On-line PR and Intranets/Extranets

What is it
When do I use it?

What is it?

What you see on an Intranet is what you view on a Web page. On an Intranet, you can send data, text, multimedia, graphics, sound, anything that you transmit on the Web. Intranets use the open standards of the Web and common Web browsers like Netscape and Explorer. Employees access and post information without the technical difficulties of incompatible operating systems or hardware.

Public relations usually shares an Intranet with other departments. That's because each department has information of use to employees. For example, HR will publish the employee manual. Marketing will publish sales figures by product line. Finance will post earnings. The CEO will post memos to the organization. The training department will publish courses.

Because intranets are easy to build, there are usually too many of them. Each department or division builds it own. The result? Chaos. Intranets need:

Green_Ball4100.gif (257 bytes) Managing.

Green_Ball4100.gif (257 bytes) Security and integrity of information.

Green_Ball4100.gif (257 bytes) Search engines to find data in the masses of information they carry.

What is an Extranet?

An Extranet is an Intranet opened selectively to vendors, customers and others. You share intimate internal information with them to build collaboration and partnership. Extranets require:

Green_Ball4100.gif (257 bytes) Connectivity. You need a good Internet Protocol service providing high-quality communication.

Green_Ball4100.gif (257 bytes) Security. This is essential, especially with sensitive company information.

Green_Ball4100.gif (257 bytes) Applications for all parties.

Green_Ball4100.gif (257 bytes) Compatible Directory services for all parties.

Green_Ball4100.gif (257 bytes) Compatible messaging systems for all parties.

When Do I Use It?

Your organization may be using an Intranet. It might not be serving Public Relations purposes. Evaluate the use of an Intranet as a complement or substitute for media that you use now to disseminate information. The benefit of Intranets and on-line media is that they are more immediate than printed and faxed media and less expensive overall than media such as television. Web protocols allowing multimedia also make an Intranet an appealing medium.

It is unlikely that you can build an Extranet as strictly a public relations tool. If someone has done so, I would like to feature them on this site, especially if others can look at how you use your PR Extranet.

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