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An Intranet might be thought of as the Internet with a firewall around it. Based on TCP/IP protocols, an Intranet belongs to a corporation or organization, and is accessible only by members, employees, and others with authorization.

Operated on TCP/IP protocols, an Intranet uses the same or similar technology, and its websites and applications look and act like those on the World Wide Web, but the firewall prevents unauthorized individuals from accessing and using it. Most Intranet applications are the same ones that are used on the Internet, or at least similar, such as browsers, document publishing software, and instant messaging applications. Unlike Internet applications, Intranet applications reside on the local server.

Originally, Intranets consisted of a series of static HTML pages and grew as grassroots efforts at the organizational levels until it became difficult or impossible for anyone to find what they were looking for. Even today, many corporate or organizational Intranets are underutilized, serving as little more than communication vehicles and repositories of information. Largely communication-based, many Intranets are not productivity-focused or integrated with core organizational workflows.

As compared to the Internet, the content of Intranets are mostly dedicated to reference materials, policies and procedures, course materials, transactional applications, and library-based information.

However, just as the Internet has changed drastically over the past few decades, Intranets have also evolved, where there is a corporate or organizational determination to do so, shifting from a simple document management platform to a more comprehensive business collaboration and communication solution.

Besides serving as a repository for information, an Intranet can also be used as a platform for team collaboration and messaging, collaborative filtering, procurement, training, various administrative tasks, and global meetings.

An effective Intranet can result in less email traffic and greater corporate security, and reduced costs for company-wide communication. A corporate Intranet can result in faster onboarding and training, as well as increased employee engagement. Sales and marketing departments may realize a decreased time to access necessary information and expertise, as well as reduced time to market for promotions. Those responsible for customer service may experience a faster time to resolution of customer support issues, reduced call-handling times, and increased customer satisfaction scores.

Depending on the needs of the organization, an Intranet may include blogs, a document management system, a content-management system, wikis, forums, facilities for real-time conversation, galleries, mind-mapping applications, directories of people and departments, analytics, and anything else that might be necessary to solve problems, An Intranet exists to solve problems in communication, information, business processes, and collaboration. To serve these purposes, an Intranet may need a blend of tools that answer its needs in each of these categories. Effective search functionality can help to bring it all together.

When a company allows access to any part of its Intranet to the public, it is known as an Extranet. For example, a company might allow clients or suppliers outside of the company to have access to an Extranet portion of it Intranet, using a valid username and password, which determines that parts of the network that can be viewed.

The focus of this category is on any software designed specifically for Intranet use.



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