Intranets: The price of popularity: Page 2

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Lessons learned about scaling intranets

Keeping an intranet from devastating IT resources takes planning and a readiness to respond to the unexpected.

Recognize weak links. At the Boeing Co., the day that McDonnell Douglas employees got connected to the Boeing intranet, the top-level boeing.com site "was brought to its knees" by the number of mouse clicks and had to be rehosted on a more robust server.

Set expectations. Terrie Bousquin, director of the judicial information system for the New Mexico Supreme Court system, notes that once users get a taste of the intranet they "come up with ideas faster than we can deploy them."

Solving problems is easy, defining problems is hard. At Partners Healthcare, the biggest intranet challenge is integrating the affiliation of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and North Shore Medical Center. Ethan Fener, corporate manager for information systems at Partners, says the next step in rolling out intranet functionality will be harnessing the intranet to IT needs--using it as a sophisticated tool for monitoring and maintaining diverse and geographically separate hardware and software. This will help ensure that the whole IT environment is better understood before further functional expansion.

Don't guess, test. Paul Roach, with Northern Telecom Limited in Richardson, Texas, is the senior quality assurance specialist at the company. He says that server crashes caused by excessive user demand are the number one intranet bugaboo. "Whatever the real world is, the intranet must be able to stand up to it," he says. That's where testing tools provide an edge.



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