What is an intranet and which type of intranet is best for your organization?

An intranet is a software platform that connects all the computers, smartphones, and other devices on your company’s network. It provides a convenient channel for sharing information within the company. At the same time, it enhances collaboration, increases productivity, and offers many other benefits. But what exactly is an intranet? What can you use it for? And what type of intranet is best for organizations with large numbers of deskless employees? This article answers all those questions and more.

Sander Kalkman

What is an intranet and which type of intranet is best for your organization?

Table of contents

What is an intranet?

An intranet is a private online environment that is accessible only to employees within a company. It’s sometimes also described as a private network, an internal communication platform, or even a “private Internet”. Whether your staff members are at home or in the office, using their smartphones, tablets, or laptops—they all access the same environment when they log into your company’s intranet.

When was the first intranet invented?

The first intranet was developed around 1996. At that time, companies were beginning to understand the potential of the internet itself. Yet they kept running into limitations in terms of the performance, security, and reliability of their online environment. To overcome those limitations, some pioneering IT departments decided to combine the benefits of a closed, private network with the benefits of inexpensive standard applications from the internet world. And the first intranet was born.

What is an intranet used for?

Intranets can serve many different purposes. Primarily, they give all employees at a company access to work-related information and news. They can also be connected to all kinds of business systems and software, which brings us to the second important purpose of an intranet: by linking to your Document Management System, a communication platform, and calendars, for example, your intranet can give employees access to all the documents, work schedules, and other important tools they need. It also gives them an online environment to collaborate and communicate efficiently with each other.

Why is an intranet important?

So, you may be thinking: “why would my company need an intranet?” Here are some important benefits to consider:

1. Better communication and collaboration

Employees have access to the same online environment, where they can see each other’s schedules, send each other messages, and more. So, the intranet boosts collaboration and eliminates the need for shared documents and messaging apps.

2. Increased productivity

With an intranet, employees no longer need to open and keep track of multiple apps and files. They have easier access to all the information they need. That helps everyone more efficiently and gets more work done.

3. More knowledge sharing

On an intranet, you can share the right information with the right people all at once, which promotes knowledge sharing. For example, you can post videos showing cashiers how a new checkout system works, or important new instructions for your entire shelf-stocking crew.

4. Easier onboarding

An intranet is an ideal platform for onboarding new employees. You can post training videos, courses, and newsletters, along with your employee handbook and work schedules. This helps new employees get up to speed faster.

5. Increased security and privacy

Because your intranet is shielded from the outside world, the data is more secure. This protects the privacy of sensitive and confidential information.

What are the different types of intranets?

There are different types of intranets. First, there’s the traditional intranet, where you log into a secure work environment and find files and your work email. This is also where you, as an employer, can send messages to your employees.

The second type of intranet is the social intranet. This is a more modern intranet with social media features such as a chat, timeline, blog, or employee directory.

Compared to a social intranet, a traditional intranet has several disadvantages: the communication is one-sided, and employees still have to use separate apps or software just to communicate with each other, send short messages, or quickly look up the name of that new coworker from the evening shift.

Especially for retail organizations and hospitality companies with many deskless employees, a social intranet is the best choice. It allows people to easily communicate back and forth, encouraging them to share their opinions and feedback on company policies, practices, or products. A social intranet also makes it easier to share photos and videos. You can read more about the benefits of a social intranet in our blog post “What are the benefits of a modern social intranet?”

example of a social intranet
A social intranet is built to fit the needs of your deskless workforce

Why Oneteam is the perfect alternative to a traditional intranet

With a well-organized social intranet, you eliminate the need for a traditional intranet, WhatsApp, emails, bulletin boards, and old-fashioned training. Oneteam is an all-in-one solution that lets you connect with your employees easier and faster. It saves both you and your employees valuable (work) time, because Oneteam is more than just an internal communication tool.

Our full-service employee app also includes onboarding, e-learning, forms and checklists, surveys, integrations, branding, and more. That way, you can train employees faster and more effectively from the start. You also create a better, more enjoyable environment for teams to work together, which helps you boost employee engagement and loyalty. Watch the video below to find out why Oneteam is the new way to connect with your deskless workforce. By giving them the best collaboration and communication tool available, you will make their lives easier and put them on the path for success.

Sander Kalkman

Sander Kalkman

Sander Kalkman is the VP of Marketing at Oneteam. He mainly writes about internal communication and other marketing-related topics. Fun fact about Sander: He also writes articles for Frankwatching, a popular marketing media site in the Netherlands.

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