An intranet provides internet services within an organization. An intranet client is a universal browser using TCP/IP protocol. The servers in an organization may support any services on any operating system. As long as they support TCP/IP protocol stack, they are part of the intranet. Some intranet services are given below:
Important intranet services
The requirements or services for an intranet may include the following:
- Mail Services
- File transfers
- Web services
- Audio Services
- Video Services.
The easiest way to start an intranet is by providing e-mail services from a standards-based server, i.e. SMTP mail server with client using Netscape Navigator or the Microsoft internet Explorer browser to retrieve mail, using POP3 protocol, from the mail server.
The simplest way for setting up a server is by installing a Linux system which has built-in free SMTP mail server software. NO expensive gateways are required.
This is the easiest way to get started and demonstrate the usefulness of an intranet. The essential components of an intranet include the following:
- A network
- TCP/IP on servers and clients
- Hardware for hosting intranet services
- Software: Mail server as the minimum, web server for hosting Web pages
The optional items include:
- HTML editors
- Productivity tools which are web-aware
- E-mail Remote User Agents
- Proxy servers
The essential components make an intranet operational, but the optional items make it truly by delivering all, or most of the intended intranet services.
The web services, database lineages, application requiring users to fill forms, graphics and beautification of sites are enabled by the tools mentioned above.
Applications on an intranet help in cost saving by reductions in Printing and distribution costs. The largest benefit is the increased access to information. An intranet achieves the following in an organization:
- Reduction of costs of printing, paper, software distribution, mailing, order processing
- Reduced telephone expenses
- Easier and faster access to technical and marketing information Easier and faster access to technical and marketing information
- Easier and faster access to remote locations
- Increased access to competitive information
- Latest and up-to-date, research base
- Easier access to customers and partners
- Collaborative group working
- Increased accuracy and timeliness of information
- Just-in-time information.
It is the business needs that should drive an intranet. All or some of the above benefits will make a business case for an intranet.
Requirements must, therefore, be studied carefully, and the intranet tailored toward realizing them to provide the organization with the much-needed tool for operational efficiency, better turn-around time, better knowledge base, more productivity, and competitiveness to survive in the market place.
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