An intranet is a private computer network that uses Internet protocols, network connectivity, and possibly the public telecommunication system to securely share part of an organization’s information or operations with its employees.
The corporate intranet should be the gateway to all internal web pages, systems, and repositories. It provides an integrated user experience through a standard user interface, a consistent navigation hierarchy, an A-Z index, an enterprise knowledge map, and enterprise search.
Your organization’s intranet is typically used to provide the user interface, including web pages, standard look and feel, navigation, and search. If you have specialized tools such as portals, team spaces, and repositories, they are usually linked to from the intranet and may be considered extensions of the intranet. In that case, you may wish to tailor these tools so that they appear to users as if they are standard intranet sites. This will minimize confusion, offer consistent navigation and search, and reduce the likelihood of the KM environment being viewed as non-standard.
The intranet is typically accessible to all employees, and also to contractors and partners who have signed appropriate nondisclosure agreements. Being a part of the intranet provides a way for users to navigate to your KM site, find its content using organization-wide search, and take advantage of standard templates for headers, footers, and menus.
If your intranet offers a best bets feature for common searches, take the time to submit likely search terms such as “KM,” “knowledge management,” “collaboration,” and all other key components of your program. This will help direct users to your site and reduce the need to navigate using complex hierarchies.
If your organization does not have an intranet, or if it spans multiple entities, then the Internet provides a similar function. Tools for all of the major technology components are offered to the public over the Internet, many of which are available for free or for a low cost.
To learn more about intranets and how they apply to knowledge management, visit these recommended sites, read the suggested books, attend one or more conferences, and read about what Lucidea has to offer.
- Intranet Focus: Martin White
- Step Two: James Robertson
- NN/g Nielsen Norman Group: Jakob Nielsen and Don Norman
- Crafting an Intranet: The Art and Practice of Creating a Successful Corporate Portal by Robert Bogue
- The Intranet Management Handbook by Martin White
- James Robertson
- Designing Intranets Creating Sites That Work
- Essential Intranets: Inspiring Sites That Deliver Business Value
- What Every Intranet Team Should Know
- Is Your Intranet Showing Its Age?
- LawPort: an integrated legal intranet solution
- Other content from Lucidea
For additional details, see the extended version of this post.