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Lesson 6 Emergence of intranets and extranets in business
Objective Explain the importance and emergence of intranets and extranets.

The Significance of Intranets and Extranets in the E-Business Landscape

Explain the importance of intranets and extranets and how their emergence with internet technologies has influenced e-business.
The rise of intranets and extranets has fundamentally reshaped the contours of e-business, driving operational efficiency, enhancing collaboration, and fostering robust business relationships. The integration of these networks with cutting-edge internet technologies underpins the seamless exchange of information, seamless communication, and streamlined business processes, fortifying the e-business ecosystem.

The Intranet: Bolstering Internal Communication and Collaboration

Definition and Purpose Intranets, private networks confined within an organization, serve as central hubs for internal communication, information dissemination, and collaborative endeavors.

Impact on E-Business

  1. Enhanced Communication: Intranets facilitate seamless internal communication, ensuring that employees are well-informed and aligned with organizational objectives.
  2. Collaborative Workspace: They provide platforms for collaborative work, allowing teams to coordinate effectively, share information, and manage projects, amplifying operational efficiency.
  3. Knowledge Management: Intranets support comprehensive knowledge management, ensuring that critical information and resources are readily accessible to employees, fostering informed decision-making.
  4. Administrative Efficiency: Automated administrative processes on intranets free up valuable resources and time, contributing to enhanced productivity and operational efficacy.

The Extranet: Strengthening External Business Relationships

Definition and Purpose Extranets extend the intranet beyond the organizational boundaries, offering selective access to external stakeholders such as suppliers, partners, and customers.

Impact on E-Business

  1. Enhanced Supply Chain Management: Extranets optimize supply chain management by providing vendors and suppliers real-time access to pertinent information, ensuring timely and efficient supply chain operations.
  2. Strengthened Business Partnerships: They fortify business relationships by offering a centralized platform for communication, collaboration, and information exchange with partners and affiliates.
  3. Customer Engagement and Support: Extranets enhance customer engagement and support by providing customers access to tailored resources, information, and services.
  4. Secure Information Sharing: They enable secure and controlled sharing of sensitive information with external stakeholders, bolstering trust and collaboration.

Integration with Internet Technologies

Scalability and Accessibility

The confluence of intranets and extranets with internet technologies ensures scalability and accessibility. Cloud integration allows organizations to expand their networks seamlessly, providing global accessibility and ensuring uninterrupted operations.

Enhanced Security

Incorporating advanced internet security protocols safeguards intranets and extranets against unauthorized access and cyber threats, ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of business information.

Integration with E-Business Systems

The seamless integration of intranets and extranets with various e-business systems and platforms, such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, streamlines business operations and enhances organizational efficiency.
In essence, intranets and extranets occupy a critical role in shaping the e-business landscape. Their seamless integration with advanced internet technologies amplifies their impact, driving operational efficiency, fostering collaboration, and strengthening internal and external business relationships. In the digital age, the strategic deployment of intranets and extranets is paramount for e-businesses aspiring to thrive in a competitive and interconnected global marketplace.

Explain the importance and emergence of intranets and extranets.

With the introduction of Web server architecture, corporate publication of HTML pages has exploded. Issues concerning who has access to what, and how, remain a predominant consideration in the publication of information. As the information needs of particular audiences became apparent, three types of HTML-enabled networks emerged:
  1. Corporate intranet
  2. Extranet
  3. Web presence
The following diagram describes how each type of network is targeted to a different audience.
  1. Internet WWW:
  2. Corporate Internet Site:
  3. Corporate Extranet:
  4. Corporate Intranet: An intranet provides users with access that can operate on any computer regardless of the operating systems in use.

What is an Intranet?

In simple terms, whatever a user can do with the Internet he should be able to do within an organization's private network or intranet [1].
Intranet technology helps companies disseminate information faster to both vendors and customers and can be of benefit to the internal operations of the organization. Intranets have attracted a lot of attention in a very short time.
The intranet uses Internet and Web technologies to solve organizational problems traditionally solved by proprietary databases, scheduling and workflow applications. One should understand that an intranet is different from a (LAN) local area network or wide area network (WAN), although it uses the same physical connections. An intranet is an application or service (or set of applications or services) using the computer networks (the LANs and WANs) of an organization and that is why it is different from LANs and WANs. The intranet is only logically internal to the organization. Intranets can physically span the globe, as long as access is specifically defined and limited to the specific organization's community of users behind a firewall or a series of firewalls. In a typical intranet configuration, all users in the organizationcould access all the Web servers. The system administrator must define the degree of access for each user. They can constantly communicate with one another and post information on their departmental web servers. However, usually a firewall (or several firewalls) separates these internal networks from the world wide web.
Within these departmental Web servers, individual employees can have their own Web pages broken down by department and a series of Web pages. For example the following departments each may include several Web pages as parts of the organization's intranet program:
  1. Finance,
  2. Human resources,
  3. Information services,
  4. Manufacturing,
  5. Marketing and Sales.

Information architecture requires a company to make decisions as to who has access to what. Intranets and extranets are systems designed to address these issues.An intranet is a network based on TCP/IP protocols belonging to an organization, usually a corporation, accessible only by the organization's members, employees, or others with authorization. The website of an intranet looks and acts just like any other Web sites, but the firewall surrounding an intranet fends off unauthorized access.

[1] Corporate Intranet: Different users, such as employees and/or customers, can make annotations on the same Web document and share ideas.