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Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Invest in Modernising Your Intranet Applications Now

Intranet portals have been in existence for several years in many organisations, institutions, schools etc. Businesses have realised the benefits, an intranet site offers, to the thousands of employees connected to it, as well as to the company, in general.

Intranet enable the employees get password-based access to a centralised corporate database on the company’s LAN (Local Area Network). These intranet sites have proved themselves useful from the standpoint of easy navigation to the company’s employee contacts list, time tracking applications, company event details, messages from the CEO or from the top management etc.

A major advantage of the company intranet portals has been the use of web-based applications, which have allowed the companies to avoid investing in software licenses for individual employee desktops / laptops.

All employee records are maintained on the intranet for restricted access by the HR team and the employees themselves.

The ticket-based employee service app or portal is one of the common apps in a company’s intranet that enables employees to receive immediate help, with regards to any issues, with their computer hardware, IDcard, project IDgeneration, new software installation, international or domestic travel, etc.

Intranet forums or communities help employees get in touch with each other socially and understand what’s happening across various departments of the organisation.

Having dealt with many innovative intranet product enhancements, it is of paramount importance for us to keep coming up with new ideasto revamp / modernise the existing intranet system in organisations.

Reasons to Revamp Intranet Portals

If you think there is no need of revamping your existing Intranet portals, these reasons will make you think otherwise.

  • Although the investment for intranet portals is restricted only to the web server on which it is hosted, it is still possible to reduce costs further and leverage more benefits out of cloud infrastructure services such as Salesforce, Amazon, Azure etc.
  • Instead of simple social intranet forums or communities, a comprehensive social networking platform with 24×7 access is required for businesses.
    This is because, apart from helping employees stay in touch and know about various events and happenings quickly across the business line, the social intranet apps can go a long way in assisting the HR or the resource team. It helps find the right internal candidates for various short-term and long-term projects, within a short span of time.
  • With the rising trend of mobile websites, it is now imperative for companies to extend mobility to their intranet websites as well.

Tips to Modernise Intranet and Social Apps

Let’s check out some innovative ways to modernise a company’s intranet applications.

Increasing the Social Quotient

Enterprise apps, like Yammer, help employees stay connected and share critical information in various modes across geographical boundaries.

It is necessary to spice up the existing corporate social networking apps as the world thrives on social networking outside the corporate arena.

With this provision available within the organisation, the employees will be motivated more than ever before and this will help improve the overall business productivity.

Improved Mobility

Your company’s intranet might be accessible from mobile devices to the few employees at top-level positions.

But it is necessary to have this intranet mobility for each and every employee in the organisation.

If employees can raise travel requests, fill time cards for weekly effort tracking, book meeting / conference rooms, check the monthly training calendar and send nominations for training programs etc. on the move, it will allow your company to save precious working time.

Online Forms for Better Feedback

One of the major contributions to your company’s improvement and progress often comes from employee feedback. It is necessary to tap useful statistics from employee feedback and opinions, not just annually, but even more frequently.

This can be easily done through feedback or survey forms created using a good e-form builder app for the intranet. You can seek employee opinions for any new business services, new office locations, event ideas, and training programs to name a few.

Conditional Triggers and Intelligent Workflows for Automation

When it comes to managers and the HR department of a company, a major part of working time is spent on approving requests, providing permissions, checking feedback from project teams and more.

When the employees fill any of the online forms, conditional triggers and intelligent workflows for seeking permissions, triggering notifications etc. prove useful.

This helps automate the entire form-filling process for various employee-based activities in an organisation.

Enhancements to Employee Directory

Probably the first thing that comes to your mind when someone asks you to define intranet is access to the employee directory.

Instead of having traditional data such as employee name, address, telephone number, email id, project, and service line mentioned in the directory, you can focus on offering much more through this database.

Some useful tips to enhance the employee directory are listed below:

  • By sharing their vehicle numbers along with their starting points, employees can co-ordinate for car pooling and make their daily commute hassle-free.
  • Similarly, allowing employees to maintain their social network IDs (for Facebook, Twitter etc.) in the directory will enable them to quickly connect outside the office as well.
  • Accommodation information can be maintained for employees willing to share rented flats with their colleagues.

The purpose behind sharing the tips for a modernised intranet is to help realise that, as much as the technologies, products and services offered by a company need to be frequently upgraded, it is imperative to keep upgrading the intranet system as well, to keep up with the needs of the hour.

It is a lifeline for the employees within your organisation and if they are happy, content and connected, your business is bound to grow in your desired direction.

So what do you think about modernising your intranet? Have you planned to do it soon? Please share your comments below. Thanks for reading!

ASP.NET vs PHP for Enterprise Applications

PHP open source and ASP.NET have been major contributors to web development for many years now and continue to be used for their flexibility and other strengths in the programming arena.

In our experience as knowledgeable website development agency, we are often asked by clients whether we feel they should move forward with an ASP.NET or a PHP based solution for their project.

ASP.NET was designed as an enterprise wide solution platform

In response to this question there are a few points that we like to make clear to clients who ask for our opinion.  But before we get started in our exploration of these two powerful platforms, it’s important to understand that PHP was originally built as a platform for building Personal Home Pages.

PHP was designed to be a web language, more than an enterprise wide solution platform. ASP.NET was designed as a platform for enterprise wide solutions and therefore was built for scalability and to be robust.

One is open source and the other is from Microsoft

First of all we mention the fact that ASP.NET is produced by Microsoft and PHP is an open source product. Quite often the client hasn’t got a lot to say about that. After all, it’s not really as important as what the difference are between them when it comes to areas such as:

  • Security
  • Features
  • Whether it’s possible to extend
  • Average development time
  • Frameworks
  • Cost

PHP is available as an open source product and therefore does not come with the background support that ASP.NET is provided with. The latter not only has Microsoft user support available with it, but also potentially a more structured developer culture that we can expect so see associated with MS products.

Regarding the first three points. They are actually remarkably similar in performance of them. Similar results are possible with either platform. Good security is down to the work of the programmer, they need to ensure that the application is secured well and safe.

The big differences between ASP.NET and PHP

The big differences lie more within these areas:

Microsoft ASP.NET is equipped with just several frameworks just as PHP open source is.  The big difference lie in the requirement in question. On a case to case basis, we feel, one framework is better suited to a project than the other. We have the experience to be able to advise on this

Scalability works better in ASP.NET in our experience with smaller projects working better in PHP. In fact PHP is good for start-up solutions whereas ASP.NET has industrial strength with many different features. If you’re looking for flexibility and scalability then go with ASP.NET.

With regards to average development time, it is sometimes more advantageous to use PHP. Very small projects can often be created faster on this platform as it’s easier to find web hosts and development machines are so very easy to set up.

Which programming knowledge does a company have access to?

One of our main considerations is whether a client wants to work with one type of technology stack vs another. They may have already invested in in-house programmers who have more knowledge and experience of one over the other.

In some cases, our clients prefer the stability that going with Microsoft offers. They will be able to gain support, look forward to upgrades and more if they go with ASP.NET. Some clients will prefer the idea of a product that is open source.

Our clients may well have Linux servers already set up what they want to use to their full capacity.  Of course, open source comes with little overheads in terms of cost due to it being free.

However, if our clients don’t know which they prefer, or come to the conclusion that it really doesn’t matter, then we will choose for them based on what we feel they will gain the most overall value from. We may even look forward to what else they may need in the future, and make the decision based on what makes sense.

A couple of our developers even have the viewpoint that it’s not so much a matter of ASP.NET vs PHP as more a case of PHP vs C# when it comes to programming. Now that C# has had optional parameters added in its version 4.0, then the advantage that PHP had over it is now defunct.  It’s possible to perform dynamically typed variables, which of course keeps the abilities of the language very flexible.

What about cost?

When it comes to cost, we feel that PHP is first over the line. Although it’s possible to run ASP.NET on Mono on a Linux server, it will not be without issues. However, Webforms (one of the frameworks of ASP.NET) can be run on SQL Compact and SQL Server.  Although we do sometimes use Webforms, we find that there is more control using ASP.NET.

Summary

In our opinion PHP is perfect for starter solutions, but if you are representing a large enterprise and are looking for a solution that is robust and capable to being scalable then we would recommend ASP.NET to you. We are fans of both as they both have their virtues. However, we would guide you based on what the future is for your project.

Which one do you prefer and why?