Business Uses and Benefits of Intranets & Extranets: Part 2

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Business Uses and Benefits of Intranets & Extranets: Part 2

According to techopedia, an extranet is a controlled private network allowing customers, partners, vendors, suppliers and other businesses to gain information. Extranets make communicating simple for individuals inside and outside of an organization.

Keep in mind that intranets are also a controlled private network, except access is only given to individuals within an organization.

In this 2-part series, we will walk through what intranets and extranets are, how they differ, and how they can benefit your business.

What is an extranet?Visual diagram of the intranet and extranet spectrum

Extranets are an expansion of your intranet. They are private networks designed to allow certain individuals outside of your company to communicate with members within your organization in a secure and private virtual space. To put it simply, it is an extension of your intranet that you make available to users outside of your organization.  Generally, organizations will use extranets for:

  • Customer service through distributing personalized information to customers in a more efficient way
  • Training and education for new employees
  • Communicating and connecting with customers in a more controlled setting
  • Easing project management tasks by providing a workspace with access to common online documents for teams

Why should I invest in an extranet?

Extranets act as a system of engagement for your business’s prospective clients. Just as intranets can increase employee engagement, extranets expand to engage individuals outside of your organization too. There are many benefits that a business can reap from an extranet including:

For Customers (extranet):

  • Improves your collaboration with customers, clients, and partners by providing personalized and specific pieces of information to specific groups.
  • Easy access to relevant information for consumers through FAQ’s, company and product details, and more
  • Present customized and exclusive content or offers to your customers in a secure way.
  • Make information available to consumers on a variety of devices
  • Shorter time from business to consumer by eliminating communication barriers
  • Builds customer loyalty and improves customer experience by providing additional channels for communication
  • Improved customer service and experience by allowing customers and users to resolve their own queries.

For Employees (intranet and extranet):

  • Increased productivity by making information more accessible to employees
  • Reduced margin of error by centralizing company information
  • More effective collaboration by easing department-to-department communication
  • Cost effective by cutting overhead costs and streamlining work practices
  • More efficient communication of internal job opportunities

Using an extranet in the Real World

We know that an extranet is an extension of an intranet. It’s the part of the intranet that outsiders can use. The Bank of Veriday (BoV) has invested in an intranet and an extranet. They are able to share all of their internal information with employees within the institution. When their customers log in online to check on their personal banking, they are logging into BoV’s extranet, which provides them with selective information that was made available to them. Extranets are still closed off to the general public and require some type of authentication.

An extranet can help give your company an edge over the competition.  Extranets help streamline processes, workflows, and business functions, while cutting your overhead costs.

 

To learn more about intranets, check out Part 1 of the series!

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