In 1997, when I and the company I was working for at the time recognized the power of the intranet, I was given an opportunity to design and manage a new corporate intranet site. The first question many people asked was "what's the difference?"
In Open Market's case, the difference was this: the extranet was a Web site containing corporate material relevant and useful not just to employees but also to customers, partners and suppliers. It provided relatively simple data: white papers, stock lists and so on. The technical innovation employed here was in terms of accessshowing different material to different people based on their access credentials.
Conversely, the intranet was relatively simple in terms of accessmost people had access to most material, although a few areas were restricted to a few, named individuals. NT directory security handled this. The innovation for the intranet was all the tools we employed. Oasis, the Open Market intranet, comprised:
Eventually, everything an employee needed to know was available from Oasis, from "how much vacation do I have left?" to buying stock options, from filing an expense report claim to the engineering schedule for a specific project.