One of the mistakes I made when I started at Elcom was in thinking we were just a web company. You know, web sites and not much else.
But as I quickly learned, weâ€™re also in the business of intranets â€“ in fact weâ€™ve been building significant Intranets for clients for a while now. Turns out I wasnâ€™t alone in my thinking – many people assume we are just focussed on web sites. Itâ€™s another reminder that we need to improve our message. So, with that in mind, next week we are launching a new product: IntranetManager.NET
Why a new product?
You may be familiar with our flagship content management product: Community Manager. Itâ€™s an awesome product (says me!) but can be overwhelming, and consequently most people donâ€™t know it is also a powerful intranet solution. They think â€“ like I did initially â€“ that it is only for web sites.
Over the last few months weâ€™ve been looking at how we can package up our modules a little more helpfully for clients. Instead of bamboozling them with a huge list of modules, weâ€™ve streamlined a product release for businesses that just need to get an Intranet up and running really fast. One of my Elcom colleagues, Anthony Milner, explains this well on his blog.
Weâ€™ve called it Intranet Manager, and it is essentially our base Community Manager product plus six of our main modules bundled into a simple, easy to use solution. You can always add other modules later, but in its installed form you get a nice intranet up and running very easily.
Why you need an intranet
But why would you want an intranet?
Thereâ€™s plenty of reasons, but the main one we are running into is the problem of unstructured data. Typically companies have information all over the place. Different formats, different locations, non-searchable, multiple copies of each, etc, etc. And to be fair, Elcom is no different. We struggle daily with masses of information everywhere. Itâ€™s not like we have it perfected yet. But one thing we have done, is very simply put a structure around it, using Intranet Manager. By moving all our forms and workflows (eg leave requests, new employee processes, etc), documents and knowledge bases to a central site, weâ€™ve been able to improve discoverability and reduce duplication. Being able to search easily across all the data is very handy.
IntranetManager and SharePoint
You may be interested to learn that at Elcom we actually have two intranets. One is built on our own product â€“ IntranetManager.NET, and the other is built on SharePoint. Weâ€™ve done this for a few reasons. Since weâ€™re a web and intranet development company, part of building the best solution for our clients is to be intimately involved in using a number of different products. SharePoint is wonderful for some things (eg Office integration), and perhaps not so good for others (eg content authoring and management). We love SharePoint, but Intranet Manager fits in nicely, being strong in specific areas where we sometimes struggle with SharePoint.
What does this mean? It means that we donâ€™t think of ourselves competing with SharePoint. We deliver SharePoint based solutions (example), and we also deliver solutions based on our own products (example). We aim to be well placed guiding customers in how to best solve their information and content management challenges.
Product launchâ€¦ and free breakfast
Weâ€™re officially launching Intranet Manager next Tuesday (18 Nov) in Sydney. Itâ€™s in the CBD and kicks off at 8am.
You should come along. If nothing else, thereâ€™s a free breakfast in it for you!
But seriously, if you are interested in hearing two industry experts discuss intranet scenarios, then please join us:
- Derek Jardine will be covering how to â€˜Manage information in your organisationâ€™
- Stephen Collins will be presenting on â€˜Web 2.0 and your intranetâ€™
We also have Orica (one of our clients) giving a quick case study of how theyâ€™ve used Intranet Manager in their organisation.
After that, one of the Elcom dudes will be giving a quick demo of Intranet Manager and answering questions.
You can register here.
Feel free to leave me a comment if youâ€™ve got a question or thought about intranets or our products.