Not to be confused with Internet.

An intranet is a private network accessible only to an organization's staff.[1][2] Generally a wide range of information and services from the organization's internal IT systems are available that would not be available to the public from the Internet. A company-wide intranet can constitute an important focal point of internal communication and collaboration, and provide a single starting point to access internal and external resources. In its simplest form an intranet is established with the technologies for local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs).[3][4][5]

Intranets began to appear in a range of larger organizations from 1994.[1]


Increasingly, intranets are being used to deliver tools, 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.[6]


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 determining the purpose and goals of the intranet,[9][10] identifying persons or departments responsible for implementation and management and devising functional plans, page layouts and designs.[11]

The appropriate staff would also ensure that implementation schedules and phase-out of existing systems were organized, while defining and implementing security of the intranet and ensuring it lies within legal boundaries and other constraints. In order to produce a high-value end product, systems planners should determine the level of interactivity (e.g. wikis, on-line forms) desired.

Planners may also consider whether the input of new data and updating of existing data is to be centrally controlled or devolve. These decisions sit alongside to the hardware and software considerations (like content management systems), participation issues (like good taste, harassment, confidentiality), and features to be supported.[12]

Intranets are often static sites; they are a shared drive, serving up centrally stored documents alongside internal articles or communications (often one-way communication). By leveraging firms which specialise in 'social' intranets, organisations are beginning to think of how their intranets can become a 'communication hub' for their entire team.[13] The actual implementation would include steps such as securing senior management support and funding.,[14] conducting a business requirement analysis and identifying users' information needs.

From the technical perspective, there would need to be a co-ordinated installation of the web server and user access network, the required user/client applications and the creation of document framework (or template) for the content to be hosted.[15]

The end-user should be involved in testing and promoting use of the company intranet, possibly through a parallel adoption methodology or pilot programme. In the long term, the company should carry out ongoing measurement and evaluation, including through benchmarking against other company services.[16][17]

Another useful component in an intranet structure might be key personnel committed to maintaining the Intranet and keeping content current. For feedback on the intranet, social networking can be done through a forum for users to indicate what they want and what they do not like.

Intranet software

Microsoft SharePoint is the dominant software used for creating intranets. Estimates indicate that around 50% of all intranets are developed using SharePoint;[18] however, there are many alternatives.[19]

See also


  1. 1 2 Nielsen, J. and Sano, D., '1994 Design of SunWeb - Sun Micro-systems' Intranet',, 1994.
  2. "The Difference Between Internet, Intranet, and Extranet", October 19, 1998, Steven L. Telleen,
  3. Luk, A. (9 May 1991). "Fujikama goes Unix". IEEE Pacific Rim Conference on Communications, Computers and Signal Processing, 1991. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. 2: 783–786. doi:10.1109/PACRIM.1991.160857. ISBN 0879426381. Retrieved 2013-03-04. The internet and intranet Unix network provide a functioning email facility around the world.
  4. Richardson, C.; Schoultz, M. (14 October 1991). "Formation flight system design concept". Digital Avionics Systems Conference, 1991. Proceedings., IEEE/AIAA 10th: 18–25. doi:10.1109/DASC.1991.177138. Retrieved 2013-03-04. The data transfer task is broken up into two network solutions: an intranet used for transferring data among formation members at high update rates to support close formation flight and an internet used for transferring data among the separate formations at lower update rates.
  5. RFC 4364
  6. Pernice Coyne, Kara; Schwartz, Mathew; Nielsen, Jakob (2007), "Intranet Design Annual 2007", Nielsen Norman Group
  7. 1 2 3 McGovern, Gerry (November 18, 2002). "Intranet return on investment case studies". Retrieved 2009-04-03.
  8. 1 2 3 4 Christian, Michael (April 2, 2009). "Making the most of your corporate intranet". Retrieved 2009-04-02.
  9. Wright, Andrew. "8 good business reasons for having an intranet". Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  10. Wright, Andrew. "From innovation to operation: the role of the intranet". Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  11. Ward, Toby (2006-06-11). "Leading an intranet redesign". IntranetBlog. Retrieved 2009-04-03.
  12. LaMee, James A. (2002-04-30). "Intranets and Special Libraries: Making the most of inhouse communications". University of South Carolina. Retrieved 2009-04-03.
  13. Scaplehorn, geoff (2010-03-01). "Bringing the internet indoors - socialising your intranet". IntranetBlog. Retrieved 2010-03-03.
  14. Ward, Toby. "Planning: An Intranet Model for success Intranet". Retrieved 2009-04-03.
  15. "Intranet: Table of Contents – Macmillan Computer Sciences: Internet and Beyond". Retrieved 2009-04-03.
  16. "Intranet benchmarking explained". Intranet Benchmarking Forum. Retrieved 2009-04-03.
  17. "Benchmarking intranet end user satisfaction". Retrieved 2013-09-03.
  18. Wright, Andrew. "On what technologies do companies use to develop their intranets". Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  19. Wright, Andrew. "What alternatives are there to SharePoint for an intranet?". Retrieved 3 September 2013.
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