Some intranets are organized by function (purchasing, human resources, finance, for example) and maintained by the individual departments. Others have a central point where intranet information is developed and distributed; this usually occurs in larger organizations and the task is often handled by the MIS or IT group.
At the end of 1999, more than half of all American employees had access to the Internet through the workplace; that number is expected to increase to three-fourths of all workers by the end of 2000 (Gantz, 2000, p. 33). Making the Internet available to workers is neither difficult nor particularly costly; companies can set up a high-speed connection, a firewall to protect internal security, and provide browser software (which is readily available). Employees are then able to use the Internet for business purposes for everything ranging from research to making purchases over the Internet and using e-mail to keep in touch with clients and vendors.
Intranets, on the other hand, require a far greater investment than simply providing Internet access. An intranet uses hypertext markup language (HTML) pages similar to those on the wider Internet, but is contained within a single company. This means that the company must develop the intranet, including having the right hardware as well as software, create a strategy for how the intranet will be developed and maintained (and by which departments), and provide ongoing support for the intranet whic