Product: Beyond Intranet
What is an Intranet and Why Might I Want One?
An intranet is a private computer network used to share part of an organization’s
information or operations with its employees or other trusted partners. An intranet
can be understood as "a private version of the Internet" – a website or
websites, maintained internally, that are only accessible to authorized users. Since
they are administered internally and are created by contributions from any number
of staff, they are fully customizable but some common uses include:
- A repository for Company Policies, Procedures, Forms and Logos
- A shared calendar e.g. for Annual Leave
- A source of news about the organization
- A shared contact list e.g. names and contact details of trustees
- A links database
An intranet has a number of benefits to an organization:
- Productivity: Intranets can help employees quickly find and view information and
applications relevant to their roles.
- Time: With intranets, employees can delve into relevant information when it suits
them rather than being deluged by emails or have to ask others for it.
- Flexibility: intranets can serve as powerful tools for disseminating key information
and applications to users that are geographically remote – outreach offices and
peripatetic workers for example can ‘tap into’ information stored on central servers.
- Intranets allow dispersed ‘corporate knowledge’ such as company handbooks etc. to
be maintained and easily accessed throughout the company. Each department or worker
can update the online copy of a document, thus ensuring that the most recent version
is always available to the rest of the employees.
- Internal Cohesion: Intranets can play a vital role in creating a sense of teamwork
and common purpose amongst a diverse workforce. Intranets often contain news, gossip
and photos as well as bulletin boards and forums which staff can contribute to.
BEYOND Intranet Functionalities
'BEYOND Intranet' is based on the Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) which is an
add-on to Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and 2008 providing a fully functional web
portal with many features. Once you have ‘BEYOND Intranet’ up and running (see below)
and are logged in with the relevant permissions, you can start configuring and adding
1. Document Management
‘BEYOND Intranet’ allows you to create folders known as Document Libraries. These
can contain any document you wish to upload, but do bear in mind that the users
will need the relevant program that understands that kind of document in order to
read them (e.g. Excel for Spreadsheets, Acrobat for PDF’s).
The process of uploading is simple – browse to the Document Library that you want
to upload to and click the ‘upload’ link. This allows you to select any file that
your PC has access to. ‘BEYOND Intranet’ will even keep a note of who uploaded the
document and when it was uploaded. The most recent copy is presented to the user,
but users can also access the previous versions if you set the Library to keep a
Opening documents is also easy – just click on the name of the document and it will
download to your computer. By default, a document will open as ‘read only’.
If you want to edit, delete or rename it, these options are available from the drop
down menu next to the document name. You will need sufficient permissions in order
to perform these tasks.
2. Announcements and Discussions
Most of the features in ‘BEYOND Intranet’ are known as ‘Lists’. ‘BEYOND Intranet’
by default has an ‘Announcements’ List on the home page. This is a useful method
of posting new information to all intranet users. Announcements (as with most items
in ‘BEYOND Intranet’) can be set to automatically expire, and users can set ‘Alerts’
(see below) for any new announcements. Font formatting can also be applied to announcements
using bold, italic, sizing and color through the ‘BEYOND Intranet’ interface.
Discussions are similar to announcements in that they allow Administrators and Contributors
to post topics. Discussions however allow users to respond too. The way users view
Discussions – like most lists - can be changed. For example, they might be ordered
by date, or have the username removed from display so that they are anonymous.
3. Other Types of List
‘BEYOND Intranet’ contains many other types of List. Most have the same set of features
as Announcements and Discussions. In other words, one would expect to be able to
change the view, configure an Alert, apply formatting, set start and expiry dates,
and change permissions.
The most useful Lists include: Calendars; Photo Albums; Helpdesks; Links and Contact
4. Users, Permissions, Alerts
‘BEYOND Intranet’ is governed by a system of users based on Active Directory. Within
‘BEYOND Intranet’, Administrators can ‘invite’ other users to the intranet. This
will send an email to them containing a link to the intranet. Once added, the Administrator
must assign users to one of the following groups: Reader; Contributor; Webmaster
or Administrator. The Webmaster group permits the user to design how and where Lists
appear on the pages. The other groups are fairly self-explanatory. All Permissions
are administered from within ‘BEYOND Intranet’ itself. You do not need to be familiar
with Active Directory to alter them.
Each List has default permissions. Administrators can override these either by ‘group
type’ or individual ‘username’. For example, you may want Jenny Jackson to be able
to post content to your Announcements list, although Jenny is currently set to be
a Reader. You could either:
- Remove her from Reader group and add her to the Contributor group (but this would
alter her permissions for every List, not just Announcements)
- Change the permissions on the Announcements List itself so that Readers can post
(but this would allow all readers to post)
- Change the permissions on the Announcements List so that Contributors and
Jenny Jackson can post to it.
Any user can at any time set an ‘Alert’ on a list. An alert means that they will
be sent an email when the contents of that List change.
‘BEYOND Intranet’ contains some sophisticated methods for ad hoc collaboration
between staff too. ‘Document workspaces’ are areas of the intranet with a
private list of users as well as their own tasks, calendars and contacts. They can
be created from within Office applications like Word and Excel and are automatically
assigned space on the intranet. Other users can be invited to these workspaces to
collaborate on these projects.
6. Remote Access Features
Finally, ‘BEYOND Intranet’ allows links to applications such as Remote Desktop and
Outlook Web Access from any intranet page. If you do use these systems it is highly
convenient to provide users with a single point of entry to them.
7. Events calendar, Scheduler
- Shared personal, Group company calendar
- Overlaid calendar
- Meeting invites
A centralized scheduling system keeps employees informed of company events, companies
informed of partner/client schedules, and members informed of department/team schedules.
Every individual, group, and the company as a whole should have a shared calendar
so that scheduling hassles are made a thing of the past.
The ability to overlay different calendars and see all schedules in a single view,
the ability to send out meeting invites, and reminders are some features a calendaring
system should have.
8. Conference Room Booking System
A centralized conference room booking system can be developed where employee can
reserve a conference room. This can even be created/function as a workflow where
employee can book a slot in the conference room booking calendar and the Administrator/Controller
can confirm their booking. There can be different views like Pending/Approved and
Rejected events/requests for the conference room.
A common survey can be created for employees. Each employee can fill the survey
and the Administrator can view the results in a list or a graphical format.
10. Leave Management
A centralized leave management system can be developed where employees can apply
for leaves to their department head. Once they have applied for the leave, then
their Department Head can approve/reject the leaves. The employee leave details
can also be attached to a calendar where employees can view the calendar which is
having the details of his leaves and also the period.
- Any level of Custom Development can be done on “BEYOND Intranet” to build new
Modules or add functionalities
as per the requirements
- Any custom web part can be created based on the requirement of the organization
- SharePoint is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation. Beyond Key
(www.beyondkey.com) is a Microsoft
Certified Partner and is a dedicated Microsoft technologies based software
BEYOND Intranet – FEATURE LIST with WSS 3.0:
- Sites and Workspaces
- Document Libraries
- Document Workspaces
- Collaborative editing with Microsoft Office integration
- Contact Lists
- Task Lists
- Discussion Boards
- Wikis, including RSS feeds and an WYSIWYG editor
- Image Libraries
- Form Libraries
- Project Tracking (Gantt Charts)
- Issue Tracking
- Link Lists
- Revision Control
- Access Control
- Custom Pages
- Web Part Pages
- Site Navigation
- Backup and Restore
- User Management
- Central Administration web site
The following additional features can also be added:
- Absence Request and Vacation Schedule Management
- Help Desk
- Budgeting and Tracking Multiple Projects
- Inventory Tracking
- Bug Database
- IT Team Workspace
- Call Center
- Job Requisition and Interview Management
- Change Request Management
- Knowledge Base
- Compliance Process Support Site
- Lending Library
- Contacts Management
- Physical Asset Tracking and Management
- Document Library and Review
- Project Tracking Workspace
- Event Planning
- Room and Equipment Reservations
- Expense Reimbursement and Approval Site
- Sales Lead Pipeline
- Board of Directors
- Employee Training Scheduling and Materials
- Business Performance Rating
- Equity Research
- Case Management for Government Agencies
- Integrated Marketing Campaign Tracking
- Classroom Management
- Manufacturing Process Management
- Clinical Trial Initiation and Management
- New Store Opening
- Competitive Analysis Site
- Product and Marketing Requirements Planning
- Discussion Database
- Request for Proposal
- Disputed Invoice Management
- Sports League
- Employee Activities Site
- Team Work Site
- Employee Self-Service Benefits
- Timecard Management
Prerequisites for the INSTALLATION of 'BEYOND Intranet'
- Windows Server 2003 with SP1 or later/Windows Server 2008 OS Installed
- IIS with ASP.NET support.
- Net Framework 2.0
- Net Framework 3.0 containing Windows Workflow Foundation
- ASP.NET v2.0 should be set to ‘Allow’ in the list of IIS web server extensions
- SQL Server 2005 installed and configured (If you do not wish to use SQL Express
which comes with the WSS install by default)
- Windows Share Point services 3.0
- Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)