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Company Intranet

Discussion in 'Technology' started by Fink, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. Nov 2, 2011 at 11:32 AM
    #1
    Fink

    Fink [OP] Motorboatin' SOB

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    Alright guys, I need some help.

    We're building a brand new Intranet for our company from the ground up, and I need some ideas. If you work for a company that has an Intranet (whether you like it or not), take a few minutes and let me know what you think about it and what you would change. I don't need (or even want) to know what company it is. I don't care how big or small the company is...I just need some design ideas.

    Some things to consider are:


    1. Deployment - How is it being used at your company? What things are hosted in the Intranet (stock ticker, company-wide announcements, reporting...)? What would you like to see added? Local news? Weather?...
    2. Efficiency - How easy is it to navigate? Do you have to jump through a bunch of hoops to find what you need? Is there a "Search" feature? What would you change? More links? Tutorial?
    3. Integration - Is the Intranet integrated with an existing account? Meaning, are you able to use the same username and password you use for maybe your e-mail account to access it? How important is security to you as the end-user? Do you care if you have to remember a separate username/password?
    4. Aesthetics - How does it look? Do you prefer more or less? More graphics? Less graphics? Animations? Welcome screens? Maybe customized profile pictures for each user? Etc...

    If possible, a screenshot of the Intranet you use would be awesome. I realize a lot of companies host/display proprietary information on these, so please blur out anything you don't want to distribute. Also, please blur out any company/software names. I simply want to see how it is structured, I don't care about the details at this point.

    I'm simply trying to get an idea of what is out there, and what you all as the end-user would like to see in them.

    Thanks for the help!

    Fink[​IMG]
     
  2. Nov 11, 2011 at 12:34 PM
    #2
    Fink

    Fink [OP] Motorboatin' SOB

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    Bump.

    Supposed to have our first development meeting tonight.

    Fink[​IMG]
     
  3. Nov 11, 2011 at 12:41 PM
    #3
    blackhawke88

    blackhawke88 wo ai ni bao bei ^_^

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    My company has a huge intranet, as we have offices in almost every country. I have several usernames and passwords, there are dozens of different web-based and software programs. There are network drives, internet databases, and DOS-based databases. It's all a huge mess.
     
  4. Nov 11, 2011 at 12:43 PM
    #4
    Fink

    Fink [OP] Motorboatin' SOB

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    Thanks for the reply man!

    Is there any chance you could get me a screenshot? I don't want to see anything proprietary, I just like looking at various layouts.

    If not, do you find it aesthetically pleasing? Are aesthetics all that important to you, or do you just want it to be easy to use?

    Fink[​IMG]
     
  5. Nov 11, 2011 at 12:48 PM
    #5
    rvcahawaii808

    rvcahawaii808 Well-Known Member

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    in my experience the nicer it looks the easier its going to be to use
     
  6. Nov 11, 2011 at 12:50 PM
    #6
    Fink

    Fink [OP] Motorboatin' SOB

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    What I've been seeing is even a lot of the nice-looking intranets still require the end-user to go through a ton of hoops; multiple usernames to access different pages within the same site, lot of cached information that is prone to .NET errors, etc...

    We just have to find that balance.

    Fink[​IMG]
     
  7. Nov 11, 2011 at 12:55 PM
    #7
    Taco-NB

    Taco-NB MMMMM Taco's

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    The only thing we use ours for is file sharing, printing, and serving site license software.
     
  8. Nov 11, 2011 at 12:58 PM
    #8
    Fink

    Fink [OP] Motorboatin' SOB

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    So how does this work for you guys?

    Are the permissions automatically in place? Are there departments/groups that have access to certain/individual shares?

    For printing, do you log into the intranet to print, or is that just an option?

    Fink[​IMG]
     
  9. Nov 11, 2011 at 1:07 PM
    #9
    DblCabMN

    DblCabMN Well-Known Member

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    Sharepoint and Done. ;)

    But that's spendy and time consuming from the back-end. For the users, it's easy as pie, ties to AD, blah blah blah then it's all about the dev's working the UI to be a straight forward experience.

    Our company has tried (and failed) to go from a wikipedia styled basic intranet for tutorials and office forms to a kick ass sharepoint site that is all encompassing and allows users to collaborate on documents live etc. - Would be totally badass. Unfortunately, it's always been a 'pet project' and never really got off the ground. (though it's cost us loads of money/man hours during off times.)

    Unfortunatley, i'd have to blur out a solid 3/4 of our wiki, and our Sharepoint backend is currently spun down so i can't really give you any screeners. Read up on Sharepoint, and see if it fits your budget. You can always get a Sharepoint Admin to come and set up your environment and then just maintain from there (a wise choice)
     
  10. Nov 11, 2011 at 1:09 PM
    #10
    Tuvanhillbilly

    Tuvanhillbilly Member

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    We have 14 US offices and 2 international, and one intranet. We use single logon authentication (ie, once logged onto the network your id follows you and automatically logs you on to the intranet, which is the default home page on IE on all office machines).
    We've been through I don't know how many iterations of it, and it is now what I would call "good", but it is getting ready to get another major overhaul and hopefully will become even better.
    The majority of the intranet is open for all, but there are restricted area pages according to department- your login id determines what you can access, so if you are allowed to see something, you will, and if not- then no.
    We use a three column view with a sidebar on the front page. The sidebar is a nav bar that repeats on every page, and the columns are for (1) firm news (2) highlights (ie extremely important stuff) (3) local office news (auto x-posted from individual office intranet pages); "did you know", and a AP news ticker.
    Otherwise, we use the intranet for departmental pages, administrate dept. pages (IT, HR, Marketing,Accounting, etc), firm policies/procedures/forms, and each office also has a page for their own local news.
    The biggest problem is finding anything. It gets better with each rebuild, but it still can be a major pain to find something as there never seems to be any rhyme or reason why something is located in a certain page.
    Hope that helps,
     
  11. Nov 11, 2011 at 1:15 PM
    #11
    Fink

    Fink [OP] Motorboatin' SOB

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    We've already got SharePoint, and we love it, but it's a pain in the ass to manage.

    We're not on the latest version, but in 2007, you have to go into each individual list to populate permissions, or create groups - but for our company, these groups are very diverse and not cut and dry enough to use efficiently.

    We may end up rebuilding our SharePoint site from the ground up, using 2010, but I really want to build a fresh site that is completely independent of everything. If we don't like the way a page transitions, we can change it in just a few lines of code; if we don't like the way a button looks, we can change it, etc...

    Thanks for the input guys - I appreciate it!

    Fink[​IMG]
     
  12. Nov 11, 2011 at 1:16 PM
    #12
    Fink

    Fink [OP] Motorboatin' SOB

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    Great info! Thanks for this.

    The single logon is what we are shooting for, and we are very close to getting there!

    Fink[​IMG]
     
  13. Nov 11, 2011 at 1:21 PM
    #13
    tanzak88

    tanzak88 Well-Known Member

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    I like the layout of ours, but I don't like the multiple log-in ID required to access information and move throughout the site. If I'm on one of our computers, on our network, I should only have to log in once.

    Simple is better. Sometimes I will sit here for wayyy longer than I need to, just to find a form that I need. It's frustrating, but it looks good.

    Hopefully this is what you're looking for?

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Nov 11, 2011 at 1:22 PM
    #14
    DblCabMN

    DblCabMN Well-Known Member

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    Cool Fink, yeah i've only ever dealt with 2010 on the management side, and it was more of a "Here, see what you can do" type of a thing - no formal training etc. I had users created in AD, and assigned them to groups for access to certain pages etc. So at least in 2010 it works quite nicely with AD. I didn't have my hand in anything UI related larger than deploying pages from templates developed by others, so i can't help you there.

    It's definitely a beast.

    *edit* to clarify, they had to log in to the webpage, but the password sync etc, tied to AD.

    *edit2* May be a helpful read: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee721049.aspx
     
  15. Nov 11, 2011 at 1:28 PM
    #15
    Fink

    Fink [OP] Motorboatin' SOB

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    This is excellent!

    I will have some more questions for you after my meeting in just a few minutes if you don't mind. I appreciate the screenshots!

    Our current SharePoint site is on an old domain, so our users currently have two passwords that they use to access it, and our other systems.

    We have a copy of 2010 that we may through in our VMware environment to test with. Any idea how well it runs virtualized?

    Fink[​IMG]
     
  16. Nov 11, 2011 at 1:38 PM
    #16
    DblCabMN

    DblCabMN Well-Known Member

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    I know you said earlier that you didn't want to talk specific numbers but it ran fine for us during testing ;) - 5-10 users at a time, again, it never really got past 'pet project' stage.

    It worked fine on ESXi 4.1 - we had the services split on to two VM's each running 2008 R2. The database located on a separate, physical SQL server that was loaded 'to the nines' this box hosted a handful of DB's.
     
  17. Nov 11, 2011 at 1:40 PM
    #17
    DblCabMN

    DblCabMN Well-Known Member

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    Just ran across a doc we had a consulting firm write up for us ft. improvements to our existing test environ to push closer to roll-out. I'll scan it in an email it to you - PM your email address. it'll be 10-15 minutes, i have to edit out some items.
     
  18. Nov 11, 2011 at 2:21 PM
    #18
    Fink

    Fink [OP] Motorboatin' SOB

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    Great info! We run just about all of our systems on ESXi - it's incredible.

    We are now using VMware View for our Thin Client environment, which we are rolling out on January 1st in our new office space. It's pretty impressive software.

    PMing you now.

    Thanks!

    Fink[​IMG]
     
  19. Nov 11, 2011 at 2:39 PM
    #19
    BrokenTusk

    BrokenTusk I support a velociraptor free workplace.

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    Just noticed this

    Same situation as some others, I work for an international company and we have everything interated into 1 user name and password (Which must be changed every 30 days, to something that has not been used in the last 48 passwords). We type in log in (herein refering to username/pass) to log onto the computer, which gives us access to our database servers.

    if we need intranet access we open IE and use log in(This login we can autosave pass so we only have to update once a month) and it takes us to the company intranet home page. from there we have access all general company info (cafeteria menu for the week, weather, safety bullitens, news bullitens, annoucements). We can also log into our personal "Widgets" I have screens set up on my home page that give me direct access to T-docs (Our technical documents electrical versions) which allow me to search up an exact document by name n number) and another widget I used is my own personal vacation time widget, keeps track and shows me how much vacation / banked time I have available.

    If I want to access all my personal information (Benefits,payroll, rrsp accounts) then I have to log in again on my personal page to view that info.

    We have a search bar on our intranet but its beyond fucking useless, Its an Exact word search i think they call it, unless you know EXACT lettering/numbering of what your looking for it will return with boat loads of useless documents and things from 10 years ago. program your search to separate by current dates at the minimum
     
  20. Nov 11, 2011 at 6:16 PM
    #20
    penguins_cc

    penguins_cc Well-Known Member

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    Sharepoint is a great solution with its AD integration. I work at that big gigantic software company so I don't have to personally maintain it. It's very robust and allows users to create intranet sites very easily for collaboration, etc. If you're just creating a single intranet page and your company's network is not Windows-based, it's not the right product for you. To answer your specific questions:
    (1) Deployment of the Sharepoint product is handled by a Sharepoint team. Deployment of a specific SP site is handled by the team who published the SP site.
    (2) There is a search feature that links to the Corporate network or can search within the SP site. It sounds like you will need to be jack of all trades for this Intranet, but I recommend you take time to look at it from a development perspective and from a web admin perspective. Work on establishing a good framework on the site to maximize efficiency. That will make all your future changes easier to manage.
    (3) very tightly integrated but that's to be expected from a company using its own products. You haven't really informed us as to what technologies, Web Servers, etc you plan on using. Has this been decided?
    (4) Aesthetics - you will find great sources of inspiration on every day websites you use. Once you are looking at things from a developer perspective, you will begin noticing all the different aspects of a site's design.

    Hope that all didn't sound too fluffy. I worked on Cold Fusion and Web Administration for that gigantic aerospace company about 10 years ago and although they didn't have SP, the answers to your questions would still be the same.
     
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