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What is it?

Tangible Benefits

Intangible Benefits

Growth of       Development

Getting Started

Recipe

Gains

Costs Now

Costs Later

Is it Manageable

Does it fit?

Training

Outsource?

Affects

Secure?

Timeframe

Example

 

Announcements:

 

Thinking of an Intranet?

 

Talk to us!

 

We are willing listeners.

 

What is an Intranet?

An intranet can be a valuable and effective business tool for an organisation.

 

It can be a strategic asset that supports key business processes, improvements in efficiency as well as greater staff and customer satisfaction.

 

An intranet is a private computer network based on the communication standards of the Internet.

 

It is smaller version of the Internet that only the members of an organization can see.

Companies can create, within their walls, a manageable, secure version of the World Wide Web.

 

These internal Webs are growing from an explosion in the use and understanding of Internet technology.

 

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Tangible benefits of an intranet.

Why build a corporate intranet?

 

Developers will tell you because we can. A better answer is that it is an effective tool to combat the waste of time, effort and materials within an organization at the same time generating new opportunities for collaboration and productivity.

For the first time, an organization has the ability to put one, open-standards, thin client (the Web browser) as the interface to their corporate data and business processes.

 

The tangible benefits, those that executives can wrap their arms around, of intranet creation can be summarized below. A good example of a tangible benefit is the reduction in paper cost from moving processes online.

 

Certain statistics quote that 18% of corporate printed material becomes outdated after 30 days. Imagine, that after 60 or 90 days.

 

Now, imagine if that material were always online and current.

 

Tangible Benefits.

 

Inexpensive to implement

Easy to use, just point and click

Saves time and money, better information faster

Based on open standards

 Scaleable and flexible

Connects across disparate platforms

Puts users in control of their data

 

 

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Intangible benefits of an intranet.

It is not only the removal of paper that leads to organizational benefit.

 

What is done with that information in this new Web-enabled environment has a huge impact.

 

Intranets allow an organization to spend less time on things that bring no value such as chasing down the right information to solve a problem.

Productivity increases as corporate knowledge is more accessible and the data is more accurate.

 

Flexibility in time of delivery of knowledge is gained as information is always a click away. Intranets allow for a place where boundaries are lowered and information exchange is encouraged.

 

This leads to more informed employees with the ability to make better, faster decisions. This in turn leads to better productivity and more time for revenue generation.

 

Intangible Benefits.

 

Improved decision making

Empowered users

Builds a culture of sharing and collaboration

Facilitates organizational learning

Breaks down bureaucracy

Improved quality of life at work

Improved productivity

 

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Growth of intranet development.

Many have argued that having an intranet is becoming a necessary component of competing in today's marketplace.

 

This type of attitude along with the long list of intranet benefits has lead to an explosion of development.

 

 

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Getting Started.

 

Appoint a business-technical Web strategy team.

Develop a written vision and a strategy.

Outline necessary costs and work.

Hire or outsource.

Build a prototype.

Work with existing corporate culture.

Get executive support.

Start small: Sell a target user group.

Educate everyone.

Consider security trade-offs.

Measure progress.

Update the vision, strategy, budget and work plans as needed.

 

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Recipe for Intranet Strategy.
Big-picture vision.
 
Business purposes and goals.
 
Ongoing planning for all areas from content to staffing to security technology upgrades.
 
Widely communicated policies for access and publishing.
 
Constantly updated security procedures, including policies on access, monitoring and enforcement.
 
Mechanisms to scale funding to hundreds or thousands of users.
 
Evangelism to both executives and employees.
 
Short- and long-term goals.
 
Considerations for legacy systems.
 
Methods for spotting emerging technologies and determining whether, when and how to incorporate them.
 
A flexible, regularly revisited business plan.
 
A Web organization with clearly defined roles, depending on the organization's culture and needs.

 

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1. What does my business gain?

You will be able to quantify some benefits such as savings in operating cost, reduction in paperwork.

 

The other benefits of an intranet solution like, improved customer service and faster and better access to up-to-date information.

 

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2. How much does it cost now?

This will include the cost of hardware (web server, network adapter and related hardware), software (server OS, add-on software, utilities) & labour (setup & maintenance).

 

A Linux based server and the correct software would start from $3,500.

 

Experience shows that the foundation you build on must be stable and must be expandable.

 

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3. How much will it cost later?

Include these factors when calculating your long term intranet related costs.

 

Server and network upgrades to handle traffic.

Management tools and manpower required.

Software licenses and upgrade fees.

Information publishing and  archiving costs.

 

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4. Is it manageable?

An intranet is one of those things which is east to start and can be a
management nightmare as it grows. Be prepared to spend a lot of resources
for the management of your intranet if you have not planned the growth well in advance.

Some of the things to be prepared for are increased traffic and an increasing number of publishers and users.

Try to use web and network management tools to reduce the amount of manual work involved. To add new users provide online forms that will automatically setup the required accounts.

 

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5. How does it fit into my existing systems?

Find out if your legacy systems will work with your intranet solution.

Legacy systems do not necessarily mean mainframe systems.

Newer client server based applications will also need to be tweaked to work with an intranet solution.
A number of database and application vendors are working on intranet interfaces to their data.

Until this is available you will have to figure out a way of moving your data between your legacy systems and the intranet.

 

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6. What kind of training will my developers and users need?

The developers will need to be trained in the art of web publishing. Break up your group of developers into two subgroups.

 

The first one will be your core intranet development team which will take care of the server management, application development and technical aspects of the intranet.

 

The second less; technical team will handle simpler tasks like publishing documents to html, converting existing data sources like spreadsheets. & databases to a format acceptable for your intranet.

 

Each group will need different kind of training, find people that will be able to adapt to the new methodology easily.

 

For example, people with good Word-processing and Desk top publishing experience will adapt easily WYSIWYG html editors like FrontPage.

 

Network administrators will make good web server administrators and your programming team will help you develop applications for your intranet.

 

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7. Can I outsource my intranet ?

Its an option.

 

The advantages will be a faster development cycle and you will be able to use the expertise and experience of professionals in this field.

You will also be relieved of the headaches associated with intranet management and support.

 

If you decide to use consultants to give your intranet project a jump start, make sure your staff is trained and ready to take over the project after the consultants leave.

 

Also make sure that the consultants have provided enough room for growth for your staff to use when the intranet takes off and grows rapidly.

 

 

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8. How will it affect productivity?

If done right, an intranet can enhance productivity to a great extent.

 

A lot depends on the type of system the intranet is replacing. If an intranet solution is replacing a traditional paper based information access methodology (ex. printed manuals) the improvement in productivity will be tremendous.

 

On the other hand, if it is introducing a completely new process you may not be able to measure the productivity in an accurate manner.

 

 

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9. How secure is it?

Your intranet will be as secure as its weakest link, which is usually the people managing and using your intranet.

 

If you do it by the book and use a secure server, firewall, password protected access and physical security for the server machines; you are covering all the bases.

 

Also have a policy in place to check for creeping links to unsecured locations, backdoors from the internet to your intranet, proper use of passwords and other security mechanisms provided by your intranet setup.

 

 

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10. How much time will it take to start one?

Not much if you do it right.
 

Unlike most other IT ventures, an intranet can be setup real fast.

 

All you need to get started is an existing network (preferable TCP/IP based) and a spare machine which can act as your web server.
 

Once you install a web server package on this machine, install browsers on your client machines, and connect the clients to the server you are on your way.

 

Intranets usually grow and improve with time.

 

The initial phase does not take up a lot of your time or a huge financial commitment.

 

 

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Example:

Customer Service Intranet

 
This is one area where many an intranet can find itself peering over the company firewall to directly interact with customers.

 

A good example of how intranets are being leveraged for customer support is the extension of internal package-tracking databases of UPS and FedEx over the Internet.

 

An intranet or extranet can allow a customer to help themselves or allow support personnel to find an answer faster. Gone are the days of putting a customer on hold while you research the file cabinet for that part number or other solution.

 

Examples of other possible content and applications

Customer information entry and update

Order entry and tracking

Online information (databases on customers, inventory, supplies)

Problem entry and tracking

Customer FAQ's

 

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