An intranet is a network within an organization that uses Internet technologies to enable users to find, use, and share documents and Web pages. Corporations use intranets to communicate with employees.
In some large companies intranets are used as the primary way for employees to obtain and share work-related documents, share knowledge, collaborate on designs, access e-learning and learn about company news.
Intranets use traditional internet protocols, TCP/IP and HTTP to transfer data. They usually reside behind firewalls, for security, and are not limited by physical location anyone around the world can be on the same intranet. Intranets also link users to the outside internet, and with the proper security in place may use public networks to transfer data.
What are some examples?
Intranets have been around for a while and their importance and functionality has grown steadily over the years, as the Internet and the technologies it uses have become a more integral part of business.
At Ford Motor Company, more than 175,000 employees in 950 locations worldwide have access to the company's intranet, which is called Myford.com. The intranet gives employees information about benefits, demographics, salary history, general company news and human resources forms.
Is it true that some intranets don't work?
That's true; some intranet projects are not successful. When an intranet does not have senior management support (and thus, funding), or is badly organized, employees can waste time using them, lowering productivity. Not good.
Since intranets are technically easy to put in place, the original creators just started putting everything on them without discipline or organization and they turned into a big mess where users could not find what they were looking for. But these mistakes are easily avoided when intranets are properly supported, planned, organized and managed.
The benefits, especially in areas like knowledge sharing, collaboration and productivity, grow exponentially as more employees take advantage of the resources that intranets offer.
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