Extranets Improve Communications and Customer Relationships
Extranets are very similar to other websites, except that they require the use of user names and passwords in order to access the information. Unlike intranets, extranets are intended for users outside of your organization, and provide a convenient method for sharing critical information with business partners, customers, vendors, and suppliers. This provides businesses with a major time saving advantage, and reduces the need for frequent face-to-face meetings and expensive travel. It also reduces many of the security risks associated with the sharing and distribution of sensitive information.
An extranet allows large amounts of data to be exchanged in real-time, over a secure and private network. This enables efficient sharing of information, easy collaboration on projects and joint business ventures, and offers an effective way to telecommunicate securely without concerns about sensitive information being intercepted over the Internet. Additionally, an extranet lowers costs, produces faster results, and improves the quality of service your organization provides to customers.
You will have the ability to provide your customers with instant access to important information, such as notices, news, contracts, and product specifications. When you are able to communicate and collaborate more effectively with your customers and partners, your business will have an edge over your competition, and you will notice an immediate reduction in time and money wasted by automating your communication processes.
Critical business information will no longer be lost or buried in email inboxes, and distracted employees will not miss or forget key deadlines. Important files will not become misplaced, and data can be accessed around the clock, whenever it is needed. Firewalls, passwords, and data encryption ensure that your information will remain secure.
A company extranet provides a reduced margin of error, and ensures that your information is timely and accurate. Extranets allow you to instantly update, change, remove, and edit sensitive data, such as price lists, order histories, and company policies. Relying on printed material means you may have several outdated versions of your important information circulating, opening the door for costly mistakes and miscommunication.
An extranet can be used to monitor specific business activities and trigger alerts when deadlines approach or inventory becomes low. Inventory can be directly linked to your supplier, and orders can be processed as soon as the system recognizes the need to increase your stock. This eliminates the need to keep a large supply of inventory in your facility, and assists in lowering the amount of time it takes to get your product to market.
An extranet can produce considerable cost-savings for your organization, and reduce the amount spent on staffing and overhead costs. Extranets make great use of the Internet's ability to share information effectively in ways that traditional mediums cannot. Your organization will experience greater flexibility, accuracy of information, and improved relationships with customers and business partners. Even considering the financial investment an extranet may require to deploy, a dramatic savings is often apparent in only a matter of months.