Intranet vs Digital Workplace

“Intranet” and “Digital Workplace” are terms that are being used a lot by me as well as the industry as a whole, sometimes interchangeably and sometimes independently. So for ease I’ve lifted my description of these two terms from a guest blog post I wrote for Horizon Comms. The reason is explained in the fist line below…


I’m going to refer to these two words a fair bit, so want to make sure you know the difference between them (as I am applying them in any case).

Lots of companies have an intranet that fits on a sliding scale from ‘just somewhere that documents are saved and accessed by the business’, to a ‘social, collaborative, newsworthy, frequently used and loved site’. The investment by a company, in time, money, dedication and passion is what tends to move an intranet along that sliding scale. It’s usually managed by internal communications, IT, HR, PR, a standalone team or sometimes a mixture.

A very strong intranet is probably also a digital workplace, although a digital workplace doesn’t automatically include a strong intranet. A digital workplace is essentially all the digital tools that an employee uses, how they are presented, accessed and how they work together.

A strong digital workplace will allow an individual to use a myriad of systems through just a small number of portals (including the intranet). This is a term that has evolved over the past few years, particularly since Microsoft released Office 365 and more non-intranet social tools started to emerge (like Workplace by Facebook and dedicated communication apps).

People within the intranet industry are trying to work towards that concept of a digital workplace, and some have achieved it already. For some fantastic examples have a look at some international award winners, either Nielsen Norman, Ragan or the Step Two Awards. For more on this subject have a look at the variety of online articles, like this one.

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Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

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