Home > Articles

This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Deploying a Customer Extranet Solution with SharePoint

The primary purpose of the customer extranet portal is to service the needs of customers. The customer extranet enables customers to find information about products and services, and place help desk calls. In some customer extranets, client access is provided for things such as invoice payment and viewing account status and payment history. The customer extranet can also be used for document collaboration and managing joint projects with the customer. The content for this type of portal can originate from internal and/or external sources.

Meeting the Business Needs of the Customer Extranet Solution

The business needs of this group include searching for information, aggregating content from multiple sources, providing a dynamic view of relevant business information, collaborating on documents, sharing documents, managing joint projects, resolving issues, and providing a means for business transactions. The SharePoint features used to meet these needs are outlined as follows:


  • Providing customers with a means for viewing information about their account by using web parts that access line-of-business applications to retrieve and display customer-related information
  • Enabling customers to find product/service information without having to speak with a service representative using the search features of SharePoint
  • In addition to searching, providing the ability to view the results in a variety of ways depending on the needs by using the filtering and sorting features of SharePoint

Content aggregation:

  • Combining information from various sources into a single source for purposes of searching using content sources
  • Accessing information from multiple business applications into one view using web parts

Dynamic views:

  • Using filters to display subsets of information such as product-specific or location-specific data
  • Using sort capabilities to present the information in a different order

Document collaboration:

  • Sharing documents with clients using shared document libraries
  • Controlling publication of documents using content approval
  • Categorizing documents so that they can be easily found using document metadata
  • Finding documents on a specific subject by searching the document text or the metadata attached to the document

Working on joint projects:

  • Assigning/delegating tasks between parties using a Tasks list
  • Following up on overdue tasks by using views such as the Due Today view
  • Sharing project-related information by using a team site
  • Discussing and resolving project issues by using discussion boards
  • Managing the overall project and reporting on its status by using a recurring event or multiple meeting workspace site

Resolving issues:

  • Submitting issues/questions to a "help desk" using the Issues list
  • Responding to issues in a timely manner by using the Alert feature on the Issues list
  • Having the ability to check the status of outstanding issues by using the My Issues view
  • Managing and tracking issue resolution using views of the Issues list

Business interaction:

  • Providing clients with access to business information such as invoice/payment status by using customized web parts
  • Enabling clients to perform business transactions by providing links to web-based application interfaces and/or customized web parts

Implementing the Customer Extranet Solution

The customer extranet site is implemented using Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and includes Windows SharePoint Services sites. Depending on the specific implementation, Microsoft BizTalk can be used to exchange business application information and provide integration with business applications, while customized web parts provide the link to SharePoint. In addition, integration for SharePoint-compatible applications can be provided using preexisting web parts, developing custom web parts, and/or providing links to web-based front ends to business applications. Single sign-on can also be implemented to make it easier for users to access applications.

In addition, SharePoint now supports Forms-based authentication options in addition to standard Windows authentication. This allows administrators to build a custom ASP.NET Authentication provider to authenticate users against a foreign LDAP source or a SQL table, removing the need to have Active Directory accounts for all users.

Features available on the extranet portal home page include a Links list, announcements, discussion board, and search. The Quick Launch area can contain links to lists such as a limited corporate directory (with the listings for the salespeople and other people who customers typically deal with, such as accounting personnel) and frequently accessed shared libraries such as newsletters, training documents, and product information. Areas can be configured for support, product/service information, and billing information. A content source group can be created for the content in each area to make searches more targeted.

Document workspaces can be used to collaborate on documents. Team sites can be used when working with the customer on a joint project. Content sources can be created for product/service documentation and historical accounting information.

Security needs to be tight to ensure the integrity of customer-specific information. Restrictions need to be in place to prevent one customer from obtaining access to another customer's data.

Outlining Ideas for Using the Corporate Extranet Solution

This section includes some ideas to incorporate into the customer extranet site solution in congruence with the elements previously discussed.

In addition to providing standard content, use audiences to target specific content to an individual or group of users.

Use the Support area for linking to an Issues list as well as a document library containing technical information. Links to supporting websites could also be in this area. Other possibilities would be to include a Top 10 Issues list as well as a download library.

Include a shared library with documents relating to products and services offered and/or links to corporate or other websites that have this information in the Product/Service Information area. There could also be a discussion board on this Area page so that clients could submit product- or service-related questions or requests and provide their ideas and feedback on products and services. When there is a need to get specific client feedback, a survey can be used.

Use applications such as Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 and/or develop custom web parts for the Billing Information area to enable customers to access their invoice/payment information. Alternatively, provide links in this area to a site where invoice or payment information can be provided. There could also be web parts or links to applications or sites where customers can submit payments and/or orders.

Use team sites when working on projects with the customer. Include a Tasks list to document division of responsibility, a Contacts list for maintaining the contact information for members from both sides of the team, a custom "punch" list to document items yet to be completed, and a general discussion area as an alternative to email for documenting project-related correspondence in a central location. Create a weekly status meeting event or use a multiple meeting workspace for tracking and managing project status.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020