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Unlocking Efficiency: 11 Ways an Extranet Transforms Businesses


Are you looking for a way to streamline communication with your business partners and customers? An extranet could be the right solution for you. It is an enterprise-grade private network solution that provides several advantages for businesses, including:
  • streamlined processes
  • improved security
  • increased productivity 
  • better customer service 
  • electronic data interchange
​​This article will explore the advantages of using an extranet. Whether you own a small business or are part of a large company, an extranet can help you improve communication and enhance your relationships with external stakeholders.
Keep reading to find out how an extranet can transform your business.

What is an Extranet?  

​​An extranet is a private network that goes beyond an organisation’s internal network. An extranet provides a platform for companies to collaborate and share information with their external stakeholders without compromising the security of their internal systems.

An extranet is typically accessed through a secure login system and can be customised to meet the specific needs of the organisation and its external users. 

Extranets are commonly used in professional services, healthcare, and public sector organisations, where secure communication and information sharing are essential.

If you’re further interested in finding out how the extranet works, check this out: 

Uses of Extranet? 

Extranets have several use cases, which include: 

Collaboration with External Partners 

Extranets are helpful for collaborating with external partners such as suppliers and contractors. They allow for secure sharing of information, data, and documents. For example, a company can use an extranet to share product designs with suppliers or collaborate on a joint project with a partner company. 

 Customer Service 

Extranets are widely used in customer service. Companies use an extranet to allow customers to track their orders, access product information, or submit a support ticket. These features improve customer satisfaction and reduce the workload on customer service staff. 

 

Extranet graphic

Sales and Marketing 

Businesses involved in sales and marketing use extranets to share sales and marketing information with external partners or customers.  

Extranets in this field can be used to provide distributors with sales training or share promotional materials with customers. 

Remote Access 

Extranets can be used to provide remote access to internal systems and resources for employees working remotely or in the field. This allows secure access to company resources such as databases, documents, and applications. 

 For example, a salesperson can use an extranet to access customer information while on the road, or a remote worker can access company files from home. 

 Supply Chain Management 

Extranets can manage supply chain operations such as inventory management, order tracking, and shipping. This allows for real-time tracking of inventory levels and order statuses, which helps to streamline supply chain operations and reduce costs. 

Advantage of Extranet? 

Extranet Advantages Inforgraphic
Extranet Advantages Infographic

 

1) Increased Security and Privacy 

Data security has never been more important than today. Since 2022, Brits have lost £3.9 billion to cyber fraudsters.  When sharing sensitive information online, it’s important to ensure the information is shared with only authorised users. 

Extranet software, with confidentiality, enables secure online collaboration between you and your partners. It protects you by encrypting shared data to prevent security breaches. To limit who can access sensitive information, you can use access control. 

 2) Utilise the Benefits of the Cloud

With the cloud adoption rate in the UK at 94%, your project extranet will likely also be hosted there. 

Many organisations choose to work with the cloud due to its flexibility. With the cloud, you can work anytime and anywhere by accessing the internet and opening an internet browser. This allows you and your colleagues to access and give feedback on documentation at suitable times. You won’t need to arrange meetings that don’t suit everyone’s schedules. 

The cloud can help you stay ahead of the game. It provides you with instant access to your work documents and data. This can be particularly useful when working on collaborative projects. 

 3) Co-author and Comment on Documents 

When multiple people are working on one document, it can be challenging to track who made the last changes. This is particularly difficult when sharing documents via email. 

Project extranet software allows you to see the edits that have been made to a document and when they took place. This way, you can avoid creating a large chain of emails.  

Most platforms will also be able to provide you with a complete audit of all the changes. This is helpful for direct access when multiple people are editing the same document. 

 4) Improved Communication with Stakeholders

 When working on a project with different organisations, you want to make sure that you all work well together. This is not just for a great impression and the successful completion of the current project but to ensure that they will choose to work with you again in the future. 

Good communication forms the basis of this. Communicating with them is much easier because everyone works together in the same online workspace. You can message clients individually and create tasks so they can meet essential deadlines, streamlining your project management strategy. 

 5) Increased Productivity 

Collaborating with third parties, partners, suppliers, and customers can be challenging. Collaboration may lead to delays, higher expenses, and lower efficiency. 

Extranet solves these problems with its enterprise-grade secure network, which includes:  

  • streamline communication 
  • collaboration 
  • data sharing on one platform 

Parties can quickly and easily get the information they need from anywhere at any time. As a result, companies can achieve their objectives more efficiently than ever before. 

6) Improved Supply Chain Management

Supply chains are getting increasingly complex, leading to increased costs and inefficiencies. More efficient supply chain management is needed to save businesses time and money. 

Extranet’s secure platform lets you collaborate with suppliers faster. This will reduce administrative tasks, leading to a more efficient supply chain. 

7) Unlock Scalability

When companies grow, it’s easier to keep scaling up by spending more on infrastructure. This results in communication and collaboration bottlenecks, slow data sharing, and reduced productivity. 

Cloud-based extranets help businesses easily grow collaboration and data sharing using a centralised platform. It’s secure, scalable, and compliant. Businesses can add more partners without worrying about network limitations or infrastructure costs. Unlock your business’s potential with the extranet. 

8) Better Customer Service 

By providing customers with a secure and accessible platform for communication, the extranet can streamline the resolution of issues and concerns.  

Customers can access a range of support resources through the extranet, including FAQs, product documentation, and user guides. They can also submit support tickets and receive updates on the status of their requests.  

The extranet enables customers to connect with the right support team member quickly, ensuring that they receive prompt and accurate assistance. This results in faster response times and improved customer satisfaction. 

 9) Implement Flexibility

To stay competitive in business today, you must adjust to changes.  

Extranet enables remote access to servers, databases, and applications, enabling users to work from anywhere and anytime.  

This kind of mobility can help you adapt to changing market conditions, allowing your business to be more agile and competitive. 

 10) Improved Electronic Data Interchange

Extranet provides greater visibility into the EDI process, allowing trading partners to track the status of transactions, monitor inventory levels, and identify potential issues.  

It also enables trading partners to automate many of the manual processes involved in EDI, reducing the need for paper-based documents, manual data entry, and manual reconciliation. 

 11) Have access to your data 24/7

 Sharing and collaborating on data using traditional methods could be more efficient and reliable. The inaccuracies and delays may cause costly errors. 

With this secure platform, you can ensure your data is accessible only by authorised users. You can access and update data in real-time while having the ability to track changes for complete transparency.

Examples of organisations that use an Extranet

The UK National Health Service (NHS) 

The UK National Health Service (NHS) uses an extranet platform called FutureNHS.  

 The collaboration platform connects its more than 1.3 million workforces across health and social care organisations, places, and professions.  

FutureNHS collaboration Platform

The platform allows NHS employees to collaborate in virtual workspaces to make changes, improve, and transform the health and care landscape. 

 During the COVID-19 pandemic, the platform supported NHS members to collaborate at scale. By leveraging the extranet, the NHS connects people working in health and social care, accelerates their work, and ensures a safe and easy-to-use platform.  

 

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) 

 The Ministry of Defence uses an extranet to safely share information with the Defence industry, other government departments, and allied nations.  

 This extranet allows sharing of information classified up to ‘official-sensitive’ via the MOD’s private networks and the public internet.  

Ministery Of Defense Extranet Portal

By utilising ‘Defence Share’, the Ministry of Defence is securing its sensitive information and sharing it efficiently with those who need it. 

 

FedEx  

FedEx also uses extranet technology to connect with its customers and partners.

Fedex Client & Customer Portal

The FedEx extranet allows customers to: 

  • create and manage shipments 
  • track packages 
  • access shipping documents and invoices 

  FedEx partners can use the extranet to collaborate on shipments and access real-time delivery updates.  

Fedex collaboration platform

This technology has helped FedEx improve its operational efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance the customer experience by providing more visibility and control over the shipping process. 

 

Amazon 

Amazon uses an extranet for its suppliers and sellers. The extranet enables companies to create accounts, list their products, and make sales. 

Amazon Customer Portal

Authentication features ensure that only legal companies gain access to the extranet. The platform also helps suppliers and sellers connect with Amazon’s vast customer base. 

  By leveraging the extranet, Amazon can offer customers a wide range of products. Yet, it’s allowing suppliers and sellers to reach a global audience. 

 

Conclusion

Implementing an extranet can greatly benefit businesses in various ways. It provides streamlined processes, improved security, increased productivity, and better customer service.  

  The extranet provides a secure, real-time platform for collaborating with partners, suppliers, external parties, and customers, leading to improved relationships and streamlined processes. 

  Experience the power of secure online collaboration and communication with Kahootz’s extranet software today. 

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