Start thinking ‘privately’: Launch an Intranet!

Posted by Clint Reeves

So you think your one-person operation or SMB is too small to kick-start an intranet? Think again!

Web designers, web developers and small business owners including architects, accountants, lawyers and medical practices can all benefit from a private internal network that allows both your employees (and customers) to share, post and download files relating to your revenue system.

An intranet is defined as an internal network that is exclusive to only one organization. It bears many similarities to a website, which by the way is technically known as an ‘extranet’.

Some advanced extranets include Facebook and LinkedIn, which feature sophisticated login / registration systems and the ability to post user generated content that can be made public or private.

However, bigger companies like IBM, BMW and Sears all use powerful intranets behind the scenes to help coordinate their staff, projects and planning. These fall within the private domain and allow big companies to scale quickly without relying on millions of phone calls or using email threads to progress new projects.

But, don’t think because your SMALL or because you consume cheap shared hosting to drive your public website that an Intranet will be of no benefit to you.? You do not need 1,000 employees to implement an intranet.

As you grow, you probably find yourself being overwhelmed by emails, phone calls, ideas, problem solving and a number of daily operational challenges.

You can filter these areas into an intranet right now using a few tools like Yammer (free) or Microsoft SharePoint… Both offer collaboration tools that allow you to create users, upload files, post comments, bookmark threads and collaborate on new projects.

They even have built in calendars, which can be shared and viewed, from a web browser. Other examples include Google Docs that feature additional items such as spreadsheets and image galleries.

Also think about putting vacation forms into intranets help plan for employee downtime. Consider uploading PowerPoint presentations to share amongst staff that may be spread across multiple locations. This will also ultimately save space on staff hard drives.

Intranets, just like websites, can make a SMALL company look BIG. They also give you the power to scale and deal with daily operational challenges

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