Intranet Guide

Simple DIY solutions

For a business with a few computers that are internet compatible, setting up an intranet presents few technical or financial challenges.

Costs

The initial costs involved will mostly be for staff time, any new hardware and software you may need and any external programming that may be required. A do-it-yourself route using new equipment could cost around £3,000 for:

  • a server (the computer that hosts and runs the network)
  • the network cabling to link your machines
  • a router
  • the necessary software.

Costs could be even less if you use existing equipment – an old PC with 32Mb of RAM can make an adequate server for a simple intranet supporting up to 200 users.

Requirements

You will probably need web page software to create the pages for your intranet. For example, programmes like Microsoft Front Page (£135), Adobe GoLive (£350) or Macromedia Dreamweaver (£360) are easy to use and come complete with templates for many of the pages you’ll want – such as a staff directory, a search feature and product information and marketing pages.

Considerations

There is also an issue of integration: if your business depends heavily on your website or database, it makes sense to build an intranet that dovetails with them. In this case, you’d be well advised to consult an IT professional at the planning stage.

Despite their modest start-up costs, intranets should not be regarded as a cheap option. If your intranet is successful, it can rapidly become the backbone of your company. As with anything integral to the functioning of your business, you’ve got to plan for scalability and set aside budget for maintenance and upgrades.

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