So, what's an Intranet? - Home Pages of All Faculty at KFUPM


Nov 5, 2013 (4 years and 8 months ago)


So, What’s an Intranet?

The following is excerpted from
What's The Bottom Line?",

by Randy J.
Hinrichs, published by SunSoft / Prentice Hall.

So, What’s an Intranet?

Organizational Intelligence.

An Intranet is an internal information system
based on Internet technology, web services,
TCP/IP and HTTP communication protocols,
and HTML publishing. Huh? The Intranet is a
technology that permits your organization to
define itself as a whole entity, a group, a
family, where everyone knows their roles, and
everyone is working on the improvement and
health of the organization.

How do they do this?

By identifying and communicating missions,
goals, processes, relationships, interactions,
infrastructure, projects, schedules, budgets
and culture on
line, in a single interface
everyone uses and can add value back to.

In a word, an Intranet represents your
organization’s “intelligence”. The purpose of
this intelligence is to organize each
individual’s desktop with minimal cost, time
and effort to be more productive, more cost
efficient, more timely, and more competitive.

Leveraging Intelligence.

Intranets are not about putting technology and
software together. That’s the easy part. In fact,
you’ve probably got all the components in your
organization already.

Effectively building an Intranet is similar to
building individual intelligence. It requires
learning, applying the learning to practical
decision making, acting on the intelligence with
solid, clear tasks and responsibilities, modifying
the learning for improved performance in the
future, and making sure all of this is
communicated all of the time to everyone.

Single Point of Contact.

The Intranet is the WAN/LAN, client/server, PC,
UNIX, Apple computer stuff that you’ve been
using all along in your organization to do your
work, improve efficiency, and communicate with

The problem, of course, is that the machines,
software, and communication systems have been
proprietary. You couldn't have internal
communication of all data and information
without a team of programmers and new software
for every new cut on the information.

Single Point of Contact

With an Intranet, you have access to all the
information, applications, data, knowledge,
processes, etc. available in the same window, or the
same browser. No more conversion to different
formats, waiting for programmers to code all the
“new systems” together, or teams of consultants to
sift through your processes. No more missed
opportunities, giving up and not doing business
with someone, because their technology was

Instead, an Intranet connects people together, with
Internet technology, using web servers, web
browsers, and your data warehouses in a single
view that everyone can easily learn while still using
their old software.

Organisational Focus.

The Intranet is your opportunity to define your
organization and display it for everyone to see. If
everyone knows what the company stands for, what
the company’s strategic vision is, what the guiding
company principles are, who the clients and partners
are, then they can focus more clearly on what their
own contributions are to the organization.

A clear, single web page representing the values of
the company is tantamount to success. Every
organization can constantly refer to the central
messages and develop their own supporting sites

Use the Web as an information, communications, and
management tool across the organization.

What the Intranet is Not

Not the Internet.

An Intranet does not have to be connected to the
Internet. However, moving mail and other
information across the Internet to clients and
partners is highly desirable, so an Internet
connection is nice, but not necessary.

Intranets use Internet and Web technology
concepts. But, your information is securely
managed inside your organization. Security
issues are still important, however, as you can
suffer from internal security leaks.

What makes the Intranet so different is the
infrastructure. That means, what are your policies
for using the technology? How do you set up the
Intranet for your department, who puts out the
content? What is the approval process for getting
content out there? Who maintains the content?
Are there libraries of graphics, logos, approved
text, and other navigation and design features for
each page.

The Internet is more of a marketing and customer
support entity. The Intranet is your internal
communications mechanism.

Not the Internet

What the Intranet is Not

Not the LAN/WAN.

Although using the same connections, your
LAN/WAN networks depend upon the applications
from your vendor, HP, IBM, Sun, Apple, Novell,
Banyan Vines, etc. These hardware vendors and
networking companies provided excellent solutions
for your information needs, but their technology and
solutions are separate from your Intranet set up.

With an Intranet model of computing, you may not
even need to rely on these software. You may have
needed their operating systems, their drivers, their
applications, and their programmers. But that’s
where your ‘interconnectivity’ problems reside.
Intranet technology sets you free!

What the Intranet is Not

Not an E
Mail program.

The Intranet is not just a mail program. In,
fact it goes way beyond e

A corporate web delivers reliable, feature
applications that share five core, standards
based services:




print, and

network management.

What the Intranet is Not

Not Just Hardware and Software
(servers and browsers)

The Intranet is not difficult to set up. The
connection is the same in every operating

The Servers are nothing more than computers.
The software is nothing more than a universal
graphical user interface.

Although Netscape, Microsoft Internet Explorer
and other browsers exist, they all have the same
basic functionality. They show web pages, web
forms and web applications.

The Intranet uses these technologies to connect
human information processing with human

What the Intranet is Not

Not Groupware

Groupware products offer many
functions that operate well together.

Groupware is not fully interoperable. It
requires specific hardware, operating
system, and network configuration. It is
expensive and not always easy to scale
up. Until recently, groupware was not
compatible with other network systems,
including the Intranet. For example:MS
Exchange may not work on UNIX, Lotus
Notes may not have support for MAC

What the Intranet is Not

Groupware is vulnerable to changes in
the marketplace, and is ultimately
proprietary. It comes from one
company, whose expertise lies in their
own perception of software
development and client needs.

Groupware typically is complex and
costly to install, manage, and train users

The Intranet is simple, and independent
of any one development organization.
You can make it what you want it to be.

Not Groupware

What the Intranet is Not

Intranet as a Tool

Think of an Intranet is a high tech Swiss Army knife,
providing you with a set of tools for almost every
function within your organization.

Most organisations rely on information, knowledge,
intelligence to create products, services, education
and entertainment. Information is power.

In the past, it was always difficult to get a hold of
information. Either you couldn’t get reliable
information, or you couldn’t get it on time. This was
either by intent or by cumbersome mainframe or
networked systems.

Now, information is managed directly at the desktop
with no particular worry about platform or software

Intranet as a Tool

Each user purchases the tools they need to do the job they need
to do. Some are still using mainframe connections, with
client/server software solutions. They still, however, cannot rely
completely on the accuracy of the information, because the
source may or may not have fed the information up to the server.

With an Intranet any user, at any level, can publish information.
This makes information reliable because it comes from the
source. The individual can serve the information that can be read
in any browser, and make itself linkable to any other server. This
linkage creates process flow within your organization. You can
secure information and share information in the best way you
see fit.

With Intranets, everyone in the company can access information,
knowledge and company intelligence and design it in any way
that improves your business models

Uses of Intranets.

Intranets can be used for so many different functions
within your organization. Applications that you’ve
been using for years are finding their way to the
Intranet. Every developer from 1996/97 is creating
new Web applications, or retrofitting existing
applications to run seamlessly in Intranet

Uses include executive decision support systems,
sales cycle automation tools, financial systems,
online analytical processing (OLAP) applications,
personal productivity applications, financial trading
floor systems, procurement and business
business commerce applications, document
management systems, and customer support and
help desk applications. The list just goes on and on.

A Decision Making Tool.

The Intranet links together all of the information in
your organization. Either you can look at pre
determined information, or you can use interactive
forms or report writers to prune and graft
information to help you analyze market trends, or
business behaviour.

You can share results with colleagues, clients and
partners, and modify your business decisions
accordingly. Templates and common look and feel
come included.

With sophisticated web searching tool, you needn’t
sift through long pages of information to get what
you want either. Just key in a few keywords and
your information is served to you like a meal.
Example Livelink from OpenText.

Uses of Intranets

Learning Organization Tool.

When information can be pulled instantly,
decision makers are able to analyze business
processes, business opportunities, and business
goals much faster. It follows that more employees
can become decision makers.

Projects are managed more efficiently.
Communication is opened up to include anyone
related to any part of a project. Customer
requirements are documented and adhered to.

Development occurs in a shared electronic
development space, rather than between
meetings, telephone calls, and individual

Uses of Intranets

The company that
shares information,
learns together,
improves together,
and creates a more

A Complete Communication Tool

Imagine integrating all corporate
communications, all departmental
communications, all group communications,
and all individual communications into a
place that provides up
date, quality,
instant information to anyone in the
organization, whenever and wherever you
wanted it. Imagine a single place like a
magazine cover that would easily allow
everyone in the company to get any
information from the Executives, Human
Resources, Marketing, Sales, Training,
Finance, Partners, Operations, Facilities.

Uses of Intranets

Imagine all the hundreds of documents,
presentations, notes, software, policies,
training materials on line. Imagine these
resources available to everyone 24 hours
a day. Imagine your company
communicating with anyone who
produces this information, improving on
its presentation or content. Imagine
knowing where the information came
from, when it was generated and how it
relates to other information.
The Intranet
is this communication tool.

A Complete Communication Tool

Uses of Intranets

A Collaboration Tool

Think about what happens when an easy to use, easy
to learn, powerful tool for collaborating, project
managing, data collecting, managing knowledge and
information, is handed to everyone in your networked
organization. Imagine a tool that empowers people to
put their best foot forward, proudly displaying their
quality products, sales tips, marketing messages,
internal customer services, technical procedures,
processes, departmental goals, frequently asked
questions, shortcuts, tips, tricks and self
images in a
place where anyone who subscribes can access them.

Uses of Intranets

Imagine collaborating with each other
without wading through e
mail, or playing
telephone tag sessions, or missing your
chance to input at a meeting. And, think of
forums where people with common
interests meet and thrash out issues, until
the best possible solution is achieved.
Then, add video conferencing, electronic
white boards, single document sharing,
and you’ve got a collaborative tool


A Collaboration Tool

Uses of Intranets

An Expert’s Tool

Who knows their job the best in any organization? The
individual or group(s) performing the jobs. Imagine
experts responsible for sharing their expertise, and
responsible for communicating it to others so it can be
understood. And, imagine being linked to real
time on
line expert support by experts who add depth and
breadth to their site, while you incorporate their levels
of expertise into your workflow.

Imagine chatting directly with the top, essential
consultants and knowledge czars within your
organization. And capturing all that information in
threaded databases, so anyone could look at it, at any
time. Imagine sharing tips, tricks, pitfalls, analysis, and
bottom line information about any topic, and getting it
from those who know best, and have spent
innumerable hours researching, thinking, and putting
ideas into action.

Uses of Intranets

A Single Invention Tool

Imagine employees finding information when they
needed it, and available to cut and paste it into their
presentations, sales pitches, marketing messages, or
training modules. Think of the time people save not
reinventing the wheel.

Instead of company information stored in filing
cabinets, desks, garbage cans, huge piles on desks,
information is on
line in your Intranet
available for
use by anyone working on similar topics. Consider
common look and feel, and common goals and
messages repeating across the organization.

Imagine everyone in the organization telling
customers the same story!

Uses of Intranets

A 21st Century Telephone

The Intranet is a tool that has already become a utility
in many companies, much like the telephone. Use it,
and you are empowered to accelerate production
cycles, to focus on expert information, to customize
products and services for customers, to educate
yourself immediately, to get a hold of anyone in the

Allow individuals to create their own sites, groups
sites, departmental sites, and you empower a
knowledge environment in which individuals within
the organization know who they are talking to, what
they represent, and how they fit into the organization.
The level of interaction becomes more intelligent and
more streamlined to business goals, and corporate

Uses of Intranets

A Process Identification and

Process Improvement Tool

Ever wondered how your sales cycle really worked?
Or have you ever dreamed of a system that would
show you where any transaction was within a sales
cycle, so you could make the most appropriate move?
Because an Intranet produces a visual representation
of the work flow within the organization, everyone in
the organization can examine the elements of the
process that it is representing. You see the way cross
functional teams integrate their needs, products and
services. You develop awareness of how your way of
doing business makes your internal client’s job easier.
Does it include the necessary pieces of your overall
organization, department or group? Is your group
giving others what they need? Where are they getting
their information, and do “you” have anything to make
their job easier?

Uses of Intranets

Or vice versa: Can you clearly see
your own inputs, what process
activities you’re responsible for, and
what your outputs are? Can you
observe the work flow among your
team members, identify the process
and provide ways to improve it
continuously? Companies with
established, integrated Intranets
have only one word, “YES”.

A Process Identification and

Process Improvement Tool

Uses of Intranets

A Partnering Tool

It seems every company in the world has created at
least one page on the Internet. Surely many haven’t yet,
but are planning on it.

You’ll find Internet statistics at
The Burton Group, Forrester Research Group, etc. if
you want a real taste of what millions of people are
doing on the outside Internet. With all this information
explosion, the idea is to obviously hook up with your
partners as well, if they’re going on
line. Doing so
provides accurate, precise, up
date information on
products and services, competitive advantages, current
trends, late breaking news, partnerships, technologies,
and on and on. What a wealth of information that can
feed your Intranet. Incorporate their site into your
website for a more robust internal Intranet. Track
projects, manage vendors, manage requirements, link
to one another’s excellence and processes.

Uses of Intranets

A Customer Tool

Like your partners, your customers have gone on
as well, describing their processes, their services,
their products, and often their competition. Linking
into these sites provides you a much quicker
reference point for getting to know what your
customer is thinking. Even
so, you can connect
to your customer’s clients, and analyze solutions or
opportunities from a different vantage point. This
connection is an Internet tool, meaning it is on the
outside of your company’s security firewalls. But,
having the information about your customer at your
fingertips can decidedly impact how you deliver to

Uses of Intranets

An ISO Tool

The Intranet can satisfy a lot of your ISO
9000 requirements.

First of all you can provide all information on
line in a single location.

Secondly, you can identify processes, metrics,
and project contacts on

Since everyone can access the Intranet, it
becomes a solid singular source or
repository which enables many of the ISO

Uses of Intranets

A Target Marketing Tool

Steve Finnegan, President, The Huntington Group,
Inc.says 'The elements of a traditional business
business marketing and sales programs can be
integrated within the Web environment in order to
create target marketing, which attracts highly qualified
customer/client prospects and engages them in an
ongoing product/service sales dialogue.The end result
can be more profitable, long
term customer/client
or These issues include a shift in
emphasis from sales transactions to the lifetime value
of business relationships, from one
way information
flow to two
way dialogue and collaboration, and from
mass markets to market segments, each demanding
more customization and faster response times.” Again,
more value of an Intranet.

Uses of Intranets

A Human Resource Tool

It takes a systematic rethinking about the nature of
corporation and employee
relationships now that every employee has the ability
to instantly communicate work, thoughts, gripes,
experiences, and solutions to every other employee.
The power of the employee also creates a set of
responsibilities for all members of the corporate
community. You’re going to have to start thinking
about infrastructure, policies, procedures, roles and
responsibilities, templates, legal issues. The Intranet
may cause your company to re
evaluate itself entirely.
But haven’t we been told that for the past five years

reengineer your corporation, right size it, turn it into a
learning organization, focus on principle
leadership so your employees can build quality
products, services, education and entertainment? YES.

Uses of Intranets

Let the