Online service's price is right, but it lacks some important capabilities.
For small companies and workgroups looking for a quick tool for sharing
information, Intranets.com (www.intranets.com)
has a broad set of features for collaborating online. However, although
its price is very affordable, Intranets. coms features can be somewhat
limited, and SSL security costs extra.
KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS
PRO: Puts broad range of applications in one Web-based application; offers good customization capabilities on main screen; synchronizes personal information with Outlook and Palm OS; databases can import and export data.
CON: Database application lacks view manipulation capabilities that businesses might want; enhanced security costs extra; e-mail feature set is limited.
EVALUATION SHORT LIST
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For a quick, simple way to help workgroups better share information without the hassle of installing and managing database applications, Intranets.com Inc.s namesake offering provides a basic service at an affordable price.
The Intranets.com services applications, which include personal information management, e-mail, document management, discussions and a database application, would also be of help
to a small company that lacks the IT staff or money to put these applications together in a networked environment.
Prices start at $9.95 per user per month and 100MB of storage; volume and nonprofit discounts can reduce the price to as little as $3 per user per month. We believe the service would also be a good fit for workgroups in larger organizations that need a quick solution for delivering any one of these applications.
In eWEEK Labs tests, the latest version of the Web-based collaboration service offered a good mix of applications and a basic level of information and application customizations. However, despite being able to customize much of our Intranets.com intranet, we found some of the features lacked capabilities and customization options that many companies would want.
In addition, we would not recommend the Intranets. com service as a solution for any use that requires strong security: Because it resides outside the firewall, an intranet is one disgruntled employee away from being compromised. Furthermore, we could not monitor or block the domains from which users accessed our intranet.
In tests, we configured the main user screen to include a wide range of information, from the user calendar to announcements and messages regarding content updates on our intranet.
Configuring the database application proved straightforward in tests. However, although we could adjust the order of fields in the form, we couldnt adjust their placement on the screen.
The document management application worked well in tests. Intranets.com has improved the services search capabilities to include full text searches. The document manager also supports Web Folders, so we could edit Microsoft Corp. Office documents from within our intranets document database.
Intranets.com users might be more comfortable relying on desktop applications such as Office to manage personal information. They have that option because the service synchronizes data with Microsofts Outlook and devices running Palm Inc.s Palm OS.
Intranets.coms Webmail client and storage capabilities are limited. The client does not have the look of an integrated application, and it limits users mailboxes to 5MB of storage.
The services user management features let us effectively manage access to information in our intranet. Adding session security via SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) costs $300 more per year.
Technical Analyst Michael Caton can be reached at michael_ firstname.lastname@example.org.