Intranet, what is it and do I need one.
Tuesday, April 21, 1998
Written by Michael Doré

Intranet, a play on the word Internet, an intranet is a restricted-access network that works like the Web, but isn't on it. Usually owned and managed by a corporation, an intranet enables a company to share its resources with its employees without confidential information being made available to everyone with Internet access.

A chief focus of an intranet is to give easy access to frequently used documents, company policies, interoffice communications, customer contact information, employee scheduling information and virtually any information necessary to improve available resources to your employees. Example: In the sales process. Sales representatives can use a section of the intranet to display white papers describing the company's technology.


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For small companies, where an intranet with 100 users or less will suffice, the solutions are different than those that may be considered for a larger corporation. After some initial analysis, if you find yourself in the category of small organizations that need basic intranet functionality and have few administrative and technically qualified personnel, you may want to consider prepackaged hardware and Web server solutions. These usually provide a Web server with HTTP, e-mail support, and crossplatform file services and generally are an expensive option for most small companies. Another less expensive alternative is to take advantage of a already existing network. In other words a Internet service provider such as Ableweb or someone who has the hardware and administrative staff already in place to build and maintain your Intrarnet site.

A survey of intranet users conducted by Alden Globe, knowledge consultant and online editor for J.D. Edwards, found that the time saved by employees seeking information is worth about $5 million to the company. About 36 percent of respondents said they had saved 7 to 10 hours per month using thire intranet compared to the way that they had worked last year. The company has invested about $1 million in the intranet, including salaries of team members and the cost of three servers for development, staging, and production. “We’re not just sitting here philosophizing,” Globe said. “We have driven it.”

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