I help manage content for our company's intranet, which I've also sometimes called an employee portal. Some colleagues...
By submitting your personal information, you agree that TechTarget and its partners may contact you regarding relevant content, products and special offers.
have been pointing out that those are both old-school terms and could be misleading. Is my terminology incorrect? And is there a better way of referring to intranets, extranets and the Internet?
I think you're confusing a couple of issues. The terms "Internet," "intranet" and "extranet" refer to the boundaries of network connectivity and not the business uses and benefits of those technologies.
Intranets limit access to servers and information sources running inside a company to its employees only. The Internet, of course, provides access to all comers -- we used to characterize it as the information superhighway. Extranets, on the other hand, offer private routes across the Internet for friendly parties, such as business partners -- it's kind of a combination between a toll road and a gated community where only those in the know have access. These definitions were never precise. They served their purpose to fuel the excitement around the arrival of the digital age. But today's cloud computing makes intranet and extranet a bit dated.
More on intranets and extranets and portals
Get the basics of implementing security on an intranet or hosted services
Learn about enterprise portals and whether they have a future
Fortunately, we've moved on. My favorite triad now includes employee-, partner- and customer-facing websites. Not surprisingly, a good intranet or employee portal can be repositioned as an employee-facing website. An extranet can be recast as a site for partners or customers, and corporate websites also qualify as customer-facing.
Here's the difference: It's important to identify the purpose of a website and not the network topology on which it is based. When you manage a website, you need to identify the audience and what you expect people are going to do when they access the information you provide. Are they customers, business partners or employees? Are they teachers or students? Perhaps you are targeting multiple audiences. But if you do not have at least one in mind, you have a bigger problem that you need to fix.
Once you've identified the audience (or audiences), you then need to figure out how to manage and structure the content. You'll need to address the following issues: Who is going to access what kinds of information? Who has privileges to create and modify content? How is the information organized and tagged? Most importantly, you should focus your design and development efforts on the expected business results and not the underlying network connections.
Dig Deeper on Enterprise Web content management software
Related Q&A from Geoffrey Bock
Most people think the terms e-signature and digital signature are interchangeable, but an electronic signature differs from a digital signature in ...continue reading
There's more than one approach to content management systems. Expert Geoffrey Bock outlines how a decoupled CMS differs from a headless CMS ...continue reading
Here are the three steps content producers and publishers need to take to ensure effective delivery of Google micro-moments.continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.