RealTime IT News

Intranets Contribute Greatly to Companies

An intranet expert at one of the world's leading computer makers says companies that embrace intranets not only enjoy the benefits of better organization and a better informed work force, but also stand to see significant cost savings.

Speaking Friday at Internet World Canada '99, Fred Isbell, intranet marketing manager for Compaq Computer Corp. said a successful intranet implementation will bring increased productivity, improve the flow of information and improve collaboration between an organization's different units.

"Intranets give you the ability to leverage the Internet for internal publishing. Being able to use the browser as the interface also means you can do it at a lower cost," he said.

Isbell said intranets are fast becoming the main method of information deployment across organizations both large and small. One of the reasons are estimates that show companies can recoup intranet investments in as little as 1.5 months. Although research studies have produced varying returns on investment, even the most conservative estimates put returns at between 35 and 40 percent. By 2001, International Data Corp. estimates there will be 133 million intranet users worldwide.

Currently, the top three uses for intranets are information sharing, information publishing and e-mail. Document management is also a growing area, particularly in organizations that have employees worldwide or diverse units that often need to share information, he said.

"Intranets give you the advantage of rapid deployment and being able to morph and change applications very quickly," he said.

Isbell said there is an ongoing shift that has seen organizations move from first-generations intranets, which were largely experimental efforts, to intranets that play a key role in a business' strategic goals. He likens a successful intranet to a window into an organization's database.

"There needs to be a shift towards a framework so people can find the information they need. The intranet is that window," he said.

Isbell also encourages companies to examine ways intranets can save money. One success story, he said, was Compaq's intranet-based procurement system that has reduced the purchasing cycle from eight to three days. It has also cut the cost of processing purchase orders from $144 with paper to $15 on the Web.