Is the concept of Intranet retaining its meaning in today's world, or is it evolving in response to emerging technologies?
For instance, Microsoft's
Power Platform serves as a tool for creating and developing business applications, aiming to make development more accessible to business professionals. Do business applications fall within the scope of the Intranet definition?
On another note, the introduction of
Generative AI simplifies tasks such as accessing information, generating documents, and organizing data. Can
Copilot be seen as the latest version of an Intranet?
Let's delve into the realm of intranet and explore its evolving significance in today's technological landscape.
As stated in the Oxford Learner's Dictionary, an intranet is characterized as:
"a computer network that is private to a company, university, etc. often using the same software as the World Wide Web"
Meanwhile, the Cambridge Dictionary provides its perspective on an intranet:
"a system of connected computers that works like the internet and allows people within an organization to communicate with each other and share information"
Lastly, according to the Real Academia de la Lengua Española, an intranet is succinctly defined as:
"Digital network for internal use in an organization."
Among these definitions, the one offered by the Cambridge Dictionary appears to be the most precise from my standpoint. This inclination arises predominantly from the latter part of the description, which explicitly emphasizes the primary purpose of facilitating communication and information exchange among employees.
Furthermore, the definition can be augmented by incorporating additional aspects until a consensus is reached on its comprehensive attributes. Consider the following illustrative enhancements:
- Serving as the central hub for accessing the organization's informational resources,
- Cataloging the entry points to the organization's suite of tools,
- Disseminating pertinent organizational information to its workforce,
- Enabling employees to conduct searches for any stored content.
Ultimately, the configuration of an intranet aligns with an organization's unique requisites. Hence, it is the organization itself that will delineate the contours of its intranet, molded by its distinct needs. In certain contexts, information dissemination may prove pivotal, while for others, seamless tool accessibility assumes paramount importance.
In the realm of Microsoft's offerings,
SharePoint stands out as the quintessential tool that comprehensively addresses these facets. Beyond functioning as a document content manager, it also fulfills the role of a web content manager. Moreover, its features, geared toward incorporating enhancements tailored to a company's needs, position it as one of the most versatile tools in the market for crafting and advancing intranet solutions.
During the era of
SharePoint 2013, the pinnacle of intranet implementation for enterprises was achieved. This version encapsulated all the essential components essential for any organization embarking on intranet deployment. Serving as the central repository of the company's information, employees turned to
SharePoint 2013 to access any requisite resources.
SharePoint served as the definitive solution for intranet needs, facilitating data integration through
Business Connectivity Services (BCS), executing workflows via
SharePoint Designer or
Windows Workflow Foundation (WWF), and empowering data exploration through the
Search Service, among other functionalities.
However, the landscape has shifted with the advent of emerging technologies like
Power Platform, ushering in expanded opportunities for companies. As a result,
SharePoint's prominence has waned compared to its previous standing. A prime illustration is
Microsoft Teams, which functions as a framework for seamlessly integrating a plethora of applications and tools at an employee's fingertips. Moreover, the advent of
Copilot further streamlines an employee's tasks, enabling them to focus on generating increasingly valuable content.
Given the context outlined above, a prevailing sentiment has emerged:
SharePoint's role within the broader intranet landscape seems to have diminished, leading to inquiries about its function amidst the intricate array of intranet features. As previously emphasized,
SharePoint held a versatile position, capable of accommodating a wide range of functions. The reduction of its scope within this context is both surprising and thought-provoking.
However, this observation simply underscores the rise of alternative tools that offer enhanced functionalities, which organizations can harness to their advantage. The presence of these alternatives opens up new possibilities for implementing diverse sets of features through various approaches. Importantly, this shift doesn't suggest any limitations in SharePoint's own capabilities.
For instance, consider the implementation of a business application, which can be achieved using
Power Apps or custom
SPFx development. Both options are valid and feasible. The key lies in a thoughtful assessment of the pros and cons of each, facilitating the selection of the most appropriate path forward.
The simple answer to this question is NO. They are not inherently different. What happens is that technology keeps changing, improving, and growing. This sometimes makes older ways of setting up intranets outdated, as there are newer and better ways to do it.
In other words, an intranet will keep being the system where people in a company talk to each other and share useful information for their work. The only thing that changes is how we set it up.
For example, think about
Microsoft Teams. It can be used as part of the intranet to help employees talk to each other, share things, and access tools and apps.
Power Apps can be used to create special apps for the intranet. These apps can be added to the collection of tools available on the intranet.
Power Automate can be like the engine that makes sure things get approved, notifies people, or combines data for the company's tasks to run smoothly. This idea goes for all the different technologies and tools that are out there.
So, to sum it up, intranets will still be intranets, no matter the tool or tools used to make them. The aim is to provide the very best version of the intranet to the employees in the organization's own system. Technology should be used in the best way possible, and not the other way around.
- Corporate Communication community post: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/corporate-communications/what-is-quot-intranet-quot-for-you-these-days/m-p/3904672
- How’s your intranet doing these days?: https://merethesharepointstave.com/2021/12/02/hows-your-intranet-doing-these-days/
- Oxford Learner's Dictionary intranet definition: https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/intranet?q=intranet
- Cambridge Dictionary intranet definition: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/intranet
- Real Academia de la Lengua Española intranet definition: https://dle.rae.es/intranet
- LinkedIn Sales Solutions in Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/es/@linkedinsalesnavigator
- A man reading information in his tablet from Unsplash: https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1507297230445-ff678f10b524?ixlib=rb-4.0.3&ixid=M3wxMjA3fDB8MHxwaG90by1wYWdlfHx8fGVufDB8fHx8fA%3D%3D&auto=format&fit=crop&w=2070&q=80
- SharePoint 2013 site collection default home page from kentd.com: https://www.kentd.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/team01.jpg