James G. Fahey
Any organization with employees can reap the benefits of an intranet. As an organization grows, an intranet will grow with it, all the while increasing the benefits to its users and rewarding the management/ownership with its cost benefit.
Don't be fooled that intranets are just another toy for high tech companies...intranets work in most any type of organization. Many don't know that they already have the infrastructure in place to implement an intranet. Since computers
in most organizations today are networked, they have already taken the first step.
Whether you are a large financial institution, a corner grocery store, a small doctor's office or a local radio station: each of these organizations can benefit from an intranet.
What is an intranet?
Take a look around your office....what do you see? If you're like the rest of us, it is mounds and mounds of paper. When you look at the volume of information stored by organizations today – including reams of printed information like computer documentation, procedures, policies, and reference materials – you quickly see the logic for storing this information digitally. Users no longer have time to wade through an office full of paper documents to find some needed ounce of information. And companies can no longer justify the cost of printing all this information without any guarantee that users are actually reading it. Then there is the problem of keeping all that printed information up-to-date.
Enter the intranet. Simply put, the term intranet refers to the fact that the Web (or other Internet applications) are being run completely on the inside of a private network. This can be done with or without a direct connection to the Internet.
An intranet puts all this information together in one location that is:
- Administered by one or many individuals
- Accessed by those individuals whom you give access
- Easy to use and deploy
- Safe from those you don't want to give access
- Scalable to the size of your organization
- Completely customizable to achieve the goals you desire
Many companies are already using intranets to deliver information to internal users. Some examples of what you will find on an intranet are:
- Policy and procedure manuals
- Quality and Training manuals
- Computer and Software guides/manuals
- Any internal form i.e. fax cover sheet, payroll and benefit change forms
- Company newsletters
- Maps to your office or your clients
- Group work schedules
- Employee benefit information
- Marketing Literature
- Price Lists
- Product Catalogs
- Seminar Announcements
- Press Releases
- Basically, anything on paper can be added to this list!
We could go on and on about what kind of content could be included on an intranet. Technology allows us to put all of these documents online for instant access by authorized users.
The intranet content most needed by your organization is known by only certain people....you and your employees! BMCo can help you help you build your intranet, but what is inside comes from you...you know your company and its needs the best.
Where does this intranet go?
An intranet is accessed thru a web browser...the same one that you use to browse the Internet. The information is stored on a web server. A web server can be any computer from an existing file server in your office to a spare computer that no one uses. The computers using the intranet need linked, or networked, together in order for the sharing of information to take place. Most organizations that have computers are already networked. BMCo can help you determine how intranet ready you are.
If the office network is already in place, the "hardware" cost to become intranet ready can be, are you ready for this, nothing! As your organization grows, along with your intranet, your hardware needs will grow as well.
The intranet is made up of files - documents and directories - just like the rest of the information that is on your computer. As such, it needs to be treated just like the other information on your network - backing it up regularly and checking it for viruses for example. Since it is all kept in house, you are able to manage and control all aspects of upkeep and maintenance.
Why do we need an intranet?
Money. Time savings. Money. Simplicity. Money. Efficiency. Did we mention money? It's true for all of us...we depend on information, the sooner we get it the better. Most of our work these days revolves around our computers. The intranet uses that computer to bring information to you more efficiently, information that was previously:
- In that file cabinet next to Larry's office, the sales manager who talks to you for 15 minutes about his latest vacation every time you walk by his desk.
- Locked in the personnel department and only accessible when Sally works the 3rd Tuesday of every other month.
- Maintained by the Marketing Department and is printed out each time an employee made a request because they were meeting a potential client.
The intranet saves time...it gives our information hungry employees access to what they need, all at their fingertips and without leaving their desks. We all know how long a simple trip to the coffee machine can turn into a 20 minute ordeal when you get hounded by your co-workers for various requests. These above issues are amplified when you look at an organization that has multiple offices across a large geographic region.
This is why organizations get intranets. Choose to save time and money, get your organization an intranet today.
When should we get an intranet?
The answer is now. The information on this page will give you a good background about what an intranet is and the related benefits.