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What is an Intranet? The Purpose and Key Features of Intranet Technology

06 Jun 2014

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It’s such a commonly used term that one might not often stop to think about it from an objective point of view. But what is an intranet system at its very core – and how does it fit into the internet ecosystem?

Intranet
n – A private network used to facilitate the connection, collaboration, engagement and communication of an organisation.

The purpose of an intranet system

What is the purpose of an intranet? Realistically, intranet meaning or purpose can’t be summed up in a few short sentences. That’s because while an intranet is a software solution, it’s also a broad net of features, an invaluable daily tool and the glue that keeps an organisation connected and collaborating. An effective intranet can simultaneously cut admin time, minimise costs and boost productivity. Powerful stuff indeed.

Key features & functions of an intranet system

Intranet technology can encompass the following features, amongst others:

  • Document management
  • Smart internal search
  • Project and/or team based workspaces
  • Forums and social features
  • Events management
  • Forms and workflows
  • Staff directory
  • Mobile and cloud-based access
  • Third party and software integration
  • And if required, a content management system or CMS for your website.

Where intranet technology and the internet meet

A content management system helps you to manage and create content for a website, whether that be internally for your intranet, externally for your brand’s web presence or both with a portal. If you are maintaining both an intranet and a website, it can make a lot of sense to manage both using the same CMS. The advantages of doing so can include: 

  • Effortless data management
    With the right CMS, you can post information just once and set access permissions to determine whether it can be viewed internally, publicly or both.
  • Easy updates
    The right CMS can make it exceptionally simple for your staff to post regular updates and fresh content, for both customers and team members to read.
  • Connected workflows and forms
    For example, if a form is completed by a customer on your website it can immediately be diverted to the appropriate staff member to take action on.
  • Portals
    If you require a portal for your organisation, you can also easily manage a log-in section for customers, clients, contractors, suppliers or others so you can communicate with these parties.

An integrated internet and intranet CMS allows you to manage information, both internally and externally, in a consistent and intuitive way. In certain cases the intranet is deployed as a sub-site of the website, allowing you to significantly reduce the costs that would otherwise apply if you were using two disparate systems.

Introducing The Elcom Platform

Maintaining a website and intranet with constantly changing content can be a daunting prospect and that is why Elcom Technology has developed The Elcom Platform. Elcom is a secure, versatile and easy-to-use software solution that enables easy internet and intranet maintenance by streamlining document management, publishing and archiving. It facilitates online collaboration and enables efficient task completion.

Elcom is a leading-edge solution which enables organisations like yours to take full control of their internet presence because users can quickly and easily maintain dynamic content using a browser based administration tool.

The Elcom Platform
n – a tool for easily and cost-effectively taking advantage of the opportunities, and managing and meeting, the challenges posed by the internet by facilitating secure, dynamic communications and e-commerce.

Let’s say you’re looking to better connect an expansive workforce across Australia, and you also want to maintain a polished and optimally designed website presence. By working with Elcom to develop a customised intranet system and website design, you could manage both of these systems with ease.

5 ways that Elcom supercharges your website and intranet system

Here are some of the most powerful ways that Elcom and its web CMS capabilities can benefit your business:

Streamline content management across sites

The beauty of a web CMS is that at its core it enables you to manage and deliver content online, and that can take many different forms. While these solutions look different and are built for different end users, they all share common functionality such as content publishing, document management, image management, forms and workflows, security and group permissions, search functionality and more.

Why is this beneficial over choosing a platform that can only build one type of solution?

  • Simplify site administration
  • Easier for publishers and for trainers to train publishers
  • Economies of scale from deploying sites from one platform
  • Deliver great experiences to internal and external stakeholders, from staff and suppliers to customers and members, from one platform.

Country Fire Authority (CFA) implemented a new public website, News & Media website and members intranet on the Elcom Platform. Using one CMS enables them to streamline the management of the three separate sites and empowers CFA to continually improve each site internally. The team is able to maintain its position as a trusted and reliable source of information, helping to deliver dynamic digital experiences to CFA members and the general community.

Optimise your internal processes

Improved intranet technology, workflow and processes can have positive effects for both your staff and customers. Staff members can quickly find the information or colleague profile they’re looking for and get back to the job at hand, cutting out hours of unnecessary admin trawling through emails. There are no more double-ups in information, because built-in version control has that handled. Your team becomes more collaborative and connected, and because your website is effectively managed customer service also becomes a more positive process for everyone.

Capture market share

If your organisation wants to capture emerging markets you need to be able to respond to new challenges and consumer demands easily and rapidly. Elcom enables you to do this because it puts you in full control of your website content by automating document approval workflows and archiving. Your opposition is only a click away, so capturing relevant information on your customers and clients as they view your products and services is crucial to the interaction between your business and your customers. Elcom allows you to track the usage of logged-in users and view reports on which folders and which articles have been accessed.

Take charge of your web content

Successful websites are well-organised and maintain up-to-date, original content that is valuable and interesting to visitors. They share information that is useful to their visitors by employing news sections and newsletter subscription and they also allow users to login and customise the site to suit their needs. In addition to enabling your staff to easily create and maintain web content using a browser-based WYSIWYG content editor, Elcom allows them to create newsletters and email them to individual or group subscribers and to track how many are read and how often. It also allows for user login and site personalisation.

Reduce reliance on IT staff

The best websites are easy to navigate and lead visitors from one point to another along a direct and logical path so they know where they are at all times. Elcom automatically creates a breadcrumb trail as well as automatically generating a site map to assist with the navigation process.

 Elcom offers you multi-site functionality and connectivity from a variety of user interfaces. This means that webmasters or IT staff no longer need to be directly involved, thus giving your organisation the control to do business the way you need to.

Getting started with better website & intranet technology

  • Do you want one platform that can power your website, intranet and portal?
  • Do you want a website that is dynamic and easy to maintain?
  • Do you need an efficient and secure means of managing web and intranet content?
  • Do your employees need an easy-to-use, content editor?
  • Would you like to manage online sales efficiently and in a secure fashion?
  • Is it important to you to give your website visitors what they want and to keep them informed of new products or services by using opt-in newsletters?

Elcom can fulfil all of these requirements and more. What’s more, as your company’s internet usage increases and your website needs grow, Elcom Technology can integrate other modules from its suite of business tools to assist you to leverage off your web investment.

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