In my research, I’ve found intranets are referred to as so many different things, it’s hard to keep up! Everything from ‘Internal Website’ to ‘Web Workplace’, intranet software can have many names. My blog post today covers what other names for intranet software are, and what other software systems an intranet replaces.
What is an Intranet?
As a recent grad, I get the question “what do you do now?” almost every time I run into an old classmate, followed by “what is an intranet?”. Normally, I try to avoid this question at all costs because, for some reason, a lot of people don’t get it (my grandpa can’t seem to grasp the difference between an intranet and the internet, and whenever I see him he asks me how my job at Google is going).
There are a number of answers I’ve heard to this question, and usually, once I begin to explain it to people they clue in with an, “OH that! We use one at work but we call it.”
To help translate all this tech talk, especially for my grandpa, I’ve put together a shortlist of all the different names I’ve heard for intranet software and how each of these are defined:
1. Internal Employee Website
One of the most common layman terms for an intranet is simply an Internal Employee Website. It’s a bit of a mouthful, but that is exactly what an intranet is. Our intranet software is secured for employees of the organization to connect, collaborate and create internally, and just like other intranets, it is run using the internet. Firewalls make it hidden from anyone who isn’t an employee or has explicit permission to access it, such as by provisioning an Extranet.
2. Collaboration Software
Collaboration Software is a popular trend in striving toward a Digital Workplace (next up on our common terms for an intranet list) right now. It is software designed to help colleagues in achieving a common goal and completing common tasks.
At Intranet Connections, collaboration is one of our primary focuses. We include numerous different tools and applications within our intranet software to enable collaboration. More specifically, we have collaborative features like Content Management tools, Employee Engagement tools, and eLearning and Onboarding tools to ensure employees can collaborate easily across numerous locations, departments, or even colleagues that are down the hall from each other.
3. Digital Workplace/ Web Workplace/ Corporate Web
The Digital Workplace (also referred to as Web Workplace or Corporate Web) means exactly that – a digital place for employees to get their work done. A “Digital Office” if you will. Since a growing number of employees are now working from home or working on the road, getting to the office online is the best way to stay connected. The intranet provides workspace employees can access from anywhere.
Intranet Connections’ Intranet Software has a Mobile Intranet feature that allows employees to stay connected from wherever they are working. Our current customers say they use the Mobile Intranet feature mostly for accessing Online Forms, Documents, and the People Directory.
4. Internal Communication Software
The primary function of Internal Communication Software is to enable effective communication among all employees within an organization. A good intranet does just that, and that is why the two are often used interchangeably. We have over 100 features and tools included in our out-of-the-box intranet software to better connect employees. These communication tools include Employee Profiles, Message Boards, Live Chat, Status Updates, and many more. These tools are specifically designed to maximize communication and promote collaboration.
5. Document Management System/Content Management System
While most intranets have a Document Management System (DMS) or a Content Management System (CMS), some people refer to their intranet as a whole as a DMS/CMS. A DMS/CMS is software used to track and store important work-related documents. DMSs/CMSs have enabled many organizations to go entirely paperless.
Intranet Connections’ Intranet Software has a comprehensive Document Management feature included. Our Document Management feature allows users to store documents, automate archiving and cleanup, version control, automated reminders for document review, and more. Document Management also includes Policy and Procedural Management.
6. Enterprise Social Network
An Enterprise Social Network (ESN) is another name for Social Intranet Software. ESNs are used primarily for social purposes within an organization. This type of software focuses more on social aspects, including collaboration, than it does on automating business processes, which differs slightly from a traditional intranet.
Luckily with our intranet software, you get the best of both worlds! While Intranet Connections’ main focus is to help with your day-to-day work activities, we also include a significant number of social tools as well which can be turned on/off as you wish. Some heavily utilized social tools on our intranets include:
- Live Chat
- Status Updates
- Follow Colleagues
- Featured Employee Feed
- Employee Workspace
Long Live the Intranet
All of these common terms simply refer to a way staff/employees/members connect, communicate and collaborate internally, or as we call it an intranet. But none of these terms can fully encapsulate what a good intranet is really capable of. No matter how many of these terms I come across, I will continue to refer to it as an ‘intranet’ and hope my friends and family will understand what I’m talking about one day…
I hope this helps anyone out there who was as confused as I was!