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June 2, 2021

Extranet. How your company can benefit from enabling one.

What is an Extranet?

In simple terms, it’s digital functionality that enables organizations to collaborate, communicate and share information with third parties, who sit outside of their internal network. Many organizations collaborate with external parties, for example; customers, suppliers, contractors, dealers, agencies, investors, or a mixture of these. An extranet is often considered part of a company’s intranet extended to authorized users outside of their organization.

Extra = extra users    net = highly secure network

 

What benefits can an extranet can bring to an organization?

Some of the most notable improvements organizations can expect to see after implementing an extranet are as follows:

Sharing improvements

With an extranet, an organization can draw on the ideas and expertise of all collaborators. External partners are given a platform to share best practices, comment on pressing topics and provide valuable feedback. Without an extranet, you’re likely to be sharing files with outside parties via email. This leads to outdated document versions, large file attachments clogging up in-boxes and important information being lost or overlooked. It can also be time consuming and annoying to find information buried deep in emails.

Enhanced security

Extranets can be an efficient way to securely share data and documents using permission controls. Options to share by individual or group are integral for extranet design as some parties may need access to more information than others.

Project management efficiencies

The project team can utilize the extranet and avoid unnecessary meetings, phone calls, or sending emails to keep all stakeholders up to date. You can upload, store, and edit documents, organize calendars, make news announcements and contribute to discussions.

Little effort from IT

To set up a cloud-based extranet you don’t need much IT assistance, specialized hardware, or technical knowledge, a few simple and clear instructions should suffice.  Some organizations [for multiple reasons] chose to keep their data on premise. To provide access to an on premise environment, the GO software comes with inbuilt security mechanisms that can be configured to allow external access. The GO Extranet Configuration service involves our GO Support team assisting with the configuration of your GO installation to support extranet functionality.

Productivity gains

Organizations will be able to run both an intranet and an extranet from one instance of the software. No further training is required for creating content on the extranet. It is the same process as the intranet.

Examples of Extranets

Project Extranet

When several different parties are involved in delivering a project, an extranet can be an efficient and useful tool for managing it. Customizable permissions and privacy settings ensure that confidential information remains in the right hands. Cross-organization collaboration is a mainstay for many types of industries. A project extranet is an easy way to ensure every collaborator remains accountable for their share of work and prevents components of the project from slipping through the cracks. 

Supplier Extranet

Create a contractor or supplier portal so that important information and resources can be shared securely. An example could be a construction organization sharing content with authorized contractors/sub-contractors.

Franchise Extranet

Franchise organizations would have an Intranet for their head office operations and then use extranet functionality for franchisees, who are independent of head office so don’t have access to the wider Intranet.  Franchisees are provided an extranet site specifically for them to aid communication and content sharing between themselves and HQ. Examples of content shared could be marketing materials, training content, and company policies

*****Read more on how GreenOrbit can help franchise organisations*****

Dealer Extranet

Organizations that have dealer networks e.g. Motor Dealers and Electronics Manufacturers can provide access to protected resources, like service and repair manuals, recall notices and other important communications

Agency Extranet

Governmental and administrative organizations or agencies often collaborate and have the need to share the latest news and developments. An extranet provides the capability to make secure collaboration and communication much easier and more efficient.

GreenOrbit provides intranet software with everything you need built in - easy to use and easy to manage. Want to know more about GreenOrbit and its Intranet and extranet capabilities, please contact a consultant for a personalized demo. https://greenorbit.com/book-a-demo/

Article written by Toby Milner

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