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Corporate Intranets Have Life Cycles

A life cycle for the intranet industry has emerged, showing how successful intranets mature as they are integrated into businesses, according to research by The Concours Group.

Its report, "Project CI: Managing and Exploiting Corporate Intranets," studied 15 Fortune 1000 companies, and found a pattern among intranets that companies can use when planning intranet strategy, as well as measuring its success.

The four stages of the intranet life cycle are:

  • Originate--the company as a whole and individual employees grapple with the reality of a corporate intranet. Since this is a fledgling step, intranets need to move out of this phase quickly or they will die.

  • Automate--The intranet has been accepted and companies can begin to increase productivity and save money because the intranet capabilities are being applied more systematically to do old tasks in new ways.

  • Innovate--Users explore the intranet's possibilities and learn to do new tasks in new ways based on enhanced communication and information systems.

  • Reorganize--Work flow and business processes are re-engineered. New work, new organization and revamped intranet infrastructure enable companies to become more effective in doing business in the digital age.

"Corporations without intranets will find it difficult to compete, work with, or catch up to competitors who have established intranet systems," said Janet Asteroff, a research director with The Concours Group.

"Even companies with successful intranets need to understand the phases of the intranet life cycle because the information and capability revealed at each stage provide the leverage to reap the benefits of new business opportunities."