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Intranet 3.0, Intranet 2.0, Intranet 1.0

May 29, 2011 by Igor Lozhkin
The magic number 3.0 is now assigned to something that is newer than new. While labeling something 2.0 still means the next new/big/better/exciting release/version/implementation, we all got so used to it so that new is not really new anymore. Or rather, 2.0 may be new, but it lacks excitement, which adds that somewhat irrational feel of something special, deserving of extra attention and extra effort, and extra budget, of course. Is it because innovation accelerates and ordinary new becomes just ordinary, so we have to devise an "extra-ordinary new" and upgrade it from 2.0 to 3.0?

Well, there are no standards in these numbers. The ISO or W3C.org do not specify what the Intranet 1.0/2.0/3.0 is and each of us might have our own interpretation. With this blog article, I would like to share mine.

Intranet 1.0 - the first version of intranet in the era of corporate client/server computing, which mostly consisted or static information published in web-exposed repositories. Client-server did not take it seriously, Windows NT reigned in IT, who needs the web in the mix - we have file-servers!

Intranet 2.0 - the dot-com crash made us re-think how we access information. What is the most efficient way to do it? Are there newer technologies, which could make it easier, while promoting information sharing and collaboration? Data was no longer in files and folders, the client/server computing model pushed IT to adopt relational databases as a standard way to store, maintain and analyze data. Web technologies, upgraded to deliver data-intensive operations to corporate workers, created Intranet 2.0 phenomenon. Portals, identity management, web reporting, web forms became standard tools to create data driven web applications, and thus truly revolutionized the way we access and work with data. 

Intranet 3.0 - this is evolution, not revolution, of Intranet 2.0 with added employee-centric and collaboration services.  The same technology base (portals, identity management, etc.) was enriched by various applications which may not directly target corporate data, but rather are used to empower employees to share information and collaborate in teams, and as a result further enhance productivity. Intranet 3.0 also brings about the change, which creates excitement and consequentially helps adoption.  

The switch from Intranet 1.0 to 2.0 was really a revolutionary step, while the gradual evolution of the Intranet 2.0 brings us to new and exciting capabilities of Intranet 3.0. So, is Intranet 3.0 really a new type of the Intranet? Maybe, or maybe not; after all if we are tired of 2.0, lets call it 3.0, does it really matter?