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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Replacing Corporate Intranets

Many organizations currently have a corporate intranet. However, does it require IT resources to get involved each time a document or form needs updating? Does it require developers to get involved when changes to the structure need to be made? Is it flexible and easy to use? Can users customize it to fit their own specific needs? Intranets are often out-of-date because they are costly and cumbersome to maintain.

SharePoint, with its flexible design, scalability, and ease of use, is becoming a popular choice as the infrastructure for corporate intranets. Combined with the ability for customization as required, SharePoint is a low-cost solution that provides the ability for users at all levels to participate and contribute to the corporate intranet. End users with the appropriate permissions can easily maintain documents and other information on the site, and most of this can be done through the Microsoft Office 2003 interface. Administrators can still control security, and approval can optionally be required before information is posted or changes in structure made.

A typical SharePoint-based intranet could have a home page with information applicable to all employees, and department-specific sites, linked to from the home page. The site could include Web Parts and features such as

  • Announcements for providing employees with information such as promotions, notification of open enrollment periods for medical benefits, and important company financial statistics.

  • Contacts, for storing the company directory. Basic user information could be retrieved from Active Directory and additional items such as photographs of each employee could be maintained through SharePoint.

  • Forms library, for storing company forms such as insurance claim forms and 401k enrollment forms.

  • Document libraries, for storing procedures and policies.

  • Events, for listing upcoming company events such as holiday parties, seminars, and internal training sessions. Items such as month-end close dates and pay dates could also be maintained.

  • Links, for commonly accessed Web sites such as the company external Web site, support sites, and competitor sites.

  • Surveys, for getting feedback and on company issues such as where to have the next company meeting.

  • Alerts, for getting notified when important information is added or gets changed.

Figure 3.9 is an example of an intranet created with SharePoint Portal Server 2003.

Figure 3.9Figure 3.9 Corporate intranet created using SharePoint Portal 2003.

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