Companies Expanding Intranet Uses

Intranets are increasingly becoming an integral component of an organization’s information technology infrastructure, according to a survey by International Data Corp. (IDC).

According IDC’s report “US Intranet Usage and User Intentions, 1998-1999,” companies’ use of intranets is expanding to include more applications.

“The intranet is beginning a critical change in its evolution,” said Mike Comiskey, an analyst with IDC’s Intranet Strategies research program. “User expectations have risen to a level that eclipses the notion of the intranet as a secondary information resource. Users will expect more from their intranets, especially as new technology allows better information management and business process integration.”

According to IDC’s survey, the top four uses for intranets remain the same as last year: information sharing, information publishing, email, and document management. However, the survey also showed applications such as data conferencing that played less significant roles on intranets in the past are playing a more significant role this year and are being used more often.

Other findings from the IDC survey include:

  • Most organizations surveyed rely on internal expertise when designing or implementing an intranet
  • More than half of the organizations surveyed had a corporate standard for Web browsers
  • Microsoft’s Internet Information Server is the most widely used HTTP server among respondents
  • Of the organizations surveyed that did a post-implementation analysis, most said their goals had been met or exceeded.

The report also revealed that the corporate mindset is changing. Companies are moving from a top-down hierarchial philosophy to a more open, horizontal, collaborating one.

“Whether or not the intranet is responsible for transforming the insular information-hoarding mentality that has established itself over many years in business, it is clear that intranets enable better information sharing,” said Ian Campbell, VP of IDC’s Collaborative Technologies group. “The instant access to real-time information that intranets enable provides a clear competitive advantage.”

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