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Intranet vs Collaborative Workspaces: How to Optimize Your Intranet Design

By Elantis on July 26, 2022

There are many terms commonly used to describe the growing list of tech platforms that can assist with a company’s communication and collaboration, such as intranet, collaborative space, digital workplace, and employee experience platform (just to name a few). Many of these terms may seem synonymous with one another, especially regarding the difference between intranet vs collaborative workspaces. It is important to focus on your company’s intranet design to increase employee engagement, boost productivity, and maximize ROI with a new intranet. The key to fully optimizing your intranet design is to make sure there is no confusion between an intranet vs collaborative workspace.

This article helps you distinguish between an intranet vs collaborative workspace by defining the difference and highlighting examples you can use to maximize their potential. Ultimately, understanding the difference between intranet vs collaborative workspaces is, in a sense, understanding the evolution of technology in the business world over the past three decades.

What is an Intranet?

An intranet is a private, secure network that is internally developed and maintained by a company, providing a digital space where employees can store, share, and access key information to assist with their day-to-day tasks. Around the time the internet was taking the world by storm in the 1990s, the intranet quickly became a vital tool for businesses to communicate and share information internally.

The Rise of Collaborative Spaces

Collaborative workspaces are interactive digital platforms where employees are not only able to share and access information, but also foster connection and collaboration between employees. Much like the intranet coincided with the meteoric rise of the internet in the 1990s, collaborative digital workspaces evolved alongside the rise of communication technology in our social lives, including social networks, instant messaging, and video calls.

An intranet is a private, secure network of information and communication that relies on thorough development, governance, and compliance regarding a company’s information architecture and workflows; however, a collaborative workspace promotes the culture of support, unity, and collaboration that allows employees to use this network to boost productivity while also connecting on a professional and personal level.

When to Use Intranet vs Collaborative Workspaces?

In keeping with the trend of businesses using technology in a way that coincides with how society-at-large uses and adapts to evolving technologies, intranet services such as Microsoft SharePoint have integrated collaborative spaces with its intranet features. For example, in SharePoint, businesses can create a Team Site or a Communication Site. If you understand the difference between intranet vs collaborative workspaces, you will be able to use these features to their full potential.

A Team Site is a digital collaborative workspace for employees to connect and support each other while sharing rough ideas and formless thoughts. Consider this the work you do behind the scenes that is not yet ready for the public eye, similar to a writer’s first draft of a manuscript before the editing process prepares it for publication. Use cases for these collaborative workspaces include:

  • A small team working on the deliverables and tasks for a specific project.
  • A space for communication within specific departments.
  • A social space to share heartwarming jokes and coordinate social events.

A Communication Site is representative of the traditional (and vital) features of an intranet. This site is the source of information and communication that is ready for the “public eye,” or the broader organization. This is why the information stored, shared, and accessed on an intranet must adhere to strict governance and compliance. This is the “official” content.

If the Team Site is the place where the writers room generates the first draft, the Communication Site is where the script will be shared when it is ready for publication. Examples of information that may be shared via this intranet may include:

  • Official internal communications.
  • Policies and procedures.
  • Branded document templates.

Now that you understand the key differences between an intranet vs collaborative workspace, you are ready to fully optimize your intranet design. Elantis can guide you on this journey, so if you are looking for more information on how to optimize your intranet design, contact us today to book a free consultation.

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