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Building your own intranet?

Many companies think it is a good idea to tackle their intranet project in-house, the challenge even excites them. However, why do they take this approach when there are so many reasons to avoid it? As they take on this project, they start to discover just some of the costs and pitfalls involved in building an intranet from scratch. However, there is an alternative and cost-effective solution saving tens and thousands of pounds in networking a business in order to collaborate with staff, departments, remote offices and customers. What is an intranet I hear you say. An intranet is a private space on the web and used in organizations as a central repository for staff, suppliers and customers to access business information and to collaborate more efficiently. They include professional business tools such as; database management, document management, contacts management, tasks management, online calendar and schedules through to discussion forums, online polls and expense reports alongside other applications.

The main problem with building it yourself is the initial costs to obtain necessary hardware and software as well as the intranet application developments can range from 10,000 [pounds sterling] to 50,000. [pounds sterling ] Maintenance, support and upgrade costs are all too unpredictable, uncontrollable and forever ongoing. The advantage of an already hosted intranet is that there is no hardware or software to purchase download or install. All that is required is a computer and internet access.

Another major problem with building it yourself is that you cannot build it overnight.

Average build time from start to finish is about six to nine months and that is if it ever gets finished at all. By some estimates, more than half of all IT projects never even reach completion and let's not forget the well-worn motto of every IT Director, "too many problems with incompatibility and it always takes twice as long as you expected." The advantage of an already hosted solution is that it can be up and running in a matter hours. A concern, which is typically overlooked when building it yourself, is manpower. It requires total long-term commitment and dedication of many experts from IT to software programmers to technical support. All this redirects manpower away from your core business. An already hosted intranet is already designed, built and maintained by intranet experts, which frees up internal resources and allows your business to develop instead.

By building it yourself, applications are often created in a vacuum and do not complement one another or work together smoothly. Absence of seamless integration stifles efficiency and productivity. A disjointed application equals endless and needless frustrations but with an already hosted intranet all the applications are within one integrated suite providing the users with maximum efficiency.

Already hosted intranets takes away the entire burden of long-term operational Success. Long-term operational success demands complex maintenance tasks like application code and data backup, software evaluations and upgrades, bug fixes, security checks, testing, etc. This critical responsibility is yours for the entire life of the intranet, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, if you decide to build it yourself. With an already hosted solution, a business can connect remote users and offices from any location without worrying about VPN (Virtual Private Network) security. It can be accessed from anywhere at any-time.

Useful for networking employees together within a company, running offices within departments, communicating with remote branch offices nationwide and working with suppliers/customers internationally. No matter what business you are in, an already hosted intranet can avoid the normal costs associated with running a business and aid in a company's budget by providing a low cost monthly fee, which is scalable as the business grows, with dedicated expert maintenance, support and upgrades all included. Your office is accessible 24 hours a day and staff can access information even from home, especially if there is a deadline to meet or a project needing completion.
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Title Annotation:IT News
Publication:Database and Network Journal
Date:Apr 1, 2006
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