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Strategic Planning for Web Technology

Strategic Planning for Web Technology

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Strategic Planning for Web Technology

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  1. Strategic Planning for Web Technology David Strom david@strom.com Port Washington, NY, USA +1 516 944 3407

  2. Agenda • Intranets and extranets • Guide to push technologies • Managing your web site • Introduction to eCommerce Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  3. Topic 1: Intranets and extranets • Intranets everywhere • Distinguishing characteristics • Factors that make a successful extranet • Tax News Network case study Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  4. Intranets • Intranets everywhere • Role of Lotus Notes • How to pick the right products • Other technologies required • Decision points on your first Intranet • How to manage the transition Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  5. Intranets everywhere • Mentioned hundreds of times in trade pubs • Now a "section" in most trade mags • Weekly conferences • Fedex example getting tiresome Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  6. Some definitions • Internet tools among family • Internet in a bottle • Non-public website for one corporation • Joy, concern, and sheer terror Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  7. How Intranets benefit corporations • Quick to deploy and assemble • Easy to mix and match components • Promote many-to-one communications • Enhance work flows • Fit in on both back end (data store) and front end (query) Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  8. Differences between Intranet and the Internet • Internal access prime reason • Uses same technologies but for different reasons • Manage work flow and discussions, not just billboards • Group and project focus, rather than on the individual Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  9. Differences between Intranets and extranets • I: control desktop and plug-ins • E: communicate with customers • I: got lots of bandwidth to burn • E: better reach and influence • I: mailing lists and newsletter metaphor • E: TV channels Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  10. Is Notes an Intranet spoiler or promoter? • (+) Domino a good way to give inbound web access • (+) A way to organize your web presence • (-) Its own universe still • (-) SMTP mail gateways only lately decent quality Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  11. How to pick the right products • First, pick your OS platform • Then, determine how you will create content • Finally, where is your data and how will you get to it? Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  12. Picking the right Intranet platform • Ease of setup/configuration • Functionality of OS • Integration into existing file/print services • Scalability Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  13. Availability of third-party tools • Content creation tools stink • 16 bit vs 32 bit • Play catch up w/ new HTML tags: even Netscape Gold! • WSYIWIG isn't always desirable • Graphic editors required highly skilled operators Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  14. Where is your data? • Front end: what are your users comfortable with? (Windows!) • Back end: where does the data live and thrive? • Infrastructure: what connects them? Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  15. Information delivery tools mediocre • Not everyone is networked • Remote access still tough • Mail replication issues • Dealing with dial-up parameters • IP not on every desktop • Gateways are still a bad word Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  16. Choices for deploying enterprise IP • Every desktop, router, server • Only on NetWare servers (IP gateways) • Migrate to NT servers • What about SNA? Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  17. "IP everywhere" issues • Deploy DHCP • Standardize on applications (mail, web, news) • Or buy a suite Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  18. SNA IP issues • TN3270 • Or inside web browsers (Simware, Attachmate) • Moving information out of the host • via HTML • via SQL Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  19. Other Intranet technologies • Web servers, of course • Graphics editor • Link checkers • Tracking visitors • Search tools • Animation tools Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  20. Recommendations • NT: WebSite, IIS web servers • Unix: Netscape web server • WebTrends for tracking visits • Verity's Topic for searching • Hold off on animation for as long as you can Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  21. Decision points on your first Intranet • What is your purpose? • Who is responsible for content? • How will servers be administered? • How do they scale? Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  22. How to manage the transition • IP deployment • Open systems expertise • Role of IS management Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  23. What is your open systems expertise? • How much Unix? • Does your email run SMTP? • Where is your data stored? • How much HTML? Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  24. Who takes the lead? • IS • Non-IS • Technical vs political decisions Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  25. For more information • My own Intranet Information Page: www.strom.com/pubwork/intranet.html Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  26. Factors that make a successful extranet • Audience • Purpose • Design • Community • Architecture choices Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  27. Know your audience • Executives, middle management, staff? • How well do you know these people? • Intended for your customers? New prospects? Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  28. Understand your purpose • Increase sales • Increase visibility • Communicate with clients • Enhance client relationships Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  29. Consider these design points • Keep the user in mind at all times! • Ease of access • Minimum of clutter, gratuitous graphics, menus • Site maps readily available • Browser version, plug-in support • Wide or narrow, deep or shallow content • Membership or public access Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  30. Members-only access • Restrict to customers, staff, management • Keep competitors from downloading your customer file • Maintain customer privacy Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  31. Create layers of information • Different people need to know different things • Makes finding things simple • Match user with appropriate content Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  32. Create a sense of community • Send email to group periodically • Inform users of new content on site • Take the right tone of voice in communications and content • Maintain discussion forums to engage user participation Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  33. Examine your web site from the end-user perspective • Can I really find the answers to my questions? • Do I get lost in web space? • Can I easily search the site? • Is the level of detail interesting and informative? • Will I come back to the site tomorrow? Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  34. Integrate any back end systems • Do you already have databases to publish? • Where do you maintain your customer lists? • Where do you maintain your content? Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  35. Choose the right path • Buy a turnkey system • Build in-house from scratch • Leverage existing IT infrastructure Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  36. Turnkey products • Document management systems • PC DOCS www.pcdocs.com • Notes-based add-ons • Domino www.lotus.com • Intranet software • Livelink www.opentext.com • Intranetics www.intranetics.com Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  37. Turnkey product issues • Expensive (US$50,000+) • Not easy to customize • Don’t always work for your application • Not always easy to use and setup • Read my own reviews at www.strom.com/pubwork/cworld.html Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  38. Example of extranet done right • Coopers and Lybrand Tax News Network • www.taxnews.com • article: www.datamation.com/PlugIn/issues/1997/november/11extra.html Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  39. Tax News Network • Audience: corporate tax professionals • Membership and staff sections • Public access to small portion of site Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  40. TNN fee structure • Public site is always free • Members get first month for free • Different tax association members get discounts Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  41. TNN content structure • Leverages existing Notes and Informix databases • Replication and authentication taken from existing IT applications • Staff authors documents as they did before the extranet • Builds upon earlier DOS-based BBS systems Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  42. Questions? Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  43. Topic 2: A guide to push technologies • Who’s left • Understanding the publishing process • Notable products • Microsoft, Netscape • Email is the answer, now what is the question? Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  44. My present experiences with push technologies • Used several push technologies since day 1 (11/96) to publish my own newsletter • Have uninstalled most of them • Write and edit for a living • Push CEO test: all opted for email Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  45. Who’s out • Ifusion • Intermind • Travelling Software • Individual, Inc. • Any off-line browser -- remember them? Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  46. Impact of push on your network • Bandwidth • Budget • Biology Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  47. Bandwidth • Need vendors’ proxy servers to really deploy push widely • PointCast Caching Manager, BackWeb server, etc. • Otherwise 20-30% of your bandwidth goes away! Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  48. Budget: push is pricey • Most products start at US$10k, and up for publishers • Microsoft, Netscape are “free” for clients • but then you have to configure and setup all your browsers • “User VAT” -- the more popular, the more they cost • Maintenance/support can cost +15% extra Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  49. Biology: the process of push • Mechanics of publishing your channel • Platforms supported Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.

  50. Understanding the publishing process • What is your business model? • How much gear is required? • What clients and servers supported? • What desktop software required? • What control do you have over update delivery? • What reports are available? Caracas 4/98 (c) 1998 David Strom, Inc.