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Organizational Benefits of Implementing an Intranet

By definition Intranet is an environment, which implements Internet
Applications like HTTP, WWW, Email, FTP etc. over a LAN, whereas the
term LAN doesn't necessarily limits the geographical bounds in this
case.

In large organizations it is good to have internal (i.e.
private to organization) Internet services for the organization can
achieve same benefits as on the Internet.

The observed advantages of such implementation are as follows: -

Efficient Scaling
How
much easy it is for any one to connect to Internet and start using it,
if you can consider, then you should know that once you connect to
Internet you become part of it, and the Internet is scaled by one more
user which is you. The same applies to the Intranet as well. It is
really easy to scale such environment as not much configuration is
needed to be done on the client thus the client joining time to
Intranet is comparatively much more lesser than to the Internet.

Another
thing, which is counted under the same heading, is the fact that there
are virtually no limits to the number of users who can connect to an
Intranet simultaneously and its easy too just connect to the LAN and
you are also connected to the Intranet.

The term Efficiency is replaced with easiness representing how easy it is to scale Intranets as per organizational requirements.

Rapid Development of New Services
If
there is any thing mature in IT its the Internet, the Internet services
have really matured because of the time they have been used for and the
excessive amount in which they are used catering for almost every ones
requirements. The development tools required to develop such services
have also matured the same by time, because the services employed by
Internet are simple in nature i.e. they are not as powerful as desktop
based applications so the tools used to create such applications allows
you to develop them Rapidly.

As we know that the Intranet
adopts almost the same services provided by the Internet thus the same
development tools are used here, however, Intranet applications vary
from Simple Internet like applications to Complex Desktop Like
applications (this is because of the security, speed, and processing
power available on Intranets), but they are developed almost the same
way, so the Complex Application development time will also be reduced a
lot.

Most of the services an organization might need are
already available with known maturity they only need to be configured
for specific organizational environment and policies that also cut
downs considerable development time.

Little training needed by development staff or users
With
a wild assumption, almost every one knows how to user Internet and has
a good grasp of its facilities and limitations, and because Intranets
are Internet like implementation there is no need to train staff if
general services are used.

A little training is needed if the
services are highly customized to organizational requirements and that
training will only be about how to use the software not about how to
use the Intranet overall.

From the developers perspective,
developing web sites for Intranets and also other wise has always been
the simplest of tasks in Computer Programming, considering the fact
that not much can be done when using an Intranet in contrast to real
Desktop based applications, the web sites (also, other Intranet
services) are really confined to what is provided by the User Agents
using which the clients will access the services and the servers which
will host those services.

As mentioned above that most of
the services are pre made and are bought off-the-shelf and the
developments platforms are WYSIWYG and supports high quality Rapid
Application Development, little training is needed for the developers
as most of the plumbing work is managed by the development tools
themselves.

Implementable on all platforms interoperability
If
you can recall the history of Internet, you should know that problem of
open system interconnection rose in the initial stages of Internet and
was well resolved. Just to remind that the problem was not only have a
standard protocol (TCP/IP) but some other interoperability issues like
displaying of web pages (CSS) on different platforms were also resolved
for good.

The organizations implementing Intranets also share
the same advantage of Internet when developing Intranet applications or
customizing services the need to accommodate various platforms is
obviated, as there is no real need to cater for multi-platform
environments because it is the client side, which adopts different
platform, and no real processing is done on client side thus the
servers are responsible for the major processing and a server cannot
run multiple Operating Systems simultaneously.

Languages like JavaScript resolve the client sides processing problem caused because of multitude of platforms available.

Supports range of architectures
The
versatility of Internet resulted in making of different development
architectures as well as supporting architecture (the Hardware).


As far as the development strategies are concerned, an Internet
applications development can follow from simple Jump Start methodology
to the Complex RAD models, also there is no restriction on using
various abstraction techniques as well e.g. Object Oriented,
Functional, Data etc.

The same is borne by Intranet
environments because of their striking similarity with Internet.
Complex data based applications require the use of complex analytical
and design techniques, the Intranet environments coherently are able to
cop up with all of them.

Almost every hardware platform, which
is able to allow remote connections or network connectivity in other
words, is able to run Intranet based applications with ease. Also,
Intranet Applications as compared to other applications consume
comparatively less resources. So no special hardware needs arises for
pure Intranet Applications.

Supports Integration of Legacy Systems
Legacy
(conventional, old, previous) systems such an existing MIS of the
organization or some other automation system, after the implementation
of an Intranet are easily able to integrate with Intranet without much
of the effort.

In normal integration process the Intranet
application only needs to connect to the MIS database and extract out
data for its users, which by any means is not difficult and time
consuming task to perform in Intranet development as compared to in
desktop based development. This comes to as a major advantage and
organizations do not need to re-engineer or throw away their existing
systems but rather can easily use them in conjunction with the
Intranets.

As Intranets supports almost every type of platform
no matter how old a technology it is, legacy applications can be
integrated with them easily.

Supports range of media types
Internet
initially supported Hyper Text, then the trend changed to Hyper Media
and now multimedia. Because of such wide use its only the Internet,
which supports the widest variety of media used to deliver information
to users. And so the same is inherited to Intranets, it can also
support multitude of media available i.e. the Graphics (VRML, LISP
etc.), Images (JPG, GIF, TIFF, JPE, PNG, etc.), Animation (Flash,
Shockwave, Director, VRML etc.), Video (MPG, MPEG, AVI, etc.), Audio
(WAV, RA, RAM, MP3, etc.).


Relatively inexpensive

The implementation and development
costs of Intranet applications are less as compared to other
application types this is because most of the services are available
readymade and can be bought easily, such applications are highly
customizable and are able to meet most of the users requirements.


The development time to such applications is comparatively lesser.
Which also results in the reduction of the development costs many
folds.

Most important financial aspect of Intranets is that
they require very less maintenance and thus are cheaper to run than any
other system. Intranet systems consume operational costs lesser than
Internet systems.


Basis for extranet model, (incorporating key suppliers)

Extranet
by definition is Another Intranet of some other organization connected
to your Intranet. Once you implement an Intranet within your
organization you can easily allow others to access it and vice versa.

Consider
the ease of placing an order, by simply opening the Intranet
application, filling in details, submitting the information by click of
a button and all the information is transferred to the Suppliers
Intranet (database) in a jiffy. Not only you can place orders like that
you can also check to see, Is your required stock available? From the
suppliers database directly (i.e. if the supplier has allowed you to).
Once the order is processed the Invoice and Delivery Notes can also be
automatically transferred to your Intranet and be shifted to accounts
for processing after approval.

This all is only possible if
both the parties are connected to each other using extranet model. The
Internet could also provide you the same facility but there will be two
implications involved:

1. It wont be as realtime as on Intranet.
2. The sense of privacy and ownership will be lost.

Basis for E-Commerce opportunities
The
previous point debates strongly on the implementation of B2B
E-commerce, once such infrastructure comes in existence it is easy to
provide B2C and other types of E-Commerce facilities to customers etc.


The ease of shifting to E-commerce can be understood by scrutinizing
the fact that the initiative of implementing an Intranet provides you
the basis of Internet like infrastructure the protocols the services
and more importantly the specialized hardware which you might need will
already be running in your organization thus it will be less costly,
efficient, and almost timeless effort to shift to E-commerce from the
existing Intranet bone.

To conclude this discussion,
implementation of Intranet not only gives your organization E-look but
also separates you out from those who have implemented traditional
information systems, which are normally not network intensive.

Being
network intensive is important in a sense that it will be basis of your
communication, higher and faster the communication better the product
will be. Intranet systems are easy to implement, portable, and consume
lesser operational costs and are beneficial for the organizations in
the long run.



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