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What can be done by Intranet?

Ten years ago, local area network(LAN) started to appear in SMEs in Hong Kong. By that time, the most significant one would be Netware produced by Novell. Take Netware 3.X as example, it provided file server which is very important to SMEs. And so does printer sharing.

After the introduction of file server, network version of application software is then developed. For example, one accounting system can be operated by one accounting staff originally but many staff can perform data input and enquiry together with the network version.

This kind of systems has been used until now and many people think that it is all about network applications. In fact, the functions of today's intranet are far more than what the people think. Some intranet applications and the effect they have on competitiveness and productivity of enterprises are introduced in the following.

Email
Maybe you would think that email is not anything new and you are thinking: "I am still receiving email everyday without the intranet!" Yes, you are right. But have you ever encountered email that bounces back by the email system when the size of the email is too large? Have you ever waited bitterly for the transmission of email? If you are using external email service to transmit the internal emails of your company, your emails have to go outside and come back. This wastes time. Also, the size of email has to be restricted by the service provider. Besides, there are security issues and other problems.

When there is internal email system installed in the company, other than sending texts via email, the staff can send files through. Even if it is a 10M file, transmission can be done by the intranet within few seconds. The staff will find this more convenient than using file server. One of the reasons is they can get away from the complicated issue of security settings. Another greater advantage is the reduction of training time on new employees because sending and receiving emails have already become the daily activity of individuals and training is not needed.

Web mail
Hotmail.com is the great introducer of public web email service. Have you ever thought that the same kind of service can be provided by your company? Because the email does not have to go outside, the speed is very high. And it is very convenient to use, especially for staff who always work outside the company. These staff usually do not have a fixed seat, with web mail service, they can send and receive mails using public computers.

Internal Web Site
Internal Web Site is of great advantage to internal communication and information dissemination within a company. Now, many companies have put internal documents onto their internal website. These documents include company handbook, operating procedures and forms like leave application form, claim for reimbursement, etc.

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