Intranets: What, Why, and How
Outline of a presentation by The Enticy Group
- Who are we?
- What related intranets and projects are we working on?
- County of San Bernardino
- State Franchise Board
- Goals of the presentation
- Provide you with a basic knowledge of intranets
- Give you some resources to start a more in-depth analysis
What is an intranet?
- Our working definition of an intranet
- TCP/IP network
- Restricted access to employees
- Client browser
- HTTP server
- How is it different from a LAN? WAN? InterNet? web site? extranet?
- A LAN typically provides file sharing and printer sharing
- A LAN is a required piece of an intranet
- A WAN is a way to extand a LAN
- The InterNet is not under your control and can be accessed by anyone
- A web site is intended for public use
- An extranet is typically both and intranet and a web site
- A web site has fewer applications and more "pages"
- By this definition, e-mail is not an intranet application
What do you do with an intranet?
- Retrieve and publish information
- Slowly changing information, like manuals and procedures (months, years)
- Share and collaborate
- Quickly changing information, like issues and resolutions (weeks)
- Capture and disseminate data
- Instantaneously changing information, like news headlines and time recording (hours, days)
What are the benefits of an intranet?
- Information is more reliable
- The consumer gets information directly from the publisher
- Information is more timely
- The consumer gets information when they need it
- The world is experimenting with "push" technology
- E-mail notification is simple
- Information is easier to distribute
- Cheaper, faster, and more environmentally friendly than paper
- Responsibility of publishing can be de-centralized
- Publishing is easier
- Distribution is no longer an issue
- Volume is less of an issue (large reports and manuals can be searched)
- Specialized information is no longer prohibitive to publish
- Departments which don't share systems can share information
- Information is easier to access
- Online access from all sorts of browser machines
- Field access to information
- We are working on telephone access
- Applications that have been tseted can be rolled out to the public
- Applications are less costly
- Only a single platform to support (on the server)
- No client to maintain
- Typically, no field software upgrades are necessary
- When they are, it can be automated
- Data is centralized
- No "nightly update"
- Robust backup
- You can integrate data maintained in separate places
What are the problems of an intranet?
- Needs computer, electricity, access, and infrastructure
- The computer goes down (but any computer will do)
- The LAN goes down
- A field worker cannot connect
- Until portables are portable, you go to the computer
- Less interactive than client-server
- Lowest common denominator
- LCD is rising because of better browsers
What applications tend to succeed?
- Information distribution
- Policies and procedures manuals
- Underwriting guidelines
- Policy rating and quoting
- Organization charts
- Benefits and HR information
- Phone, e-mail, and company directories
- These can be provided without an intranet
- You might want this information available to the public
- Publications and newsletters
- Help desks
- Oil Change
- Windows Update
- Software distribution
- Oil Change
- Windows Update
- Information sharing
- Project management and status
- Discussion Groups
- Lotus Notes
- Data capture
- Surveys and questionnaires
- Equipment and facility booking
- Time and expense recording
- Interactive training
- Video conferencing
- Not ready for InterNet use
- Doesn't yet fit into our definition of intranet
- Why not set up a customizable portal site, like Yahoo!?
- Is this a library?
What applications tend to fail?
- Image processing
- Applications that require local hardware (scanning etc.)
Challenges in implementing your intranet
- Integration of data from diverse data sources
- ?Present information in the appropriate format
- Enforcing security
- Guaranteeing availability and performance
- Multilingual content
Challenges in maintaining your intranet
- Keeping information fresh
- Ongoing training costs
- Managing security
- Scaling the infrastructure to meet new requirements
How can you be sure your implementation succeeds?
- Pick a good starting application
- Good means simple
- Good means small
- Good means low cost/benefit
- Good means low risk
- Initial success is easy, maintenance is harder
- Pick a good target audience
- Good means influential
- Good means connected
- Establish publishing guidelines
- Who can publish ?
- What can be published ?
- What tools should be used for publishing ?
- Will the intranet be linked to the InterNet ?
- Will the intranet be available as an extranet?
- Complete the design before implementing
- Graphic design
- Navigational design
- Think in terms of processes instead of documents
- Copy the successful designs
- Implement security
- Can this be accessed from a public network?
- Is password security enough?
- Banking applications are online today
What can cause the implementation of an intranet to fail?
- Poor planning
- Insufficient funding
- Lack of user support
- Incomplete understanding of the technology
- Trying to do something too complex for the technology
- Security failure
- Social Security office debacle
- Microsoft personal information accessible
How do we get there from here?
- What can I do today?
- Set up a LAN
- Identify processes, information, and applications that could be put online
- Identify sponsors and resources
- Play with the technology
- What must I do to be able to implement an intranet?
- Know your environment (who has which machines)
- Identify who will support it
- How do I leverage my existing MIS infrastructure?
- You can use free tools to get started
- There are many development environments
- IIS and VID
- Allaire ColdFusion
What are some other municipalities doing?
Intranets: What, Why, and How http://www.enticy.com/documents/intranets.asp
CIO WebBusiness, "Intranet Development On The Cheap", Nov 1, 1998, http://www.cio.com/archive/webbusiness/110198_cheap.html
CIO WebBusiness Intranet Research Center, http://www.cio.com/forums/intranet/
State of Alaska's Online Vehicle Registration http://www.sagafyi.com/site/zine/8-98/story.htm