An intranet is a private network that is contained within an enterprise, and used for the secure sharing of company information and computing resources among employees. In essence, an intranet is a digital workspace. There are several benefits that come with this.
The first is that an intranet can streamline the day-to-day activities of a company. It does this through making repeated tasks more feasible and easier to perform. An intranet can also help to centralize and manage important information and company data in a database. This makes collaboration much easier as information can be shared across the whole network.
While having one type of intranet can have a far-reaching impact on productivity, one of the significant advantages of intranet variations is that the different types are complementary. Here are the different types of intranet:
The Internal Website
The people interacting with it are divided into two groups: the consumers and the publishers. An internal website has a defined admin section that relatively few people can access. Before it’s published, information is reviewed and goes through workflow and approvals. The intranet has the same structure as a website, except for the fact that it’s behind a firewall.
The Distributed Intranet
In large organizations, it is common for the intranet to become decentralized. When this happens, there are dozens or, at times, hundreds of small applications as opposed to one definable intranet. These small applications can be an announcements system, a phone directory, and a centralized user database.
They are grouped around a common infrastructure, which is often LDAP or Active Directory. There is also usually a centralized store with all the design elements, which allows all the mini-applications to have the same look.
The Collaborative Platform
This type has a heavy focus on two-way publishing. On a collaborative platform, users’ consumption is equal to their publishing. This type of intranet relies on features such as discussion forums that help people to connect with each other and share ideas.
In comparison to the three other types of intranet, information in this type tends to be much less formal and more conversational. Collaborative platforms are also known as “enterprise social networks” because of their focus on peer-to-peer interaction.
A web content management system, abbreviated to CMS, is a set of tools that allow an organization to manage digital information on their website through the creation and maintenance of content without knowledge of web programming or markup languages.
A web CMS allows organizations to quickly develop and edit the portals of different members including customers, employees, and other members. This type of intranet can also be effective at delivering content to mobile. Company news, events calendars, blogs, and newsletters are easily shareable through a web CMS.
These four types of intranet have some significant differences. Having all four can allow an organization to capitalize on the advantages they collectively have to offer.