Intranets and Extranets

Intranets and Extranets
From Vision to Fulfillment
Third Edition
Elias M. Awad
© 2007 Prentice-Hall, Inc
The focus of this chapter is on
several learning objectives
• The concept, strategic significance, and technical
infrastructure of intranets
• How to plan for and install an intranet in the
• The many issues, uses, and abuse of e-mail via a
company’s intranet
• A company’s extranet and how it links with its
partners and vendors through SCM
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What Is an Intranet?
• An intranet delivers collaboration and coordination
to employees around the clock
– Communication system designed by technical staff
– A network of people, not of wired machines
– Focus is the message, not the media
• An organization-wide software and information
distribution system that applies Internet technology
and standards to a closed network within the
• Normally runs in a client/server environment and a
local area network configuration
• Separated from other networks by firewalls, a
means of preventing unauthorized access to the
company’s internal
data or leaks of sensitive
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company information
Strategic Significance
• A cost-effective way of distributing information
throughout an organization
• Links employees and managers around the clock
and automates a lot of intraorganizational traffic
• Makes it possible for a company to gain better
access to its primary resource - the knowledge
and experience of decision makers
• Enables easier integration of processes
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Applications - Human Resources
• Employee handbook
• Benefits information
• Employee surveys
• Internal/external recruiting
• Candidate screening
• Organization charts
• Newsletters
• Company calendar
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Applications - Sales and Marketing
• Product information
• Market research
• Prospecting
• Managing sales contacts
• Sales training
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Applications - Accounting and Finance
• Financial reports
• Expense reports
• Accounts receivable/payable processing
• Asset management
• Policies and procedures
• Payroll
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Applications - Manufacturing and Operations
• Inventory control
• Production schedules
• Quality assurance
• Part order/requisition system
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Other Applications for Intranets
• Real-time broadcasting of news, including
medical information.
• Document management to minimize unnecessary
paperwork and waste of paper.
• Customized application modules like a travel or
document library.
• Complete e-mail for interoffice and intraoffice
• Internal company office circulars can be routed
• Bulletin board service.
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Other Applications for Intranets
• Real-time chat service that electronically logs all data for
record keeping.
• Complete company staff, operations, and organizational
chart directories.
• Channel for confidential exchange of data for electronic
funds transfers (EFTs) and checks.
• A daily to-do list and assignments from a central desk to all
connected desks.
• Foreign news and financial data broadcasting (running
ticker) from direct feeds.
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Does Every Company Need an
• A company needs an intranet for the following reasons:
– When it has a large pool of information to share
among hundreds of employees
– Intranets are cheap, robust, and fast. Any
employee with access to an intranet can
disseminate and publish information
– Intranets operate across platforms
– Information is available 24/7 to all employees at the
click of a mouse
– Information available on an intranet can be updated
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Client/Server Basics
• Client/server architecture is a versatile, messagebased, modular infrastructure intended to improve
usability, flexibility, interoperability, and scalability
as compared to centralized, mainframe, timesharing computing
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Intranet Design and Implementation
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Types of Client/Server
Two-Tier Architecture
• Components
– User system interface
– Processing management
– Database management
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Types of Client/Server
Two-Tier Architecture (cont’d)
• Limitations associated with two-tier model
– When the number of users grows, performance
– Implementation of processing management
services using vendor proprietary database
procedures restricts flexibility
– There is limited flexibility in moving program
functionality from one server to another
without manually regenerating procedural code
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Two-tier Client/Server Architecture
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Types of Client/Server
Three-Tier Architecture
• Middle tier is sandwiched between the user
system interface client environment and the
database management server environment
• Middle tier manages distributed database integrity
in a two-phase process
• Third tier provides database management and is
dedicated to data and file services
• Allows different tiers to be developed in different
• Improves performance for groups with a large
number of users
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Three-tier Server Architecture Design
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Technologies that Enable Intranets
• Server PC
• Network File System (NFS)
• Client PC
• Internet Relay Chat (IRC)
• Web Server
• HTML authoring tools
• Browser
• Hypertext Markup
Language (HTML)
• TCP/IP electronic mail
• Graphic and multimedia
• Portable electronic
document (PED)
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Using Firewalls
• Intranets can be protected from unauthorized access via
• A firewall is a hardware/software security system that can
be programmed to prevent unauthorized access to a
company’s intranet or the Internet
• Two primary types of firewalls:
– Proxy is a go-between agent that acts on behalf of
– A packet filter checks each packet at the network level
and stops any packets that might be a security risk
• Intranet security, properly designed by knowledgeable users
and administrators, can ensure that the system is run
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Planning an Intranet
• Plan ahead
• Provide justification
• Build in-house or outsource
• Form an intranet team
• Build and test a prototype
• Ensure effective maintenence
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E-mail and the Intranet
• E-mail is what intranets are best known for
• Over 200 million in-boxes are active worldwide
• E-mail is becoming smarter: It now can direct
specific messages to defined folders and be a place
to check voice, text, and fax messages
• Intranets inherit Simple Mail Transport Protocol
(SMTP) from the TCP/IP suite to operate e-mail
• E-mail is a potential threat for employers
Confidentiality breaches
Legal liability
Lost productivity
Damage to company reputation
• Important for a firm to create an e-mail usage policy
and make sure the policy is actually implemented
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Spamming and Appropriate E-mail
• Spamming is sending unwanted advertisements
or literature through e-mail or the Internet
• Companies have been overwhelmed by e-mail
traffic, and spam is out of control
• Spot checks are no longer adequate
• Trend is more toward systematic monitoring of email traffic using content-monitoring software
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Spamming and Appropriate E-mail Use
• Spamming is nearly impossible to eliminate, but
solutions exist:
– Blacklist the sender; obtain a spammer’s
address and block any e-mail from that address
– Accept e-mail only from a list of approved
– Look for signs of spam
– Use anti-spam software
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Personal Guidelines to Avoid
• Stop giving away your e-mail address
• Do not “unsubscribe,” it only confirms your e-mail address
is real
• Write to the Direct Marketing Association and credit bureaus
• Contact your credit card companies, credit union, and
mortgage companies and tell them not to release your
name, address and similar data
• Contact all organizations you belong to, schools, magazines
you subscribe to, airline frequent flyer programs, your longdistance telephone carrier, and just about anyone who
sends you a bill
• As a last resort, contact your phone company and change
your listing in the phone book, or simply list your name with
no address
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E-mail and Privacy
• Companies have been wrestling with the issue of
privacy versus liability for employee’s e-mail
• Firms must have a company policy that addresses
privacy. Such a policy should state in writing:
– That the company’s intranet and the networks that carry
e-mail are company property, to be used for business
purposes only
– A clear definition of what is and what is not appropriate
– A clear message to all employees that e-mail of any kind
cannot be private and that all e-mail may be monitored at
any time
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E-mail Etiquette
• Sending an e-mail message to someone is one-to-one
communication as if face-to-face
• E-mail etiquette mistakes to avoid:
Do not write when you’re in a bad mood or angry
Read what you write carefully
Do not use sarcasm in an attempt to be clever
Stay away from using all uppercase
Place the nature of the message in the subject line
Write short e-mails, normally less than two paragraphs
Think before you send
Watch your grammar, spelling, and vernacular
Remember to send your attachment when you say you
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Blogging Practices
• Four major motivators for blogging:
– Maintaining community forums
– Articulating ideas through writing
– Airing out pent-up emotions
– Documenting one’s life
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Instant Messaging
• Sometimes the rapid response of e-mail is not fast
• Instant messaging (IM) is one alternative medium
• IM is an electronic communication system that
involves immediate correspondence between two
or more users who are all online simultaneously
© 2007 Prentice-Hall, Inc
Extranets and SCM
• Intranets are localized within a firm and move data
quicker than the more widely distributed extranets
• Extranets are already the backbone of the ebusiness future
• Extranet designers at each participating company
must collaborate to make sure there is a common
interface with the company they are dealing with
• The overall connectivity represents supply chain
• Extranet-SCM and Enterprise Resource Planning
– ERP facilitates integration of company-wide information
systems with the potential to go across companies
– The Internet allows linking the Web sites to back-end
systems like ERP, offering connections to a host of
external parties
like vendors and suppliers
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Basic Extranet Layout
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Key Considerations for Extranet
• Identify the user(s).
• List the technology components.
• Specify the security requirements.
• Discuss the administration of the extranet.
• Understand the functions of the extranet.
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Extranets and ERP
• Management support of extranets are changing how
organizations share internal resources and interact
with the outside business world
• The entire commitment should be viewed as a
knowledge management asset
• A “champion” represents management support. This
person is:
– An advocate with the ability to build company-wide
– Sells top management on the potential of the technology.
– Demonstrates how an extranet can help the company
meet its revenue goals.
• Extranets can be used to manage applications and tie
applications into one integrated system for deriving
real value
© 2007 Prentice-Hall, Inc
Management Implications
• Intranets are tools to manage corporate
• Change is closely related to employee
satisfaction, and the effect of the intranet on the
way employees do their jobs is important
• Another management implication is the strategy
for recruiting qualified technical personnel
© 2007 Prentice-Hall, Inc
Chapter Summary
• An intranet is a network connecting a set of
company clients using standard Internet
• Benefits of intranets include linking employees
and managers around the clock; companies gain
access to their primary resources; and it is the
foundation for developing an enterprise-wide
information system
• The two types of client/server architecture are
two-tier architecture and three-tier architecture
• Intranets can be protected from unauthorized
access via firewalls
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Chapter Summary (Cont’d)
• Planning an intranet is a six-step procedure
• E-mail is getting smarter
• An alternative to e-mail is instant messaging
• An extranet links two or more trading partners
• Intranets are tools to manage corporate
© 2007 Prentice-Hall, Inc