Your intranet is, by definition, internal. It’s the way your business does business within itself, whether communicating between individuals, sharing between departments, or forming new alliances for specific projects.
But should your business be looking to widen that network, perhaps to other organisations?
In a blog for LiveTiles NYC, Ameir Abouelela puts forward the idea that was successful businesses really need is an extranet. An extranet allows external partners and stakeholders to access the content and functions of your intranet. An extranet should be similar to a DMZ (demilitarised zone), says Abouelela, by limiting full access and thereby keeping the main company intranet secure.
Abouelela cites the benefits as including:
- sharing of large volumes of data
- product information sharing for partners
- joint venture collaboration with other companies
- shared training programmes
However, Abouelela also is concerned about the security issues, plus the cost of additional hardware, software and the time taken for employee training.
To be honest, he is seriously overcomplicating things by advocating an intranet/extranet set-up. There can be one system that does it all, without compromising security, integrity, function or useability.
If a single secure, intranet-type network can reach out to multiple partners, all with specific access privileges that customising their data, then life becomes a lot easier. What’s more, if the interface is familiar, friendly and uncomplicated, the learning curve for both employees and partners will also be considerably reduced.
At TalkFreely, we have just such a solution already in place with UK and international companies – our Employee Network app.
- It’s cloud-based, so there is no hardware or software to install, and data is kept separate and secure from main company servers
- It can be customised to any number of user levels, communities and groupings, so individuals need only receive or interact with the information that is relevant to them
- It’s intuitive to use and looks great on any device, mobile or desktop
Most of all, it allows disparate groups and stakeholders to come together and collaborate on projects, suggest new ideas, and share knowledge in a safe and supportive virtual environment. All without the need for extranets, DMZs or any other complex, hardware-based solutions.
Of course, we would say that’s its easy to use, so why not try it for yourself?