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Inside Line Intranet applications use Internet technology to streamline your internal communications.

By Cheryl J. Goldberg

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Less than two years ago, small companies were at a distinctdisadvantage when it came to sharing information among employees.Large corporations had the means to install expensive groupwaresystems, such as Lotus Notes, that allowed them to share internalinformation such as sales contacts, customer service informationand other documents. They could also install large wide areanetworks to share key database or other corporate information. Butsuch systems were far too costly and complex for smallerorganizations to even consider.

Today, with the increased availability of Intranet technology,organizations of all sizes--even those with as few as five to 10employees--can give everyone on staff access to internalinformation, wherever and whenever they need it, simply andcost-effectively.

"Intranet" is a term used to describe the use ofInternet technologies internally within an organization rather thanexternally to connect to the global Internet. Essentially,companies use the Intranet to publish information on an internalWeb page, using the same process they would use to publish anexternal Web page. Users then access this information using a Webbrowser. These Intranet products also provide some e-mailcapabilities.

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