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Intranet Applications

Simply put, an intranet application is a small internal website running within a secured business environment. Intranet is basically a network of computers in an organization that is used for sharing of data among the employees. An intranet application is also sometimes referred to as corporate portal or private business network. Depending on the requirements it needs to cater to, the intranet application can be basic in structure or exhaustive with complex interlinks and data exchanges. Stephen Lawton, a technical editor, introduced the term Intranet in 1995.

A typical intranet application works on HTML and TCP/IP, similar to internet. However, the basic difference is that the entire setup runs on LAN (Local Area Network). Intranet application development involves use of hardware with networking capabilities and software technologies that include web servers, browsers, TCP/IP, Ethernet, and WiFi systems. When the organization uses internet on the same network, the intranet application is usually configured behind a firewall through a gateway so that unauthorized access is restricted.

Intranet applications should ideally allow the employees at levels to access required information, take decisions, and perform in an effective manner. Thus, the intranet application development cycle must be carefully planned and accomplished. Following steps can be considered when designing an intranet application.

  • Define objectives - set the guidelines for which the intranet is being developed and will be used, and so on.
  • Prepare the intranet plan - chart out the structure of the intranet, hardware and software that will be used, number of users and their access rights, nature of the information available on it.
  • Design and implement intranet application - having acquired the necessary resources complete the intranet designing, deployment, and other implementation tasks.
  • Create awareness about the intranet - promote the intranet among the relevant users so that it is effectively used and the set objectives are fulfilled.

There are many advantages of intranet application, foremost being improved productivity and reduced costs.

  • Faster access to information and updates allows the employees to make quicker decisions and take actions, thus improving the overall productivity of the organization.
  • Intranet applications facilitate accurate flow of targeted information across verticals and horizontals, which could possibly reduce number of emails floating around in an organization.
  • Important policy documents, training materials, company knowledge documents can be maintained on the intranet application and can be accessed from a single source when required.
  • There is no need to maintain physical copies of information or other documents and hence intranet applications prove to be cost effective solutions.

Though intranets offer many advantages, it is required that intranet application development is robust enough to handle multiple users at a time, and at that same time ensure that corporate confidentiality is maintained.

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