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Audience Participation Time

Okay, I'm of the opinion that what this company needs is an Intranet. We have a good few databases, and lots of documents, and it would be useful to have them all accessible by some common method, rather than just going to the relevant directory on the network. Here are my Pro's and Con's (with my arguments in italics):


Creates a clear distinction between read-only and full-access for files - everybody will be able to view the relevant company documents, but will not be in an environment where they can edit them. To do that, they can open the relevant file on the network drive. Confusion over who has what permissions is eliminated.

It will enable easier retrieval of documents based on context. There could be a page on the intranet dedicated to each instrument, and all the relevant manuals, images etc. can be linked to from that page. Hyperlinks allow the same content to be linked to from multiple pages, thus meaning that only one file is required, but it can be used in many contexts.

Will allow a better interface with the databases through web forms and alerts, which will enable employees to quickly query the database for specific information from any PC with relative ease. Dedicated pages for each department will be able to relay all the relevant data without the users needing to do anything.

Creates a standard platform across the network, standardising all the procedures and techniques regarding data retrieval.

Gives the company data a clearly defined structure, and allows context-sensitive display of information.


Will require maintenance
Not too much though, I can automate most of it I think

It would be a new system to learn and for which people may need a little training
This system can run in parallel to the current one for as long as is necessary, allowing for a smooth change-over only when everybody feels comfortable with it. Additionally, it would use the windows GUI, which people are already familiar with.

If anybody can think of any others (in either category), let me know please - I'd really like to be able to present the relevant people with as much information as I can as soon as possible.

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whatever ticks your tock, boyo. looks fine to me. ooh, and i replied to your thingy on my politics forum. go peek!

Just been to look - agreed on all points, so I didn't bother replying :o)

woah.. you are bored ;)

looks good though.. good luck with it.
I can't think of anything else to add.. which is probably a bad thing..

This is like Computing revision for me..


James I have to take you top task on this comment:

"Will require maintenance
Not too much though, I can automate most of it I think"

I currently oversee the maintenance of the Intranet pages for my specific department and it does actually take morer maintenance than you would imagine and we only list the teams and the processes.

I think coming from a company with a global Intranet and Extranet I can see huge advantages in this but it does necessitate a high level of maintenance.

I totally agree with it being dbase driven - absolute must unless you wanna hand trawl html as well as documentation. Long term your teams can gain dial-in access to the network. This is a huge benefit.

If I ever need to undertake any task within our company I look to the Intranet first every time - and it is all driven via Internet Explorer.

A simple list of the main uses I have for the Intranet are as follows (and I list these to add weight to your argument):

1. Time reporting (weekly) demonstrating contribution to the team
2. Expenses - all claimed via ie, no paperwork necessary.
3. Service definitions.
4. Service level agreements.
5. Briefings.
6. Process documentation (intranets are looked upon very favourably by auditors for QMS purposes and IIP assessors).
6. HR Policies reference.
7. Service reference documentation.
8. Project management documentation - gant charts/pert charts/critical paths all displayed in a browser.
9. Company process documentation (again very very good for auditing purposes)
10. Training on-line (e-learning)
11. Training records.
12. Operational Units updates (i.e. listing who works where in the comapny and for whom)
13. Salaries (I haven't had a paper payslip for two years - just view it in a browser).
14. Report Generation - straight into explorer from a dbase. This can be almost anything I like, sales figures, staff movement etc etc.
15. Ah man this could go on for ever!!!!!!!

I think the point to note is being a small company you have to show where the uise of an Intranet can add value. Reference documentation in a browser is nice but as a business case it wouldn't win me over. IF however you said you had worked out a ay in which you could minimise maintenance on product data updating by 30% I would be more inclined to listen.

If you are to take it to management just remember it has to either save money, make money, or demonstrate a significant value add to the company as a whole. The work you are undertaking now for example - if you think how you could possibly automate parts of it with a dbase and think of how much time it would save.

I think we (as a company) have one of the most well developed Intranets in the world. It is so much easier. If you need any info on specifics let me know as there are too many to mention here. I would start with something like Peoplesoft 8, Docent or Saba and then develop your own product dbase or buy a bespoke one in. Just remember it has to have a business benefit.

Any too much twaddle and not enough work. Lemme know if you need any info from here!

All points noted. However, I think there are about......


... less than twenty computers in this entire place. That means that in terms of scale, this is a much smaller thing than yours - all I'd be looking at is a webserver to server ASP pages to all the computers on the company network - the external website is hosted somewhere or other, so I'd have nothing to do with that. It would just be a couple of databases, and some HTML. Nowt fancy ;o)

I do however agree with your point that to justify it, I'd have to be saving money. Or, alternatively, demonstrate how this makes us better able to serve the customer. Our MD is very keen on customer services, since we sell small numbers of high-cost goods, and as such, good-will and service towards our existing customers is vital to us. And I think I could probably swing a few things with this Intranet that would make a lot of our systems work better.

Plus, if I get the Calibration Database up and running across it, that helps us conform to whichever ISO we're trying to conform to, which in turn gets a few more people behind the idea, since they're pushing for us to conform to all the relevant international standards.


/me points at title of Service Development Manager and grins.

Despite the fact the company is smaller (to say the least) there is no reason why the benefits cannot be realised on a smaller scale. Smaller companiers are great places for graduates to start working as they get to see the bigger picture.

OK forget Peoplesoft and Docent etc but the product dbase idea is a good one. In fact it is exactly what I did in access in my first job and had iis serving pages from the NT4 server to all the pc's in the office (about 15 I think). We even designed a products tour web site for customers to browse on visits OR the sales teams to use to flog stuff.

I would say let your imagination run riot and put down all the ideas you can think of ... then weed out the ones which offer no tangible benefit to the business.

Not forgetting the 9000, 9001 and 9002 ISO's which are all predominantly process driven. If you can migrate any sales processing to the Intranet that would be a big win. We've just had an audit with Lloyds and they loved our Intranet cos of its clear indication of processes to follow.

It is a huge subject area and one which you can fully exploit given a bottomless pit of money. I have to say though proactivity such as this gets people a long way in their careers. If you can manage the idea through to fruition it is a huge achievement to put on your cv too.

Good effort - its admirable compared to some of the graduates we get here who think they should be treated like royalty as they have degrees. I let them say it before I give them my (rather predictable retort) comparing academic achievements! :0)

They all dig their own holes eventually.

Damn ... I should work!

Intranets make a lot of things easier, and networks in general are just fun (usually...depending on who's on them...alright, never mind!)

Explination- Friend found a quiz on your site, gave it to me, I looked around, found your journal, thought I'd check it out.

I don't know too much about computers and stuff like that...but from what I read (and understood) it seems like a good idea!

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