Have you ever used a computer to communicate with your coworkers within a network and access work-related literature/training materials? If so, you were probably using an intranet, and it was probably the 1990s. According to Webopedia, “An intranet is a network based on TCP/IP protocols (an internet) belonging to an organization, usually a corporation, accessible only by the organization's members, employees, or others with authorization. ” Employees use secure intranets to share information with one another. These networks started becoming popular around 1991, and by 1994 companies were using them for business purposes. As the years progressed, intranets became invaluable to the corporate world.
When you think about it, the purpose of an intranet, which is to allow employees to share information with one another, is much like one of a social learning management system (LMS). However, while a social learning platform and an intranet both foster collaboration and connection, they are very different. In fact, learning management systems are replacing intranets at a rapid pace.
Reasons Why LMSs Replace Intranets
Why is it that social learning management systems are replacing intranets? There are several reasons for this; here are just a few:
- Companies are becoming more social. Because of this, they need social tools (polls, pictures, marketing tiles, forums, and announcements) that only an LMS can offer.
- Businesses want their networks to facilitate internal and external sharing. A network that allows for internal and external sharing gives employees and administrators easy access the World Wide Web in addition to corporate literature stored on the internal database.
- Organizations need networks that encourage collaboration in ways that were not possible in the past. LMS functions such as live feeds, blogs, web conferencing, and interactive personal profiles connect coworkers like never before.
- Companies must have the option to customize their networks. Learning management systems tend to be more flexible and customizable than traditional intranets. This makes them better vehicles for corporate training.
Intranets Require In-House IT, Social LMSs Don’t
In addition to the above benefits, social learning management systems are also affordable and easy to maintain. Modern day LMSs are cloud based, meaning no hardware is installed onsite. Instead, company administrators and users are able to access shared information and communication channels through mobile devices anywhere, at any time.
The best thing about a software-as-a-service (SaaS) social LMS is that it is maintained and updated by its software provider. The software provider is totally responsible for correcting anything that goes wrong with the platform. This prevents companies from having to keep an IT professional on staff. Understandably, this saves businesses big money.
As is stated in the article Understanding Learning Management Systems, “One-third of IT projects in small to mid-sized companies exceed budgets and schedules by almost 100%.”
This statistic indicates that a lot of businesses simply cannot afford to hire IT professionals. Does this mean they should forgo having a network that their employees can use to share information on? Certainly not. All this indicates is that the network should not require any in-house IT intervention. This is only possible with a cloud-based LMS.
LMSs Have Improved Upon the Conveniences of Intranets
There’s no doubt that intranets are convenient. Thank goodness that social, cloud-based LMSs include all the conveniences of an intranet plus increased accessibility and tools that facilitate unmatched collaboration. Social learning management systems have brilliantly improved upon older technologies. As a result, employees are connecting and businesses are growing in ways they never could have in the past.
Intranets were the first systems that allowed organizations to share information online and create network connections. Since technology has evolved, many companies agree that a social LMS is the best option for training workers and conducting business.
Which do you personally prefer: LMS or intranet?