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An intranet is a private computer network that uses Internet Protocol technologies to securely share any part of an organization's information or operational systems within that organization. The term is used in contrast to internet, a network between organizations, and instead refers to a network within an organization. Sometimes the term refers only to the organization's internal website, but may be a more extensive part of the organization's information technology infrastructure. It may host multiple private websites and constitute an important component and focal point of internal communication and collaboration.

Contents

Characteristics

An intranet is built from the same concepts and technologies used for the Internet, such as client-server computing and the Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP). Any of the well known Internet protocols may be found in an intranet, such as HTTP (web services), SMTP (e-mail), and FTP (file transfer). Internet technologies are often deployed to provide modern interfaces to legacy information systems hosting corporate data.

An intranet can be understood as a private analog of the Internet, or as a private extension of the Internet confined to an organization. The first intranet websites and home pages began to appear in organizations in 1990-1991. Although not officially noted, the term intranet first became common-place among early adopters, such as universities and technology corporations, in 1992.

Intranets are also contrasted with extranets. While intranets are generally restricted to employees of the organization, extranets may also be accessed by customers, suppliers, or other approved parties.[1] Extranets extend a private network onto the Internet with special provisions for access, authorization, and authentication (AAA protocol).

Intranets may provide a gateway to the Internet by means of a network gateway with a firewall, shielding the intranet from unauthorized external access. The gateway often also implements user authentication, encryption of messages, and often virtual private network (VPN) connectivity for off-site employees to access company information, computing resources and internal communications.

Uses

Increasingly,intranets are being used to deliver tools and applications, e.g., collaboration (to facilitate working in groups and teleconferencing) or sophisticated corporate directories, sales and customer relationship management tools, project management etc., to advance productivity.

Intranets are also being used as corporate culture-change platforms. For example, large numbers of employees discussing key issues in an intranet forum application could lead to new ideas in management, productivity, quality, and other corporate issues.

In large intranets, website traffic is often similar to public website traffic and can be better understood by using web metrics software to track overall activity. User surveys also improve intranet website effectiveness. Larger businesses allow users within their intranet to access public internet through firewall servers. They have the ability to screen messages coming and going keeping security intact.

When part of an intranet is made accessible to customers and others outside the business, that part becomes part of an extranet. Businesses can send private messages through the public network, using special encryption/decryption and other security safeguards to connect one part of their intranet to another.

Intranet user-experience, editorial, and technology teams work together to produce in-house sites. Most commonly, intranets are managed by the communications, HR or CIO departments of large organizations, or some combination of these.

Because of the scope and variety of content and the number of system interfaces, intranets of many organizations are much more complex than their respective public websites. Intranets and their use are growing rapidly. According to the Intranet design annual 2007 from Nielsen Norman Group, the number of pages on participants' intranets averaged 200,000 over the years 2001 to 2003 and has grown to an average of 6 million pages over 2005–2007.[2]

Benefits

  • Workforce productivity: Intranets can also help users to locate and view information faster and use applications relevant to their roles and responsibilities. With the help of a web browser interface, users can access data held in any database the organization wants to make available, anytime and - subject to security provisions - from anywhere within the company workstations, increasing employees' ability to perform their jobs faster, more accurately, and with confidence that they have the right information. It also helps to improve the services provided to the users.
  • Time: Intranets allow organizations to distribute information to employees on an as-needed basis; Employees may link to relevant information at their convenience, rather than being distracted indiscriminately by electronic mail.
  • Communication: Intranets can serve as powerful tools for communication within an organization, vertically and horizontally. From a communications standpoint, intranets are useful to communicate strategic initiatives that have a global reach throughout the organization. The type of information that can easily be conveyed is the purpose of the initiative and what the initiative is aiming to achieve, who is driving the initiative, results achieved to date, and who to speak to for more information. By providing this information on the intranet, staff have the opportunity to keep up-to-date with the strategic focus of the organization. Some examples of communication would be chat, email, and or blogs. A great real world example of where an intranet helped a company communicate is when Nestle had a number of food processing plants in Scandinavia. Their central support system had to deal with a number of queries every day (McGovern, Gerry). When Nestle decided to invest in an intranet, they quickly realized the savings. McGovern says the savings from the reduction in query calls was substantially greater than the investment in the intranet.
  • Web publishing allows cumbersome corporate knowledge to be maintained and easily accessed throughout the company using hypermedia and Web technologies. Examples include: employee manuals, benefits documents, company policies, business standards, newsfeeds, and even training, can be accessed using common Internet standards (Acrobat files, Flash files, CGI applications). Because each business unit can update the online copy of a document, the most recent version is always available to employees using the intranet.
  • Business operations and management: Intranets are also being used as a platform for developing and deploying applications to support business operations and decisions across the internetworked enterprise.
  • Cost-effective: Users can view information and data via web-browser rather than maintaining physical documents such as procedure manuals, internal phone list and requisition forms. This can potentially save the business money on printing, duplicating documents, and the environment as well as document maintenance overhead. "PeopleSoft, a large software company, has derived significant cost savings by shifting HR processes to the intranet" [3]. Gerry McGovern goes on to say the manual cost of enrolling in benefits was found to be USD109.48 per enrollment. "Shifting this process to the intranet reduced the cost per enrollment to $21.79; a saving of 80 percent" [3]. PeopleSoft also saved some money when they received requests for mailing address change. "For an individual to request a change to their mailing address, the manual cost was USD17.77. The intranet reduced this cost to USD4.87, a saving of 73 percent" [3]. PeopleSoft was just one of the many companies that saved money by using an intranet. Another company that saved a lot of money on expense reports was Cisco. "In 1996, Cisco processed 54,000 reports and the amount of dollars processed was USD19 million" [3].
  • Promote common corporate culture: Every user is viewing the same information within the Intranet.
  • Enhance Collaboration: With information easily accessible by all authorised users, teamwork is enabled.
  • Cross-platform Capability: Standards-compliant web browsers are available for Windows, Mac, and UNIX.
  • Built for One Audience: Many companies dictate computer specifications. Which, in turn, may allow Intranet developers to write applications that only have to work on one browser (no cross-browser compatibility issues).
  • Knowledge of your Audience: Being able to specifically address your "viewer" is a great advantange. Since Intranets are user specific (requiring database/network authentication prior to access), you know exactly who you are interfacing with. So, you can personalize your Intranet based on role (job title, department) or individual ("Congratulations Jane, on your 3rd year with our company!").
  • Immediate Updates: When dealing with the public in any capacity, laws/specifications/parameters can change. With an Intranet and providing your audience with "live" changes, they are never out of date, which can limit a company's liability.
  • Supports a distributed computing architecture: The intranet can also be linked to a company’s management information system, for example a time keeping system.

Planning and creation

Most organizations devote considerable resources into the planning and implementation of their intranet as it is of strategic importance to the organization's success. Some of the planning would include topics such as:

  • The purpose and goals of the intranet
  • Persons or departments responsible for implementation and management
  • Functional plans, information architecture, page layouts, design.[4]
  • Implementation schedules and phase-out of existing systems
  • Defining and implementing security of the intranet
  • How to ensure it is within legal boundaries and other constraints
  • Level of interactivity (eg wikis, on-line forms) desired.
  • Is the input of new data and updating of existing data to be centrally controlled or devolved.

These are in addition to the hardware and software decisions (like content management systems), participation issues (like good taste, harassment, confidentiality), and features to be supported[5].

The actual implementation would include steps such as:

  • Securing senior management support and funding.[6]
  • Business requirements analysis.
  • User involvement to identify users' information needs.
  • Installation of web server and user access network.
  • Installing required user applications on computers.
  • Creation of document framework for the content to be hosted.[7]
  • User involvement in testing and promoting use of intranet.
  • Ongoing measurement and evaluation, including through benchmarking against other intranets.[8]

Useful components of an intranet structure might include:

  • Key personnel committed to maintaining the Intranet and keeping content current.
  • Social networking is useful as a feedback forum for users to indicate what they want and what they do not like.

See also

References

  1. ^ Callaghan, J (2002). Inside Intranets & Extranets: Knowledge Management AND the Struggle for Power. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-98743-8. 
  2. ^ Pernice Coyne, Kara; Schwartz, Mathew; Nielsen, Jakob (2007), "Intranet Design Annual 2007", Nielsen Norman Group
  3. ^ a b c d McGovern, Gerry
  4. ^ Ward, Toby (2006-06-11). "Leading an intranet redesign". IntranetBlog. http://intranetblog.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2006/6/11/2025170.html. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  5. ^ LaMee, James A. (2002-04-30). "Intranets and Special Libraries: Making the most of inhouse communications". University of South Carolina. http://www.libsci.sc.edu/bob/class/clis724/SpecialLibrariesHandbook/Int&SpecLib.html. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  6. ^ Ward, Toby. "Planning: An Intranet Model for success Intranet". http://www.prescientdigital.com/articles/intranet-articles/intranet-planning-an-intranet-model-for-success. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  7. ^ "Intranet: Table of Contents". Bookrags.com. http://www.bookrags.com/sciences/computerscience/intranet-csci-04.html. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  8. ^ "Intranet benchmarking explained". Intranet Benchmarking Forum. http://www.ibforum.com/?cmd=CMS_Article_List_View&uuid=Services&article=8f4928b5b6f5584beda884868f3ca458. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
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An intranet is a private computer network that uses Internet Protocol technologies to securely share any part of an organization's information or network operating system within that organization. The term is used in contrast to internet, a network between organizations, and instead refers to a network within an organization. Sometimes the term refers only to the organization's internal website, but may be a more extensive part of the organization's information technology infrastructure. It may host multiple private websites and constitute an important component and focal point of internal communication and collaboration.

Contents

Characteristics

An intranet is built from the same concepts and technologies used for the Internet, such as client–server computing and the Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP). Any of the well known Internet protocols may be found in an intranet, such as HTTP (web services), SMTP (e-mail), and FTP (file transfer). Internet technologies are often deployed to provide modern interfaces to legacy information systems hosting corporate data.

An intranet can be understood as a private analog of the Internet, or as a private extension of the Internet confined to an organization. The first intranet websites and home pages began to appear in organizations in 1990-1991. Although not officially noted, the term intranet first became common-place among early adopters, such as universities and technology corporations, in 1992.[dubious ]

Intranets are also contrasted with extranets. While intranets are generally restricted to employees of the organization, extranets may also be accessed by customers, suppliers, or other approved parties.[1] Extranets extend a private network onto the Internet with special provisions for access, authorization, and authentication (AAA protocol).

Intranets may provide a gateway to the Internet by means of a network gateway with a firewall, shielding the intranet from unauthorized external access. The gateway often also implements user authentication, encryption of messages, and often virtual private network (VPN) connectivity for off-site employees to access company information, computing resources and internal communications.

Uses

Increasingly, intranets are being used to deliver tools and applications, e.g., collaboration (to facilitate working in groups and teleconferencing) or sophisticated corporate directories, sales and customer relationship management tools, project management etc., to advance productivity.

Intranets are also being used as corporate culture-change platforms. For example, large numbers of employees discussing key issues in an intranet forum application could lead to new ideas in management, productivity, quality, and other corporate issues.

In large intranets, website traffic is often similar to public website traffic and can be better understood by using web metrics software to track overall activity. User surveys also improve intranet website effectiveness. Larger businesses allow users within their intranet to access public internet through firewall servers. They have the ability to screen messages coming and going keeping security intact.

When part of an intranet is made accessible to customers and others outside the business, that part becomes part of an extranet. Businesses can send private messages through the public network, using special encryption/decryption and other security safeguards to connect one part of their intranet to another.

Intranet user-experience, editorial, and technology teams work together to produce in-house sites. Most commonly, intranets are managed by the communications, HR or CIO departments of large organizations, or some combination of these.

Because of the scope and variety of content and the number of system interfaces, intranets of many organizations are much more complex than their respective public websites. Intranets and their use are growing rapidly. According to the Intranet design annual 2007 from Nielsen Norman Group, the number of pages on participants' intranets averaged 200,000 over the years 2001 to 2003 and has grown to an average of 6 million pages over 2005–2007.[2]

Benefits

  • Workforce productivity: Intranets can also help users to locate and view information faster and use applications relevant to their roles and responsibilities. With the help of a web browser interface, users can access data held in any database the organization wants to make available, anytime and - subject to security provisions - from anywhere within the company workstations, increasing employees' ability to perform their jobs faster, more accurately, and with confidence that they have the right information. It also helps to improve the services provided to the users.
  • Time: Intranets allow organizations to distribute information to employees on an as-needed basis; Employees may link to relevant information at their convenience, rather than being distracted indiscriminately by electronic mail.
  • Communication: Intranets can serve as powerful tools for communication within an organization, vertically and horizontally. From a communications standpoint, intranets are useful to communicate strategic initiatives that have a global reach throughout the organization. The type of information that can easily be conveyed is the purpose of the initiative and what the initiative is aiming to achieve, who is driving the initiative, results achieved to date, and who to speak to for more information. By providing this information on the intranet, staff have the opportunity to keep up-to-date with the strategic focus of the organization. Some examples of communication would be chat, email, and or blogs. A great real world example of where an intranet helped a company communicate is when Nestle had a number of food processing plants in Scandinavia. Their central support system had to deal with a number of queries every day (McGovern, Gerry). When Nestle decided to invest in an intranet, they quickly realized the savings. McGovern says the savings from the reduction in query calls was substantially greater than the investment in the intranet.
  • Web publishing allows cumbersome corporate knowledge to be maintained and easily accessed throughout the company using hypermedia and Web technologies. Examples include: employee manuals, benefits documents, company policies, business standards, newsfeeds, and even training, can be accessed using common Internet standards (Acrobat files, Flash files, CGI applications). Because each business unit can update the online copy of a document, the most recent version is always available to employees using the intranet.
  • Business operations and management: Intranets are also being used as a platform for developing and deploying applications to support business operations and decisions across the internetworked enterprise.
  • Cost-effective: Users can view information and data via web-browser rather than maintaining physical documents such as procedure manuals, internal phone list and requisition forms. This can potentially save the business money on printing, duplicating documents, and the environment as well as document maintenance overhead. "PeopleSoft, a large software company, has derived significant cost savings by shifting HR processes to the intranet" [3]. Gerry McGovern goes on to say the manual cost of enrolling in benefits was found to be USD109.48 per enrollment. "Shifting this process to the intranet reduced the cost per enrollment to $21.79; a saving of 80 percent" [3]. PeopleSoft also saved some money when they received requests for mailing address change. "For an individual to request a change to their mailing address, the manual cost was USD17.77. The intranet reduced this cost to USD4.87, a saving of 73 percent" [3]. PeopleSoft was just one of the many companies that saved money by using an intranet. Another company that saved a lot of money on expense reports was Cisco. "In 1996, Cisco processed 54,000 reports and the amount of dollars processed was USD19 million" [3].
  • Promote common corporate culture: Every user is viewing the same information within the Intranet.
  • Enhance Collaboration: With information easily accessible by all authorised users, teamwork is enabled.
  • Cross-platform Capability: Standards-compliant web browsers are available for Windows, Mac, and UNIX.
  • Built for One Audience: Many companies dictate computer specifications. Which, in turn, may allow Intranet developers to write applications that only have to work on one browser (no cross-browser compatibility issues).
  • Knowledge of your Audience: Being able to specifically address your "viewer" is a great advantange. Since Intranets are user specific (requiring database/network authentication prior to access), you know exactly who you are interfacing with. So, you can personalize your Intranet based on role (job title, department) or individual ("Congratulations Jane, on your 3rd year with our company!").
  • Immediate Updates: When dealing with the public in any capacity, laws/specifications/parameters can change. With an Intranet and providing your audience with "live" changes, they are never out of date, which can limit a company's liability.
  • Supports a distributed computing architecture: The intranet can also be linked to a company’s management information system, for example a time keeping system.

Planning and creation

Most organizations devote considerable resources into the planning and implementation of their intranet as it is of strategic importance to the organization's success. Some of the planning would include topics such as:

  • The purpose and goals of the intranet
  • Persons or departments responsible for implementation and management
  • Functional plans, information architecture, page layouts, design.[4]
  • Implementation schedules and phase-out of existing systems
  • Defining and implementing security of the intranet
  • How to ensure it is within legal boundaries and other constraints
  • Level of interactivity (eg wikis, on-line forms) desired.
  • Is the input of new data and updating of existing data to be centrally controlled or devolved.

These are in addition to the hardware and software decisions (like content management systems), participation issues (like good taste, harassment, confidentiality), and features to be supported[5].

  • Intranets are often static sites, basically they are essentially a shared drive, serving up centrally stored documents alongside internal articles or communications - often one-way communication. However organisations are now starting to think of how their intranets can become a 'communication hub' for their team by using companies specialising in 'socialising' intranets.[6]

The actual implementation would include steps such as:

  • Securing senior management support and funding.[7]
  • Business requirements analysis.
  • User involvement to identify users' information needs.
  • Installation of web server and user access network.
  • Installing required user applications on computers.
  • Creation of document framework for the content to be hosted.[8]
  • User involvement in testing and promoting use of intranet.
  • Ongoing measurement and evaluation, including through benchmarking against other intranets.[9]

Useful components of an intranet structure might include:

  • Key personnel committed to maintaining the Intranet and keeping content current.
  • Social networking is useful as a feedback forum for users to indicate what they want and what they do not like.

See also

References

  1. ^ Callaghan, J (2002). Inside Intranets & Extranets: Knowledge Management AND the Struggle for Power. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-98743-8. 
  2. ^ Pernice Coyne, Kara; Schwartz, Mathew; Nielsen, Jakob (2007), "Intranet Design Annual 2007", Nielsen Norman Group
  3. ^ a b c d McGovern, Gerry
  4. ^ Ward, Toby (2006-06-11). "Leading an intranet redesign". IntranetBlog. http://intranetblog.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2006/6/11/2025170.html. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  5. ^ LaMee, James A. (2002-04-30). "Intranets and Special Libraries: Making the most of inhouse communications". University of South Carolina. http://www.libsci.sc.edu/bob/class/clis724/SpecialLibrariesHandbook/Int&SpecLib.html. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  6. ^ Scaplehorn, geoff (2010-03-01). "Bringing the internet indoors - socialising your intranet.". IntranetBlog. http://www.contentformula.com/articles/2010/bringing-the-internet-indoors-socialising-your-intranet/. Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  7. ^ Ward, Toby. "Planning: An Intranet Model for success Intranet". http://www.prescientdigital.com/articles/intranet-articles/intranet-planning-an-intranet-model-for-success. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  8. ^ "Intranet: Table of Contents – Macmillan Computer Sciences: Internet and Beyond". Bookrags.com. http://www.bookrags.com/sciences/computerscience/intranet-csci-04.html. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  9. ^ "Intranet benchmarking explained". Intranet Benchmarking Forum. http://www.ibforum.com/?cmd=CMS_Article_List_View&uuid=Services&article=8f4928b5b6f5584beda884868f3ca458. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 

Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

Italian

Etymology

intra- +‎ net

Noun

Intranet f. inv.

  1. (computing) intranet

Anagrams


Wikibooks

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

< The Computer Revolution

Contents

What is an Intranet and what are its benefits?

An intranet is a privately maintained computer network that can be accessed only by authorized persons, especially members or employees of the organization that owns it.

The main purpose of an intranet is to share company information and computing resources among employees. An intranet can also be used to facilitate working in groups and for teleconferences over long distances. It is similar to the internet as users search for information, however it is rarely used to store information outside the scope of the users occupation and industry.

Benefits

  1. Simple routine question and answers can be kept on the intranet to cut down on interoffice chatter.
  2. Form Finding. Do your employees spend time chasing paper ? trying to hunt down paper forms, reports, documents? How much time would be saved if each form is saved on the internet and is with a few key strokes of everyone's fingertips!
  3. Company Growth and targets. Having such information as the company's targets and goals for each employee can educate employees on how their jobs affect the company's targets and ultimately bottom line.
  4. Training. By having on-line training materials. Employees can learn during their work hours right at their own desks.

So Who has Intranets?

Surprisingly enough, a lot of corporations use intranets. Most education system use them to provide on-line courses,registration information, administration steps for current students. Banks are connected to show current account information from branches across the globe. Airline have on-line booking of ticket schedules for travel agents around the world.

Ethernet crossover cable network

A simple, two-computer network between two computers can be created using an Ethernet crossover cable. As in any other TCP/IP network, each computer needs to be assigned a unique IP address. In this network configuration, a default gateway is not used and can be unspecified.

Example crossover network configuration using arbitrary unique IP addresses
Machine 1 Machine 2
IP address 192.168.0.1 192.168.0.2
Subnet Mask 255.255.255.0

Information on how to deploy such network on Windows systems can be found here


Simple English

An intranet is a private network website that only a few selected computers can have access to. Usually, they are being used as internal company websites for employees to know more about what is happening in the company without letting other people see.

An intranet works the same way as a normal website. The system administrator can add webpages to it and it can be accessed normally from a web browser.

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