Hey! We invented the intranet! (and other outlandish stories)

This blog piece asks, and answers, two burning questions in the history of the intranet:

  • 1. Did Oak really invent the intranet?
  • 2. Did Oak invent ‘Kebab and Chip Mountain’?

Let’s see…


1994 – Pulp Fiction came out,  Britpop wars were in full swing and Joe Satriani released his eponymous album. Oh, and someone showed me the ‘internet’

We’ve been around for an awfully long time, since 1994 in fact. Right at the start of when this crazy thing called ‘The Internet’ was kicking off. I remember being asked to trial it, while working as a trainee salesman for Syntegra (part of British Telecom) and thinking ‘Wow! This is full of JUNK!’. But I was hooked (I’m so glad good content prevailed). Always knew it’d catch on. Eventually.


Meanwhile, in Newcastle, while everyone was busy making websites…

Around the same time, a very forward-thinking kid in Newcastle called Ajay Sood set up ‘Orchid Software’; a company that was going to rock the world of Quality Management solutions, until he and a couple of bright sparks, also fascinated by web technology had something of a lightbulb moment. While everyone was busy building websites, they saw this new technology as a potential way of providing access to software with nothing more than a web-browser. They prototyped a few clever ideas, including an innovative document management system, and started talking to equally forward-thinking companies about their epiphany. Fortunately, it caught on, and the monster of a solution that became known as ‘Orchidnet’ was born; a feature-rich out-of-the box intranet solution, that became the foundation for the company’s growth from around 1995 onwards.


Hello! History here. Hell-oooo?

And the rest is, well, kinda history. Except we were too busy creating awesome intranets for our amazing clients to realise we were actually making history.

Fast forward 20 or so years and we had released our cloud-based intranet service, Oak (and changed our company name to Oak too!), the culmination of two decades of experience in the intranet world, when a client sent us a link to a fascinating book called the ‘Intranet Product Directory’, written by world-renowned Search expert, Martin White of Intranet Focus. We were gobsmacked to see the book credited Orchid Software (our original company name) as likely being the first company to sell a commercial intranet product, back in 1995! Wow! We were so taken aback, we actually broke away from our kebab-and-chip lunch (more on that later) and did a little digging.


Ok, ok, ‘invent’ might be a little OTT

We found that while we didn’t actually invent the intranet… (there are differences of opinion on the who and when, but it could have been as far back as 1966 someone came up with the idea), we were indeed the ones to pioneer it here in the UK. And we’ll take that 🙂


Kebabs. Really?

So, to answer the question “Did Oak really invent the intranet?“ Well, not totally true, but we were definitely pioneers, and have continued to innovate since we released our very first one back in 1995.

As for the second question “Did Oak invent Kebab and Chip Mountain?” Oh yes, totally true. But I’ll save that for another blog 🙂

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Sukh Ryatt
CEO at Oak Intranet, Sukh is also a full-time engagement evangelist, part-time geek, and after-hours charity fund-raising rock guitarist. Every day, he counts his blessings for having the opportunity to work with the most talented folks on the planet, to create and spread the word about the most awesome intranet on the planet; Oak!