Intranet Scope & Planning Study
Although an Intranet is no more than an application of Internet technology to internal networks, the scope for Intranet implementation is extremely wide. Many users lack the experience and expertise necessary to cut through the vendors' marketing hype and identify the real opportunities.
The GBdirect Intranet Scope and Planning Study is intended to ensure that organisations evaluate use of Intranet based on a full understanding of the technologies and techniques and a strategic view of the business opportunities and risks.
Intranet is rapidly emerging as the in way to implement information systems and business applications. The marriage of hypertext linking and Web servers with more traditional user interface and application construction techniques allows the creation of powerful on-line information systems.
Increasingly, Intranet tools are used to implement applications that would previously have been built using GUI/forms based 4GLs. The Web browser is replacing a bespoke user interface application and HTML/HTTP together with Web server tools are replacing components of the business system itself. Integration with databases and application transaction components is covered by a wide variety of tools and techniques. Web-specific 4GLs enable construction of programs which implement business logic and dynamic creation of HTML pages. Advanced technologies (such as Java) allow creation of sophisticated client/server applications.
Examples of typical Intranet applications include:
- Information services (e.g. company handbook, holiday booking, news letters, supplies requisition, bulletin board, ...)
- Document management (publication and retrieval)
- Helpdesk or customer service
- Key business applications
- Sales and tele-marketing support
The power of electronic mail (email) must not be forgotten in the euphoria of Web applications. Email can dramatically improve the speed and effectiveness of internal communications. Email is an ideal replacement for the bulk of intra-office memos and eliminates the telephone tag syndrome for non-urgent communication.
The most frequent questions asked are "which of our IT needs are appropriate for application of Intranet?" and "where do we start?". It is difficult for many organisations to evaluate a radical approach whilst ensuring continued support for business as usual applications.
GBdirect strongly recommends a pilot project for any organisation new to use of Intranet techniques. This is an essential activity for refining requirements and selecting or developing the tools and management processes necessary to create an Intranet facility matching your needs. Our approach is to work with you to develop pilot project goals and objectives; a phased implementation allows for maximum staff buy-in and early evaluation of results. The pilot project should cover a useful application, but be deployed in a non-mission critical area; 20-30 is a realistic user population to allow review of results and user experience.
The sequence of events for pilot implementation covers:
- Workshop for all staff involved in the project (management, developers and users) to ensure a common level of knowledge and explore pilot project scope and timescales
- Creation of pilot design document and outline implementation plan
- Tool/product evaluation and selection
- Detailed planning for pilot construction and deployment
- Construction of components of pilot project
- Pilot roll-out (infrastructure, application installation and user-training)
- Evaluate feedback and refine requirements
Often a pilot project can be implemented without purchase of additional computer hardware - you probably already have the LAN, PCs and appropriate server hardware.
GBdirect recognises the problems faced by modern businesses working in a competitive environment. Our staff have many years experience of management, analysis, training and providing advisory services. Based on our business experience plus our core expertise in the use of Intranet technologies for business purposes, we offer a two-part package to enable organisations to make effective decisions on how to exploit Intranet applications.
A half-day strategic briefing session for staff drawn from the key business areas, followed by a half-day scoping workshop and an analysis and report-writing stage. The workshop will examine upgrade plans for existing systems and new application requirements with a view to mapping them on to Intranet techniques. The result will be a report suitable for presentation to the Board or senior management containing conclusions, recommendations and, where appropriate, cost estimates. This phase involves four days' work by a senior consultant.
Dependent on the outcome of part one (which might recommend doing nothing), part two comprises a pilot project design and planning study. Project scope and requirements will be based on analysis of existing strategy and business requirements documents plus interviews with key staff. The deliverables will be a design document and implementation plan together with product recommendations. This phase involves an estimated five days' work by a senior consultant.
Part one is available for a fixed price of £3150 ex V.A.T. Part two, if appropriate, costs a further £3800 ex V.A.T. For further information, please call GBdirect on 0870 200 7273.