According to a report published today by International Data Corporation, companies are adopting intranets at a faster rate than previously thought by research organizations.
Organizations are using intranets--private corporate versions of the Internet--for information sharing, email, group scheduling, document management, and corporate directories, said the IDC report, "The Pervasive Internet."
Today, intranets can be found in a full 59 percent of U.S and 38 percent of European companies contacted in the IDC survey. By next year, the report predicts that 77 percent of U.S. and 75 percent of European companies will be using intranets.
According to IDC, the speed at which companies are deploying intranet access to key applications has been very rapid. One of the factors driving the use of intranets has been the fact that vendors are Web-enabling what were once proprietary server software packages, such as Lotus Development?s Notes and other corporate staples. Now servers support a number of clients, Web browsers, and email applications, instead of just a proprietary version from the vendor.
Through the acceptance of open industry standards and user-friendly Web browsers, the technical barriers that have hindered the development of collaborative workforces are eliminated, the report said.
The report also found that although companies are relying increasingly on intranets, they do not expect them to displace existing information infrastructures in which they have made significant investments, such as mainframe systems and existing client/server networks.
IDC predicts there will be 133 million intranet users by 2001. Email will remain the leading intranet application with 125 million users, followed by 119 million users of intranet groupware.