Intranet – what is it and what should it include?
How to make all employees of the company have access to the most important information and files? Where to post documents that everyone can read at any time, but not taken outside the work environment? The Intranet is a solution to this type of issue, ensuring additional security. See what it is and why organizations like to use such a solution.
What is an Intranet?
An intranet, to be precise, is a system tailored to the specific requirements of the organization in which it has been implemented. It is an internal computer network of a specific company or institution. It offers connection of the network with other systems used in the enterprise. Only employees use its resources.
Another type of Intranet is the Extranet, which is also often used by companies. It is a system that enables the connection of several intranets thanks to network protocols. It is implemented to improve communication with the company’s external partners. Selected employees with appropriate permissions have access to the extranet network.
What should you remember when you want to implement an Intranet in your company? First of all, it must meet your expectations and be fully adapted to your needs. You can choose from a wide range of solutions and various modules, as well as create your own according to your expectations. Thanks to this, you will create a platform that will efficiently connect all the systems that you use with your employees.
What are the advantages of having an Intranet?
The most important benefit of implementing this type of system is the fact mentioned above – adjusting the service to your business. It is obvious that the best solutions are those created for the way we work. However, it is a global view of the positives, with many more individual benefits. Among the undoubted advantages of the Intranet you will find:
- Increasing the effectiveness of the company’s communication – both horizontal (between employees at the same level) and vertical (between management and subordinates).
- Increasing the effectiveness of project management – by accessing the same, updated information, people involved in the project can use hints and current data that they need at a given stage.
- Creating a collection of the most important documents – it is a plus for anyone who does not have time to search through tons of e-mails with documentation and sort them into individual folders. Thanks to the local network, the most important messages related to the company can be gathered in one place.
- There is no need to explain important issues related to the company to each individual employee separately – thanks to access to documents, they can learn about the company’s philosophy or the applicable rules on their own.
- The ability to efficiently conduct employee research – satisfaction surveys, voting on specific aspects of work, etc.
- Facilitating the exchange of knowledge and experiences between employees, as well as training those who are just starting work.
- Overall streamlining of all administrative activities related to running a business.
- The ability to precisely calculate costs, control finances and increase their efficiency.
Apart from the obvious positives, directly affecting the efficiency of the work process, the Intranet has one more significant advantage. It contributes to increasing the effectiveness of the activities of the entire enterprise, as well as increasing the satisfaction of employees who receive support and access to the information they need most. Therefore, they know about changes taking place in the company and can quickly learn about them. On the other hand, from the perspective of the employer, this significantly saves time and money, and increases the efficiency of the entire company.
What tools does the Intranet offer?
Regardless of whether you tailor your Intranet network exactly to your needs, or choose the most universal solution, certain typical functions will certainly be included in it. Among them you will find:
- Information tools – modules containing up-to-date information related to what is happening in the company, eg company newsletters, employee brochure, etc. Depending on the type of Intranet chosen, they take a different look.
- Business tools – all those things that are necessary to conduct business activities, e.g. related to employee training, i.e. e-learning tools, a knowledge base module, or blogs run by other employees.
- Integrating tools – elements allowing for the integration of employees, including primarily e-mail, internet forums, chats, surveys or other internal places where they can share their observations on a given topic.
- Organizational tools – aspects important from the perspective of running a company, incl. list of company procedures, employee opinion surveys, delegation management, a module including invoicing, a calendar of company events, a place to recommend employees, vacation requests and contacts to individual employees of departments.
However, if you decide to create modules dedicated to your company, many companies offering Intranet services will offer you their proprietary framework, which will allow you to implement any module extending the capabilities of a given platform. Thanks to this, programmers will adjust it to your preferences and make it compatible with already used systems.
Is it worth setting up an Extranet with an Intranet?
As you know, Extranet is a broad system that integrates the systems of your business partners. However, before we draw a final conclusion about the value of investing in such a solution, let’s take a look at the main functions of the Extranet.
First of all, depending on the company’s needs, you can choose two types of Extranet – a transaction system or an information system. The first of them – the transactional extranet – is based on the assumption that external partners, thanks to the combination of systems, have the ability to enter into transactions. Therefore, they can order products and make payments between the companies they cooperate with via the Extranet.
The information extranet model does not exchange goods and services. In this case, the main idea is to be able to access certain information between external partners.
Which system is more suitable for you depends largely on the nature of your business. The same applies to the question of whether it is worth investing in the Extranet. If you run a large enterprise and establish extensive business contacts with many partners, this type of solution is certainly for you! It will definitely facilitate and organize your work.
What solutions does the Extranet offer for contact with external partners?
The extranet primarily improves the company’s external communication. How does this happen? Primarily :
- It allows you to establish open relationships and build trust and loyalty.
- It supports the company’s business activity – it improves it.
- It makes it easier for external partners to perform their tasks related to the cooperation of companies.
- It reduces the amount of expenses incurred for commercial service.
- It supports the sales and marketing departments responsible for the promotion of the company.
Thanks to all these functions, the Extranet contributes to an increase in the company’s income, as well as to creating a positive image of the company in the eyes of its partners.
What tools can you use on the Extranet?
The available tools can be divided into several groups, in which individual functionalities are responsible for other aspects related to the company’s operation. Among them you will find:
- Image modules – enabling partners to get acquainted with the image-building activities you are currently running.
- Transaction modules – both you and your contractors gain supervision over the entire transaction process, including e.g. orders and their reporting.
- Modules that improve sales – for example, the possibility of ordering advertising catalogs or informing customers about current offers and promotions.
- Information modules – related to sending e-mails to business partners and all other news about the company.
Summary – why choose Intranet and Extranet?
We presented you all the advantages of both the Intranet and the Extranet. You also know that the first system is only available to employees of your company. The second, however, is created within the framework of an external network of connections, which is directed to business partners, and the greatest emphasis is placed on relationships and positive communication. Both Intranet and Extranet are indispensable elements of running a modern business. They do not only translate into a positive perception of the company by its employees and beneficiaries, but also affect the improvement of all business activities. So if you are the owner of a large company, decide on this solution and take off at least one of the problem of tedious administration!