What is an Intranet?

Learn what an intranet is and how it enhances the efficiency of internal business communications & processes while creating organizational community

By Cathy Dew

2Plus2 is proud to launch a new Intranet blog series designed to help you understand what Intranets are and how you can create a highly functional employee portal at you organization. Here is the first in the series: Why You Need a Great Employee Intranet​

You might be asking yourself, just what is an Intranet...

An employee intranet is designed to allow information to be quickly disseminated to employees, to make common internal business processes more efficient and to provide a sense of community within an organization. In essence, an intranet is a business' own private website that:
  • Shares news about what is happening within the different departments
  • Sends alerts that contain information that employees should be aware of and potentially action
  • Provides forms for working with various internal processes such as leave requests, purchases orders, expense claims
  • Offers a central repository for policies, procedures and document libraries with online versioning of all policy and procedure documentation.
  • Organizes employee communities with collaborative features like blogs and discussion boards

An intranet portal can also have a personalized home page specifically tailored for each employee that is dynamically built by using a set of rules that retrieve content based on the current user's role, department, and location. By tagging the content and then matching that content with the current user, only content that is appropriate for the current user is displayed.

How do I know if my organization needs an Intranet?

A well-designed Intranet improves your company’s effectiveness, collaboration and competitiveness in general. Regardless of the location of its users, an Intranet facilitates efficient knowledge management of the company and simplifies how people work together. By facilitating how employees find and share information, an intranet creates a context that encourages innovation and helps employees to make better decisions, simultaneously retaining knowledge of the company in-house. It helps to increase and even boost business productivity, save costs and improve customer service, resulting in a direct impact on the success of the company. Consider some of the scenarios that follow, and if any of these seem familiar or are issues you’d like to address, it’s possible you might need to consider aa employee intranet portal for your company:

  • Employees are spending too much time locating information and documents
  • Lost knowledge among current employees and former employees and inefficient knowledge transfer
  • Excessive use of email, and/or email is used as a document repository or archive for approvals or processes
  • Lack of business process automation
  • File duplication and lack of control

Over the next several week we will be taking a technology-agnostic look at Intranets. 

Our goal is to focus on the features and capabilities of an Intranet, clearly establishing the case for investing in an Intranet for your company. Employee engagement can be inspired, encouraged and recognized via a well-design employee Intranet. We will look at technologies including SharePoint as we review platforms designed sepcifically to deliver common Intranet features. Microsoft has been in the game for a long time and SharePoint is arguably the premiere solution for large-scale document management. We can also say without hesitation that SharePoint proides an excellent solution for team sites which provide a mini-Intrnaet for departments, project teams, and other cross-functional initiatives.

Wow, now I get it!

A company's Intranet can be one of the most powerful tools that connects and engages employees, improves efficiencies, makes content (documents, resources, etc.) findable and supports the company's culture. Here is a great overview of employee intranets.

If you’re considering an Intranet for your organization, or want to improve the effectiveness of your current employee Intranet installation, feel free to call us at (510) 652-7700 or please complete this form to talk to one of our experts.

Cathy Dew
Cathy Dew – CEO + Information Architect
Cathy focuses the company on our mission – Real results. Every time. Information architect and strategist, Cathy is passionate about making software work well – the function, the feel, the result.
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