Need to Set up and Intranet or Extranet? Here are Your Options

Rick Mosenkis
 


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Setting up an intranet or extranet can be as easy as purchasing access through an application service provider (ASP), purchasing and installing third-party software, or building an extranet or intranet internally.

Here is a quick summary of the advantages and disadvantages of each approach:


1. Building it yourself

Advantages:

  • Complete control of user interface design
  • Ability to customize level of functionality for each client
  • Integration into internal systems
  • Direct access to user activity

Disadvantages:

  • High up-front development cost
  • Requires staff expertise in the development of intranets and extranets
  • Commitment of internal staff for 6 months to a year for planning, execution, review and implementation
  • An ongoing commitment of internal staff for internal and client support, hosting, maintenance and upgrades

2. Purchasing/installing third-party software

Advantages:

  • Proven track-record of packaged solution
  • Ability to choose functions and to customize user interface
  • More rapid implementation compared to building it yourself

Disadvantages:
  • High up-front purchase cost
  • Commitment of internal staff for customization and implementation
  • Ongoing commitment of internal staff for internal and client support, hosting, maintenance and upgrades
  • Extensive internal and client training

3. Using a Service Provider (ASP)

Advantages:

  • Proven track-record, often with expertise in the application of intranets and extranets in particular industries
  • Low cost of entry and predictable cost over time
  • Virtually immediate implementation
  • No commitment of internal staff for internal and client support, hosting, or maintenance
  • Upgrades at no cost by extranet experts
  • Savings on internal server use

Disadvantages:
  • Less freedom in user interface design
  • Fixed functionality

In the final analysis…

The approach you choose depends on how you work, the technical and financial resources at your disposal, and how rapidly you need to move forward.

Rick Mosenkis is the President and CEO of Trichys, the creators of WorkZone hosted intranet and extranet software. With customers around the world, among large and small companies, Trichys develops easy-to-use web-based software that allows non-technical business professionals to leverage the power of the Internet without IT support.

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