Brief Description:

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From the NHS KM Library: "An intranet is simply a private Internet. Internet-type services are installed onto an organisation’s internal computer network which enables it to then provide web pages and related services such as e-mail, discussion boards, access to shared documents and databases, and collaboration tools such as shared calendars and project management tools. An intranet can convey information in many forms, not just web pages but documents, tables, spreadsheets and images; it can host applications and databases. Above all, it provides connectivity that allows people to collaborate, wherever they are located."

Full Description:

From the ODI Toolkit: There are three general intranet models:
  • Information collection intranets are used to find and organise all of the information that resides within an organisation, essentially acting as a front-end to a large repository of knowledge. There could be document libraries, individuals’ computer files, financial and statistical data, supplier information, databases, and other information that was previously available only to selected people or groups within an organisation. Access to this information reduces confusion and duplication, increases productivity, and improves decision making. In a system wholly geared towards information collection, individuals contribute and have access to a wealth of information, but do not use the system to interact with other contributors.
  • Collaboration and communication intranets enable organisational units and staff members to connect with others within the company, and to initiate or participate in essential information flows. In contrast with the information collection intranet, a collaboration and communication intranet promotes dialogue, debate, learning, and helps to facilitate face-to-face communications. Such an approach may be useful in decentralised organisations or groups, and when geographic locations can stand in the way of face-to-face communication. Typical features might include: discussion forums, internal bulletins, surveys, corporate calendars, team workspaces, and employee and project team pages.
  • Activity-based intranets facilitate the completion of tasks and actions. For example, the intranet may be used to reserve rooms, raise purchases, change human resources information, fill out and submit timesheets, purchase supplies, take online classes, and complete necessary forms. This kind of system reduces the time spent on often-repeated administrative tasks, and increases the time available to do core tasks.

When to use:

  • Document sharing across an organization.
  • Organizational staff directories.
  • Online conversation space.
  • Centrally organized company policies, human resources information, etc.

How to use:

Tips and Lessons Learnt


Examples & Stories

(add yours)
Not your average intranet, by Steven Buckley, Christian Aid.
"The last thing Christian Aid needed was a traditional intranet, which is exactly what Steven Buckley and his team told senior management in the early stages of a project that never got off the ground. The result was a comprehensive, collaborative system that is becoming fundamental to the charity’s relief efforts."

Intranet Case Studies: Final Report by Bellanet International Secretariat, January 2005. Appendix B contains a case study on SDC's Intranet:

CIAT'S Intranet experiences CIAT’s Intranet is called Arconet and although it is built on HTML, old technology, since May 2007 we have a new version of what we hope will become the main communication channel within CIAT.This new Arconet, we are about to celebrate its first year, has as main objectives:
  • Informing
  • Providing links to internal financial, service provider applications and databases among others
  • Offering up-to-date news on the Center’s institutional life

Taking into account that CIAT is based on Latin America but at the same time has several regional offices around the world, our Intranet has two parallel versions: one in English and another one in Spanish. Two parallel versions that are linked and also looking for provide key content both: people at HQ and people in the regional offices.

At CIAT we have recognized that we need to make the workflow easier to update content and because of that we have decided to use a Content Management System (CMS): Liferay. But to be honest it is something that is not going to happen in the short time.

Given that our intranet is now almost one year old we did a survey to do a kind of After Action Review and asking people about input, their ideas, and suggestions to improve user experience.

Users let us know that they would like to experiment with new tools like Wiki, Blog, RSS, chat, tools that could allow them build their own communities, and to know more about what’s going on with regional offices people.

Currently we have an internal Blog, linked to these two parallel version of Arconet, only in English and although we have no reply comments in any of those published post, we know that in just one week we have 51 people that at least visit this Blog.

For the future (medium term), we would need to work hard on how to encourage people to actually use properly those Web 2.0 tools in terms of contribute to organizational climate and communications flow among, over, under, through, below CIAT people.

Examples of OS Software in Use
  • Zope/Plone at Oxfam
  • I have been using Mambo Open Source CMS for a Humanitarian Organisation. I am very satisfied with it and with its administration. Beside the core module, you can have add-ons that cover many of the things that you might need: Forums, Document management, multi-language support, advanced registration, emailing lists, different templates, Blogs, wikis, etc. It has also many languages already supported and a very active community of users. Check their website: Hani Eskandar Knowledge and Information Management Senior Officer Sphere Project
Examples of Propriatary Software in Use

Open Source Intranet Software

Who can tell me more?

(add your name/contact email)

Related Methods / Tools / Practices


An interesting blog post on "Lean Intranets"