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Intranets and Groupware: Effective Communications for the Enterprise

Intranets and Groupware: Effective Communications for the Enterprise

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This 242-page CTR report focuses on the collaborative computing and groupware applications from which enterprises may benefit most through intranet implementation. The report also discusses new tools and products designed by hardware and software vendorsto make the shift to intranet technology a reality.

Intranet Implementation Concerns

In the era of the interactive enterprise and the virtual organization, groupware technologies are critical in establishing effective communication between workgroups and enterprises. Lessons learned from the Internet and the Web are now being applied to private corporate intranets. Companies are rushing to apply Web technology internally as an effective alternative or addition to their groupware infrastructures.

CTR's report, Intranets and Groupware: Effective Communications for the Enterprise, focuses on several important issues that corporate information systems (IS) managers must keep in mind when planning, developing, and implementing corporate intranets. These issues include the advantages of private networks, their higher bandwidth capabilities, special security measures, and the limitations of intranets as groupware infrastructures.

Intranet Origins Explained

The phenomenal growth of internal corporate networks based on open intranet Web standards is revolutionizing the modern interactive enterprise. CTR's Intranets and Groupware: Effective Communications for the Enterprise report provides a step-by-step discussion of the intranet concept and its natural development from the public Internet. It explains the reasons for the introduction of Web technologies into internal corporate networks, such as the availability of basic server and client software at very low cost or even free of charge, and the capabilities of transmission control protocol/Internet protocol (TCP/IP) as an open standard.

Collaborative Groupware Solutions Examined

The multiple network and systems protocols of groupware collaborative computing can present a great challenge to management.

Intranets and Groupware: Effective Communications for the Enterprise examines intranets and associated products as infrastructures for collaborative workgroup solutions in a corporation. It compares traditional groupware products based on proprietary protocols with intranet groupware solutions.

The report discusses how intranets offer cost and ease-of-use advantages for groupware applications. The report also addresses intranet disadvantages such as a lack of database integration, inadequate data replication on Web servers, and security concerns.

Lotus Notes, the leading proprietary groupware system, is examined closely and compared with competing products and intranet solutions.

Intranet Conferencing Explored

Intranet conferencing is in its infancy, but there are numerous vendors developing more powerful compression products to improve its capabilities and facilitate its growth.

Intranets and Groupware: Effective Communications for the Enterprise considers intranet conferencing in several forms including videomail, videotelephony, and videoconferencing with all the attendant application sharing and whiteboarding features. The report discusses the problems inherent in transmission of real-time interactive multimedia content over existing local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and telephone lines and the resulting limitations on transmission over intranets.

The report also examines an array of new videoconferencing hardware and software products that are being designed to take advantage of the Internet and intranet infrastructures.

Critical Features of Web Servers and Browsers Outlined

The Web server is the key element of the Internet or any intranet. The report emphasizesthis concept, discussing Web server categories and Web site development. The report provides the network manager with specific information about the most desirable Web server characteristics including the most recent hypertext markup language (HTML) version support, database access and integration, security features at various levels, and intranet traffic management.

The report also covers intranet clients, also known as Web browsers, and their market implications. Critical features of a Web browsersuch as display compatibility, navigability, caching capability, ease-of-use, and security options are outlined.

How Important is Intranet Security?

Intranet security is a major issue with corporate networks of any type. Intranets and Groupware: Effective Communications for the Enterprise covers this subject in detail. The Internet is generally insecure and any point of contact with internal corporate networks, whether intranets or a conventional LAN, must be protected from unauthorized access by hackers or industrial spies. This is accomplished through the use of firewalls which can vary in the level of protection depending on their type and location.

The report provides an overview of the packet filtering, proxy service, and network address translators as firewalls, and their relative advantages and shortcomings.

Intranet Case Studies

The report presents more than 24 in-depth case studies of intranet implementation. These are representative corporations that have implemented intranets in various industries including aerospace, automotive, computers, electronics, entertainment, financial services, food industry, health care, management consulting, and pharmaceuticals.