There are two big digital platforms in corporate communications: social intranet and social extranet. We will explain what the specific differences are and which benefits both platforms can provide your company with.

The more digital our everyday life – and therefore our workplace – is, the more digital our communications become. Most of us use numerous online channels both in our jobs and our private lives to communicate and interact with others. These range from emails and messenger services to social media platforms. In companies, the social intranet and social extranet are added to this list. Of course, most people know the difference between email, messenger and social networks, but what are the differences between intranet and extranet in corporate communications.

Social intranet: The digital workplace for your team

The prefix “intra” means “internal” and therefore the social intranet describes the internal corporate communications. The social intranet forms the digital platform where employees, projects, documents, company-internal processes and discussions are all brought together.

A social intranet helps companies organize their work processes more efficiently. Let’s say an employee is looking for important information for a team project, or another needs to call in sick, or another needs to review their annual leave, all of this can be taken care of via the social intranet with just a few clicks on the central platform – independent of location and device used.

But the intranet doesn’t just make work processes more efficient. It encourages employee interactions, promotes transparency in the company and furthermore, facilitates flexible and even location-independent work.

As a result, the intranet fulfills three central requirements in your company: It improves collaboration, strengthens communications and boosts networking in the team.

Social extranet: Digital B2B network

Just as the intranet is for internal communications, the social extranet is for external corporate communications. This incorporates all kinds of external company contacts such as customers, business partners, retailers or suppliers.

Like the intranet, the social extranet is also a closed digital network where external business contacts and your company convene.

An extranet – or your digital B2B network – is therefore very valuable. For example, it facilitates the rapid and efficient exchange of information and data between business partners and makes business processes much smoother.

For example, if you place regular orders with a supplier, you can handle all of this via the social intranet: from placing the order, via receiving the delivery slip, through to sending the payment notice. This saves you hours that would otherwise be taken up for phone calls and documentation. Moreover, the extranet enables you to stay in constant contact with all business partners without any delays or unnecessary waiting times.

If a customer would like a new design for a product, photos, suggestions and sketches can be uploaded, viewed and approved at any time without the process stagnating because the person responsible isn’t in the office but is visiting a customer, for example.

Furthermore, regular interactions via the social extranet strengthen the bond between customers, suppliers and partners. And finally, the closed extranets offer you a secure platform for exchanging data and information.

Therefore, both the social intranet and the social extranet have a lot of advantages to offer your company. But while both communication platforms achieve different goals, your company can benefit even more by merging the two networks.

Successfully merge intranet and extranet

Often, the separation of intranet and extranet is a technical question. Companies use different software for both networks and thus separate them from one another automatically.

For your employees, however, this means having to get familiar with two – often very different – systems. Furthermore, the separation once more creates the problem that information has to be transferred from one platform to the other, which is often inconvenient.

But this is now a thing of the past. Modern software enables you to merge systems. The social extranet is simply added to your social extranet in this case.

In this way, important information between your company and external business partners can be shared much more simply and quickly. At the same time, the combined software provides you with options for protecting sensitive data user-based or network-based. As a result, sensitive internal information is not available in the extranet and vice versa.

Learn how to use an extranet to accelerate and professionalize communication with external partners.

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