Why training needs the intranet
ONLY SOMEONE shipwrecked for years on a desert island would be unaware of the Internet and thats assuming that the natives were not already communicating with their relatives on other islands using e-mail or busy building their own e-commerce site to sell holidays on-line. Everyone knows that the Internet is the mother of all networks, a way of inexpensively linking computers at home and at work with millions of others around the world; in fact something like 100 million of them.
Most people say they also know what an intranet is, mainly because its one of the trendy buzzwords of the moment and its not cool to show ignorance. But the concept is simple enough. It is, of course, a mini-Internet, dedicated to a single organisation and providing employees with all the benefits of the web in their workplace.
The intranet sits alongside the myriad of other communication tools within an organisation, but has its own distinct profile. An intranet is:
interactive, which means you have the opportunity of receiving feedback; you have a better chance of the message being understood; you can tailor messages to meet individual users needs; and the user can control the pace of the communication process.
As intranets run over companies networks, rather than through a dial-up connection, they should be able to provide smoother and faster access to information than a home user would expect from the Internet. In practice, many local area networks are of inadequate bandwidth to take all of their existing traffic plus the burden of the intranet and so response times can be surprisingly sluggish. Of course, this is changing and most organisations are busy upgrading their networks, but I have not heard of one yet thats brave enough to encourage the use of audio or video on their intranet. Its safe to assume for the next two or three years at least that what an intranet gives you, in media terms, is text, graphics and a little animation. In time we will be able to use intranets as audio-visual tools as well, replacing multimedia CD-ROMs, in-company television networks and stand-alone videoconferencing facilities.
The single interface for an intranet is a web browser like Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator. This seemingly simple software application will in time provide employees with access to a significant proportion of their working tools: news, reference materials, documents, workflow applications, company databases and bespoke systems, discussion forums and training.
© Fastrak Consulting Ltd, 1998. All rights reserved. Last revised 2/11/98.