Magazine article Training & Development

An Intranet Renaissance

Magazine article Training & Development

An Intranet Renaissance

Article excerpt

Take a look at your organization's intranet, if it has one. Is the 1998 health plan still up? Is that executive who departed last winter still on the phone list? Welcome to the medieval intranet.

Let's face it: Corporate intranets have taken a back seat to public Websites. Business sense rules, though; it's a money thing. The Web is where the tangible commerce is, so grooming sites has been a pet project for many companies. As a result, intranets have been underfunded generally and, to some extent, neglected.

But not to worry: Intranets are entering a new age. And they're taking their cues from such Web portals as Yahoo! to become full-service productivity centers for employees.

According to the International Data Corporation, more than 50 percent of large and 32 percent of medium-size U.S. organizations have corporate intranets. And they're being used mainly for information sharing and publishing, email, document management, electronic forms, and corporate directories. The next level for intranets, though, according to IDC analysts Mike Comiskey, Amie White, and Ian Campbell, is one of interactive collaboration. They agree that intranets are in the early stages of a critical evolution that is moving them from a medium for displaying static content to one for managing dynamic transactions.

According to IDC, "New Web technology will address softer issues like personalization, where users can subscribe to categories of interest and have information pushed directly to the user's screen. Intranet portals will take a lesson from their public counterparts with rich services and easier-to-use interfaces and intelligent features."

Where does workplace training fit into this new movement? Comiskey says, "Training is already an important piece of intranet deployments, although it may not be obvious. Right now, training may be more in the form of static information published on the intranet to help employees do their jobs better. Moving forward, we'll see more interactive, real-time training on intranets. The technology is there for these applications, and we can expect more organizations to leverage the unique realtime, interactive capabilities of the intranet to cut costs through this type of training."

At any rate, the renaissance intranets will provide users with quick, comprehensive access to all of the resources employees need: data, software, people, organizations, and learning. …

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