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  Category: Articles » Business » Article

Extranets: Better than email for group collaboration

By Laura Schweiker

Companies increasingly prefer using an extranet over email to communicate with their team members, clients, and suppliers for document sharing because it ideally suits the groups engaged in collaboration; whereas, email is best-suited for one-to-one communication only. Generally email programs are ineffective to prioritize messages and attachments. In an email, everything arrives in the same place and in the same order in which it was sent. Whereas, with an extranet, all project related documents are automatically captured in a folder dedicated to the particular project.

For instance, if a company intends to send a power point presentation to a specific group engaged in a particular task through email, it has to break the presentations into small parts with each section attached to a separate email. The sections do not arrive at the same time, which could create confusions for everyone involved. However, with an extranet all these presentations can be sent at the same time, all intact, automatically filled into a single project folder with all the other related materials.

Moreover, extranets generate automatic email alerts, informing the recipients that the presentations are available; they also provide a comment function that allows each user to share their point-of-view.

Extranets can handle large files

Additionally, an extranet can handle any size of document for document sharing purposes. With e-mail, however, there is a risk of large attachments not passing through the company firewall. An extranet assures that important documents get to the right place, ready for instant response, and puts related documents and messages together. Thus, the budget, schedule, strategic plan, power point presentation, notes, and comments - all appear on the same page. There is no sorting required through a long list of unrelated emails.

Although an email is electronic and instantaneous, it is not a project management tool and does not offer many collaboration functions, whereas an extranet supports the concepts of an organization, workflow, and security. Therefore, extranets can effectively organize a company's marketing, external and internal communications.

A secure environment

In addition, many extranets are secured with 128-bit SSL encryption. Email, on the other hand, can be accessed by anyone and does not protect the confidentiality of a company's information.

About the Author
Laura Schweiker writes extensively on the use of technology by businesspeople and is an evangelist for extranet and intranet software.

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  Some other articles by Laura Schweiker
How to Share Important Documents in a Spam-Free Environment
How to Share Important Documents in a Spam-Free Environment An extranet is a web-based tool that provides a secure environment for the organization ...

Accelerate team collaboration: Communicate instantly with an extranet
Accelerate team collaboration: Communicate instantly with an extranet An extranet is a web-based tool that provides a secure environment for the organization and exchange of documents and information among a defined group of ...

Bringing Architects and Their Partners Together: The Power of a Secure Extranet
An extranet is a private network within which document sharing can take place by specific groups of users outside the organization through ...

The unhappy client: How to fight back and keep the business
Historically, there have been unavoidable situations that test an agency's client relationships. Today, there are tools that can minimize, or even eliminate these threats. As an ...

Surviving the RFP: How to answer the "how will you work with us" question
The very survival of your agency rests in your success in winning new business. Yet everyone hates receiving RFPs. Why? Because they require a huge investment in time and energy ...

Extranets for Litigators
Over the past few years, the use of extranets and intranets by law firms to share critical documents with co-workers, clients and co-counsel ...

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