In this guide, Mozzaik365 introduces you the to this key tool, designed to improve internal communication and collaboration, knowledge management and the employee experience. Enjoy your reading!
What is an intranet?
In recent years, numerous digital solutions have emerged to facilitate collaboration, communication, knowledge management, employee experience and project management. Among them: intranet platforms. So, how do you define an intranet? And what distinguishes it from other technologies? Read on to find out our intranet definition and more.
An intranet is a computer network similar to the Internet, but with access restricted to members of a given company or organization. Modern intranet platforms integrate a wide range of features, to the point of transforming themselves into true Digital Workplaces. They play an essential role in improving internal communication, collaboration, knowledge management and teamwork, particularly in the context of telecommuting or hybrid working.
It's also a secure environment within a space that can only be accessed by a specific group of people.
For example, intranet networks can be used to :
- Disseminate information and promote events to employees;
- Organize and monitor the progress of a joint project;
- Create an onboarding or digital training course;
- Centralize the work tools that employees need on a daily basis;
- Store, share, manage and edit documents collectively ;
- Search and find internal information and knowledge easily ;
- Identify or quickly find an internal contact;
- Interact via chat, messages, calls, video conferencing, comments, etc. ;
- Survey employees to obtain feedback;
History of the intranet
According to Anne Pauline Garbar and Magali Véran, the intranet concept first appeared in the writings of journalists in 1992, before being formalized by Forrester Research in 1996 in a report entitled "Full service intranet". By the end of the 1990s, intranets were making their mark in large organizations. According to a study by the Union des Annonceurs, in 2000, 64.3% of the top 1,500 French companies already had an intranet.
In its early days, the corporate intranet was primarily an internal communications tool, providing access to private messaging and administrative, commercial or institutional content. Since then, the intranet has evolved considerably, integrating numerous services and becoming a solution for collaborative working, project management and electronic document management (EDM).
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What's the difference between intranet, internet and extranet?
Internet, intranet and extranet are close cousins.
The Larousse dictionary defines the Internet as an international network accessible to all and "resulting from the interconnection of computers throughout the world using a common data exchange protocol (IP for Internet protocol)".
Unlike the Internet, the intranet is a private network, open only to members of an organization. It is based on the same protocols as the Internet and offers the same services (file sharing, messaging, online software, etc.), but on a corporate scale.
Finally, the extranet is an extension of the intranet. It is a secure network using Internet protocols, enabling a structure to exchange information securely with external partners (suppliers, service providers, customers, etc.).
What is the role of the intranet?
The modern intranet, with all its new features, has not one, but a host of roles that are essential to the smooth running of today's organizations.
Worthy heirs to the first intranets, intranet 2.0 platforms facilitate the transmission of information. Via the intranet, management, the HR department or the communications department can pass on messages to employees about company news, job offers or upcoming events.
Disseminating corporate culture
The intranet also plays a role in creating a strong corporate culture. In fact, it can be adorned with the organization's colors to become a vehicle for disseminating its employer brand image. It's also a privileged channel for telling the organization's story, setting out its values, reminding its mission and, ultimately, highlighting its culture.
📢 Find out more about corporate culture
Strengthening employee commitment
The new-generation intranet is also designed to strengthen employee commitment. On a private corporate network, employees can have their say and get involved in the life of their company. They can express themselves by leaving comments on publications posted by their employer, take part in surveys, share their knowledge via blog articles published on the platform, or relay their organization's posts on their own social networks without leaving the intranet.
🤸 To go further, discover how to build loyalty among your employees
Fostering internal cohesion
With its many horizontal means of communication, the social intranet also fosters internal cohesion. The messaging systems, chat rooms and corporate social networks it hosts enable employees to communicate with each other, collaborate seamlessly and forge links. Employees can interact formally, as part of a project group for example. They can also communicate in a more casual mode, for example by creating a conversation group dedicated to a common interest (sports practice, innovations, etc.) on an internal social network.
⚙️ To find out more, discover how to set up an internal communications intranet.
Facilitating internal collaboration
One of the essential roles of the intranet is to optimize collaborative working. Tools that encourage interaction between employees facilitate internal collaboration. But this is not the only advantage of the intranet. The private network also makes it possible to share, store and even work on files together. By logging onto their intranet platform, employees can find all their working documents in their updated version. This is ideal for increasing efficiency, even when employees are working remotely or in different time zones.
💡 To go further, discover the 9 best practices of collaborative work
Securing company data
The intranet also plays an important role in securing company data. This private network enables confidential information and files to be shared securely, since only members of the organization can access the platform. To ensure the security of the intranet, administrators can also assign different rights to users, to limit their actions or the information they can see.
Improving the employee experience
Last but not least, the intranet offers employees a better digital experience. On this platform, all the applications and information employees need to work efficiently can be found in one place. The icing on the cake is that these can be presented in a neat, user-friendly and customizable interface. All of which enhances the user experience... and therefore the employee experience.
📖 To go further, discover the guide to providing a good digital experience
What are the advantages of using an intranet?
With all these functions, the corporate intranet is definitely a must-have tool, especially as the advantages of an intranet are numerous. Here are just a few of them:
Greater individual and collective productivity
The primary benefit of using an intranet is increased individual and collective productivity. According to a study by McKinsey, companies that use social technologies such as intranets to improve communication, knowledge sharing and collaboration can boost worker productivity by 20-25%.
Enhanced brand image and employer brand
Another significant benefit of implementing a corporate intranet is the enhancement of brand image and employer brand. Thanks to this tool, organizations can easily launch employee advocacy campaigns and turn their employees into ambassadors. A winning communication strategy, since according to a study by PostBeyond, corporate messages have a 561% greater reach when shared by employees on their social networks rather than on company channels.
Talent retention made easy
In 2023, according to an OpinionWay and Grant Alexander survey, 60% of executives surveyed considered talent retention to be the main HR issue of the year. The intranet is the ideal tool for building employee loyalty. Thanks to this tool, it is possible to set up an optimal onboarding process and to properly onboard new employees. This is an absolutely decisive step in their willingness to stay. The intranet also enhances the employee experience by providing a pleasant, fluid digital working environment. A benefit that also plays a decisive role in talent retention. The proof is in the pudding: according to a study carried out by Zapier, 1 in 6 young people (Generation Z and Millennials) claim to have already left a job because of unsuitable technology.
Savings and ROI for the organization
The final key benefit of using an intranet is financial. First and foremost, the adoption of an intranet reduces various costs and expenses incurred by the company. For example, the reduction in the number of unsuccessful recruitments alone represents a significant saving. According to Hay, a casting error can cost an employer between 45,000 and 100,000 euros. Ultimately, between cost reduction and productivity gains, the implementation of a modern intranet generates a remarkable return on investment (ROI). According to a 2017 survey by MVware, the ROI of a Digital Workplace averages 150%. Better still, according to a Forrester and Microsoft study conducted in 2019, the Microsoft Teams communication and collaboration application, integrated with intranets under Microsoft 365 - like Mozzaik365 - would achieve an ROI of 832% over 3 years!
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