Examples of companies who put their intranet on the internet

2013-07-19

I've previously written about the Royal Mail's externally accessible staff website (unfortunately, if you are outside the UK they have now geoblocked the content).

Here are some more examples, both supermarkets in the UK, who make their employee 'intranet' accessible (i.e. not behind a login or VPN) over the public Web:

Another retailer in the UK - John Lewis - has just launched a new social intranet, but it doesn't look like they are brave enough to open it up to the public Web (access is behind a login).

The motivation behind doing this of course is to bridge the communications and employee engagement gap with staff who don't work in front of a computer all day.

To achieve a similar goal, many companies are choosing to use cloud-hosted solutions, like Yammer - the benefit of an off-the-cloud approach is an easy implementation and ease of access to integrated mobile apps, which staff can download and install themselves. However, the downside of this approach is that staff still need a login and tools like Yammer offer limited branding opportunities. Putting the intranet on the internet removes as many barriers as possible.

Incidentally, I've written about Australian supermarkets, although as far as I know, none of them are making their staff intranets public.

I do have a client in Australia who has a majority front-of-house workforce and we talked about making their intranet, which they host, externally accessible.

As many of their staff are casuals or work in shifts they recognised the potential benefits of making their intranet public, but there were a number of technical and organisational challenges to doing this. This included one tricky issue related to how they would segregate data about business performance (yes, we could use permissions, but more complex permissions open the door to the risk of human error).

For the moment, this company is making their intranet available to front-of-house staff through the use of kiosks and the internal wifi network (for staff with smartphones).

Hat tip Stephen Bynghall.

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