What is an intranet?

Intranet is a private network organizations use to create secure communications within their workforce, create collaboration, and store information.

The internet is a public network that is not centrally owned by any specific entity. An intranet is privately owned, and accessible only to those with private authorization. An intranet allows users to store, organize, and manage information securely within an organization.

Graphic showing the difference between intranet, internet, and extranet.

An extranet, unlike an intranet, can be accessed by authorized third parties like customers, partners, or vendors. Intranets are usually used by employees as they search for information, communicate across the organization, and manage their workflows.

Information access

Intranets are generally used to host information centrally and provide secure access to documents, policies, and information employees need for their roles. Examples include content management systems (CMS) and document management systems (DMS).

Employee lifecycle management

HR functions can pre-board and onboard new employees to create a great employee experience with the ability to present tailored information and management.

Knowledge management

Organizations hold formal information, documents, and vast levels of information for employees. Using forums, idea boards, team areas, and discussion areas, employees have the opportunity to ask questions or find knowledge with the help of their peers. Knowledge is captured by the business and made available on a searchable platform, even when a contributor is no longer with the company.

Workflow management

Intranets give employees access to self-service and help them complete common processes using forms or transactional applications. Effective intranet solutions incorporate automated workflows, further empowering employees to accomplish more, more easily. Examples include booking a leave of absence, submitting expenses, or starting internal training.

Internal communications

Social and communication tools like wikis, forums, blogs, and discussion can be used to create two-way internal communications among staff.

Employee engagement management

Good employee engagement has a critical impact on business performance, yet it is difficult to achieve. There are measurement tools, like Employee Net Promoter Score, or means for empowering staff through blogs, social tools, etc., which an organization can access over via an intranet to tap into employee engagement.

Business objective alignment

Intranets help businesses build, embed, and communicate a common culture, which improves engagement among employees and increases staff retention.

Cross-functional collaboration

Organizations that are global or have employees working remotely may face challenges with connecting their staff. Intranets allow employees to communicate and connect while building virtual cultures.

  • Improved employee communication
  • More-effective knowledge sharing
  • Modernized employee experience
  • Personalized enterprise-wide communication
  • Increased visibility
  • Reduced organizational silos

User profiles

User profiles can be attached to a company directory in conjunction with external profile sources, such as Active Directory, Azure Directory, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Omnichannel solutions bring together user profiles, responses, history, and assets from the full range of communication channels, creating a single view of each user, complete with channel-specific context.

Blogs and forums

Communications and discussion sites provide intuitive and informal locations for collaboration and information searching between employees.


Specific departments, projects, or even interests can have a dedicated space within communities. Grouped individuals can meet virtually to collaborate, share ideas, ask questions, or workshop solutions to problems.

Social interaction and instant messaging

Instant messaging allows users to interact socially through the network, liking, sharing, tagging, or commenting on other people’s posts or activities.

ServiceNow streamlines employee service experience with intelligent, engaging workflows that span the apps and information that employees depend on. Bringing together enterprise search, access, and vital knowledge, ServiceNow Employee Workflows provide a personalized, one-stop solution designed to meet employees where they are.

The end result? Clear, quantifiable advantages across your organization.

Simplify access to services

Increased employee satisfaction and more agility when you deliver a consistent experience across all departments in your organization.

Enable productivity anywhere

Employees with access to what they need, when they need it, through the web, mobile apps, or virtual agents.

Design for moments that matter

Provide enterprise-wide experiences to measure up to employee expectations, from onboarding and offboarding to any returns to the workplace.

Optimize service delivery

Better operational efficiency and delivery of services with clear insights around employee queries.

Dive deeper into ServiceNow HR Service Delivery

Learn more about what ServiceNow could do for your organization.