Chapter 35

Using an Intranet to Disseminate Internal Corporate News


Keeping everyone in a corporation up to date about the latest news in the corporation is a never-ending, often impossible task. It's particularly difficult in large corporations with many departments and divisions that are geographically separated.

There are many ways that intranets can be used to solve the problem and keep everyone in a corporation informed about corporate news. Corporations can post their company newsletter on intranet Web pages. Because Web pages can be updated so much more quickly than newsletters can be created-and because there is no delivery time involved-the newsletter can be far more up to date than traditional printed newsletters and, with no printing and mailing costs, Web newsletters are less expensive, too.

Intranets can also be used to deliver literally up-to-the minute news flashes. The Java programming language can be used to create news tickers that can flash the breaking news across the top of the newsletter home page. Intranet broadcast technologies can be used that will send out a news flash to everyone connected to the intranet that will run on top of whatever applications they're currently running. And electronic mail can be broadcast to everyone inside a company with important news, such as press releases, or news about quarterly corporate earnings.

An intranet can also deliver more in-depth information in more involving ways. Audio clips and video clips can be delivered via streaming technologies, so that people can listen to interviews with corporate executives, for example, or see news reports about the company.

An intriguing technology for delivering news to intranets is so-called offline news readers. With this technology, corporate news-and news from the outside world-can be delivered to everyone on an intranet.

Offline news readers work on a client/server model. An offline news server carries the latest corporate news. To update the news on the server, someone only needs to fill out an HTML-based form, and that information is put into the proper format for broadcast. Only certain people on the intranet are allowed to update the news on the server.

Since people on an intranet may want to read news about the outside world, not just about the company itself, the offline news server also has on it that kind of news as well. The server gets this news by connecting to another news server on the Internet, which sends it the information.

To read the news, people need an offline news client. The client connects with the server at intervals set by each user, and downloads the news. People can customize their news feeds to get only the kind of news they're interested in. Once the news has been delivered to their local computer, they can use the client software to read the news. They can also click on links in the news stories that will launch a Web browser, and then contact a site that has more information about that particular story.

Disseminating Corporate News and Documents via an Intranet

It's often difficult for people within a corporation to keep abreast of company news. Using a variety of technologies, intranets can broadcast and make available the most up-do-date corporate news. Pictured here is the way that our fictional record company CyberMusic uses their intranet to deliver corporate news and information.

Using Offline Web Readers to Deliver Corporate Information

One way that intranets can be used to easily and effectively deliver corporate news to people is to use so-called "offline readers"-software that allows people to read news by having it automatically retrieved by their own computer, instead of forcing them to connect to a Web or other intranet server to get the information. Pictured here is a popular offline reader called PointCast. Offline news readers like PointCast can retrieve intranet news as well as news from the Internet.