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How Intranets Works

        Tech | Networking

The Future of Intranets
Intranets allow employees to access information from a secure portal.
Intranets allow employees to access information from a secure portal.
Reza Estakhriam/Stone/Getty Images

Intranet trends follow closely on the heels of the latest Internet trends. The biggest Internet buzzword right now is Web 2.0. Web 2.0 is all about social media and user-generated content as opposed to the static, read-only nature of Web 1.0.

Many of the most trafficked Web sites are fueled by Web 2.0 principles. It explains the explosion of blogs, the pre-eminence of Wikipedia and the tremendous popularity of online social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Corporate intranets are getting an upgrade now that Net generation students are entering the workplace. The Net Generation grew up in a world steeped in communications technology. Many of them don't remember life before they had a MySpace account, and they'd be lost without their cell phones.

Net Generation employees expect their employers to think and communicate the same way they do. E-mail is just a start. They want to have their own company blogs and subscribe to RSS (Really Simple Simplification) feeds from the blogs of their bosses and coworkers. They want to help build a company Wiki and hook up with friends on a company-wide social network.

Only recently have businesses woken up to the necessity of so-called intranet 2.0 to attract and maintain talented young employees. According to a recent survey of chief information officers, only 18 percent of American businesses host blogs on their intranet and only 13 percent have launched corporate Wikis. However, 40 percent said they have such programs in the development and testing stages [source: Prescient Digital].

Corporate intranets will take on increasing importance as more and more businesses turn to Web-based applications to manage core business systems like SAP and PeopleSoft. Companies are learning that on-demand Web services are cheaper to maintain and easier to use than hosting software on their own systems. All of these Web-based applications can be bundled into the corporate intranet where they can be accessed securely with one network password.

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