is visually reminiscent of a social network and, like the collaborative intranet, serves to promote communication and cooperation. Forums and chat groups are thus the focus.
Onboarding information, leave requests, expense report templates and the like can be found on this form of intranet.
Often intranets are a mixture of different forms in order to reconcile the various requirements. That is the beauty of the technology: it can be adapted to the individual needs of a company.
Why should companies build an intranet? These advantages speak for the use of internal networks or platforms:
An intranet serves to improve communication in a company. News and other important information can be posted. In this way, ideally, every employee gets to know what the new business strategy is, where a branch office has been opened or what projects are coming up.
Modern intranets are moving towards social intranets and collaboration intranets. This is because companies are interested in not only communicating from "top down", but also in exchanging information across all levels. In addition, an intranet helps with exchange when employees spend a lot of time in the home office or as business travellers.
An intranet is very well suited for storing existing knowledge so that as many people as possible can benefit from it. Among other things, it can be used to integrate training documents and videos and to offer interactive training.
An intranet platform can be used to connect collaboration tools that promote cooperation - especially if there is frequent remote work in a company. The intranet takes on the role of a central hub through which, for example, documents can be jointly edited.
An intranet supports the digital transformation of companies. Work processes that were carried out analogue or only partially digitally in the past are carried out completely digitally within the framework of process digitisation. This accelerates the entire digitalisation of a company.
Information that must not be leaked to the outside world is well kept in an intranet. It is important that the intranet is protected by various IT security measures so that no external parties can access the data.
Certainly, an intranet also has its disadvantages and hurdles. These include, among others:
Setting up and maintaining an intranet involves effort, which ultimately costs money. You also need a budget for maintenance and improvement.
If an intranet is not to function "stand alone", but is to be connected to other systems such as a CMS, a CRM or special collaboration tools, this can be costly. Especially if the software solutions are incompatible with each other and there are no suitable interfaces.
An intranet only makes sense if employees use it regularly. If employees do not understand how to use it or if no one wants to participate in its maintenance, the internal network will quickly become orphaned.
If an intranet is not properly secured, hackers and other cybercriminals can break in and steal data. Or the attackers may use the system to paralyse important areas of the company.
On the one hand, internal IT departments can set up an intranet with "off-the-shelf" tools. On the other hand, there are numerous service providers who specialise in creating individual solutions.