Define Intranet and Extranet – Concepts and Applications
As we have already seen about Intranets, which are networks which connect the computers and devices within an organization, without any barriers of location. These Intranets are built so that everyone the Intranet will be able to have current Information about the company’s Status, apart from carrying on day to day activities, and facilitating communication between the employees of the organization for various collaborative efforts.
The Intranets are used by most of the organizations to create a total paperless office environment and automation of office work to a great extent, which is time and cost savings solution.
Applications to Intranet
Most of the organizations which are technology based and have the “will” to keep in pace with the modern world, have the most sophisticated and widespread Intranets. These Intranets help the employees to retrieve data, use collaborative tools, communicating with other employees etc. Thus, Intranets have now become indispensable like telephones.
Intranet is composed of all the Hardware and Computersrequired to setup a network, which is usually based on TCP/IP architecture. On the other front.
Intranet has data, various software tools for security as well as Development Of Intranet Applications, search engines, servers for various applications. Browsers for interface etc.
The data is mostly stored and maintained in the hypermedia format, using HTML and other tools. Let us look at some of the Intranet servers which are implement and their functions:
Enterprise Server: This server is used for the management and publishing of various content, which makes up the intranet data store. This server is also responsible for execution of online applications, which are the foundations of an Intranet.
Mail Server: This server is used for providing, users of the electronic mail facility across the intranet as well as Internet.
Proxy Server: This server is used as a filter and is one of the security measures. This server provides security by filtering the content, thereby improving performance, efficiency of the intranet as well as providing control over the content.
Directory Server: This provides the users of Intranet, the universal directory services for the management of users, controlling the across as well as the information for server configuration.
News Server: This server is used to transmit the news, announcements and other data to the users on Intranet, as well facilitating secure team collaboration and information sharing.
Certificate Server: This server is used for managing the security through the use of encryptions by issuing and managing Authentication Certificates for the encryption certificated, thereby providing secure intranet.
Catalog Server: This server is used for maintain the indexes of all the contents on the Intranet. This server provides the basic facilities of indexing searching, browsing of all the content on the Intranet.
Thus the Intranet, with all its software, hardware components make it a very powerful tool for connecting the employees of the organization.
Applications, benefits and limitations of Intranet
The Intranet provides the organization implementing it with lot f benefits, which includes vast saving on the part of printing and publishing, making a paperless office, easy and a better way for communications, enhancing the productivity by faster access to the information, facilitating collaboration Enterprise wide etc.
As every coin has two sides, so is the internet, along with benefits, it has limitations too, like one has to provide every employs a PC which is very difficult. It is an evolving technology so it has constraints, it lacks security features. It is very difficult to maintain the contents over a large period of time, as well the animations, video’s etc., are very slow.
Definition of Extranet
These are those networks which link Intranets of two organizations, which do collaborate on certain aspect or they are business partners etc. Most of the Extranets are Private Networks or some use Internet of connects intranets.
Enterprise Collaboration Systems
As we are now living in a competitive and ever changing complex world, to survive and to keep in pace with the changing world we need to have all the strength, skills etc. Which make us competent?
These skill set may not be with single individual, group or an enterprise, but to achene the objective, we need to work as a group, collaborating our skills and talents, which pools up the individual skills, and will make a competent and competitive enterprise.
Enterprise collaboration systems are those which capable people to work more efficiency, effectively and easily. These systems help people in the organization, outside the organization, without barriers of locations to communicate, co-ordinate and collaborate, using Intranet, Extranet and Internet, for achieving the goals.
The basic goal of these systems is to enable work groups and teams to work together in collaboration, so that they get the benefit of varied skills, thoughts, ideas etc. from different people. With use of Internet and other networks, people who are a part of team may or may not be at same location, they may be a part of virtual team, who are connected using various Communication Networks.
What is Groupware Server?
Most of the Enterprise collaboration systems use groupware, software which enables people to work in collaboration, to achieve joint objectives group assignments etc. The groupware comes along with various tools like E-mails, documents sharing, contract management etc. Lotus notes, Novell group wise, Netscape communicator, Microsoft Exchange etc. are the most widely used groupware, which support collaboration through E-mail, data conferencing, video conferencing, audio conferencing etc.
Components of Groupware
Groupware comes with various tools functionalities, which help collaborations among the teams. The various tools which usually come along with the groupware are as follows:
E-mail: E-maim the Electronic mail, is very powerful tool for electronic communications tools, which enables to send messages, data etc, electronically. Using E-mail, ne can easily and in a efficient manner communicate and build relationships for businesses purposes. E-mail us a faster, cheaper and efficient way for communicate within Intranet, Extranet or Internet.
Electronic-Conferencing: These are the tools, which help people in collaboration and communication while working in groups. These tools enable members of team who are at different geographic locations to exchange ideas interactively, communicate at their convenience. Tele conferring, data and voice conferencing. Video conferring, E-meeting systems etc. are some of the conferring tools, widely used.
Tele Conferencing: This is an important tool of E-conferencing, being televised, which may be at remote places. They can only take part in voice input of questions and responses. This usually uses closed-circuit television for reaching multiple groups, rather than broadcasts. This technology is used in sales meetings announcements, Education and Trainingetc. The teleconferencing is costly tool as the cost is very high.
One can even desk top video conferencing, where there is interactive to collaborate, for accomplishing structured works tasks, which are a part of business process. Most of the work flow systems are based on rules, which govern the flow of tasks and information through business documents.
These work flow systems help in the management of tasks and group decision making, which involves the group of people to give final touches to any tasks. In work flow systems, electronic forms are created, which are routed in the hierarchy of flow of work, which is essential for the document to take an authentic value and stand. This work flow can be done through image Management Databases or through E-mails for routing the document along the route predetermined for work flow.
For example if a purchase order has to be sanctioned, it has to flow through various people who look into validity, authenticity, need as well as other matters, before sanctioning the order, therefore this document has to flow through the network to these decision makers, before actually becoming a valid purchase order.
Thus the Intranets, Extranets and Internet to achieve Enterprise collaboration by using groupware tools, which facilitate team, work. The current data requisition for effective and efficient decision making as well as practices. These groupware’s do help the organization’s in many areas right from communications to collaborations, with the help of various software tools like E-mail voice mails, Discussion forums, chat systems, calendaring and scheduling, document sharing, knowledge management, project management, task management etc.
Thus Internet, Extranet and Internet play a great role in the business, by enhancing the value, saving money and providing an ability to compete with use of technology, where one can completely automate offices, where the paper work is almost eliminated, thereby helping environment too by reducing pollution and having better, Faster Methods of Communication.