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What Is An Extranet? 4 FAQson 4 September 2020Posted by Kevin Senior
Collaboration is the foundation of business success today. It’s how employees come up with great ideas, stay in touch with their coworkers and managers, and complete important projects. Underpinning modern collaboration efforts is technology, as 83% of professionals depend on it to work together seamlessly.
One example of collaborative technology is the extranet, a solution that serves as a communication bridge between an organisation and external parties. Keep reading to learn more.
4 FAQs About Extranets
1. What is an extranet?
An extranet is technology that connects internal members of your organisation with external parties such as customers and suppliers. Extranets enable third-party collaboration, providing your employees and clients a secure space to communicate, share important information, and stay on track with projects. Extranets are quite similar to intranets, except intranets focus on bringing together internal teams.
“An extranet is a convenient tool for companies that actively work with a large network of customers, vendors, or any other external user groups,” says Maxim Ivanov, CEO of Aimprosoft.
Extranet products and services come in many forms, but the most robust ones have features that enable you to:
- Communicate through instant and group messaging, or threaded discussions.
- Store and share files with relevant extranet members.
- Assign and track tasks across different projects.
- Control access based on role or by individual user.
2. What’s the advantage of using an extranet?
“One of the most important benefits of using an extranet is the increased productivity,” says Ivanov. This is because your team has direct, convenient access to the information they need to perform their work. Teams can also keep in contact with clients, discussing tasks and documents in context. “Instead of wasting time trying to find information buried in email chains, collaborators have what they need a few clicks away.”
Thierry Tremblay, founder and CEO of Kohezion, says extranets make sharing information and documents easy. “File storage and sharing are simple concepts at this point, but they can also be quite time-consuming without the right features. A well-organized extranet that keeps all your important documents in one place ensures employees and clients can quickly find what they need anytime.”
Security is another advantage of extranets. Tremblay notes how sensitive client documents are safe when stored in an extranet solution that employs security measures such as SSL encryption. “Bonus points for an extranet that provides access control and an audit trail of activity. These security aspects can help you identify the culprit behind a security breach.”
3. What are a few types of extranets?
Extranets can have different purposes. Here are a few examples:
- Project extranets. A project extranet gives internal team members and outside parties a dedicated space to share and collaborate on project-specific documentation.
- Membership extranets. If you have clients that maintain memberships with your organisation, you can have an extranet that provides them with forums to dialogue with one another about shared interests.
- Product support extranets. After clients have purchased products from your organisation, your extranet can support new users with instructional documentation and Q&A material.
4. What are some examples of extranet applications in business?
“At Kohezion, we use an extranet predominantly for customer service. Our customers can view their account information, communicate with our sales and service teams, and track orders,” says Tremblay.
With the shift to remote work, Tremblay’s extranet has also become an indispensable tool for virtual sales. “Our sales reps can deliver hands-on, interactive product presentations via an extranet regardless of location. It helps them initiate and close deals more efficiently.”
At Simple Life Insure, extranet usage is very similar. CEO Ty Stewart says customers use his company’s extranet to review their policies, send protected communications to his staff, and liaise with insurance representatives about purchasing additional coverage. “To stay competitive, we’ve expanded past these foundational features to enable customers to file claims as well.”
Whatever your line of business, you need an extranet solution that addresses both client and employee needs.
Help your clients and employees work together in perfect harmony with Glasscubes, a collaboration solution that acts as both an extranet and intranet. There’s no need to purchase one solution for employee collaboration and one for client collaboration—everyone can collaborate within Glasscubes through customized workspaces.
In Glasscubes, you can create as many workspaces as you like, and invite whomever you want. Create a workspace for one department, or for a specific project that includes the client team and selected marketing personnel. Whatever your unique need, there’s a workspace waiting for you.
With Glasscubes, you can:
- Store and share files in a secure location, complete with automatic version control. You can even create approval workflows and view clear audit trails of user actions.
- Assign and manage tasks for different members of the team, and track them to completion.
- Create customised workspaces for each project team in your portfolio. Team members can share resources and communicate with one another in their specific workspace, and you can access them all for easy oversight.
Glasscubes gives you the power to seamlessly collaborate with your internal and external teams. Start your free trial today.
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