Umbraco is what you might call a classic system for web publication and presentation. For this reason it is often not associated with intranet use where functions such as decentralized administration, work group functionality, member management, document management and rights-based searching are among the most critical features. However, this does not mean that Umbraco cannot be used for intranets simply because all features do not appear out of the box in Umbraco. Whether Umbraco is the best choice for intranets therefore depends on which functional needs you have concerning your intranet.
Before a decision can be taken about which system is the right one for an intranet, it is important to consider the following domain terms: Internet, intranet and extranet, where the Internet is your public ‘window’ (open to everybody) and the intranet is closed (behind a firewall). An extranet is fairly similar to an intranet because parts of it are exposed publicly via the Internet.
However, today the boundaries between these terms change continously, which is why the distinction between an intranet and an Internet often gets difficult when you are to choose a platform for domains. There is also the large zone between the two domains, called the extranet, which grows increasingly significant as still more business processes move online and as the boundary between what is internal and what is external gets blurred.
A few more words about choice of system for an intranet and about whether Umbraco is the right choice: there is no permanent answer to this question. It depends on business requirements and on which technical features can support the intranet. However, it should be stressed that the system with the largest number of features is not necessarily the best choice. Rather, it is the system with the best long-term, flexible options in terms of supporting a need, either by having it built in generically or by offering an open model to be able to perform integration easily.
On the basis of the considerations above you could mention an example such as AD integration (Active Directory).This is built into SharePoint, but requires a bit of integration with Umbraco (custom user provider). However, you cannot make a comparison until you compare the other needs, and, obviously, important aspect such as license costs, speed, complexity, flexibility, etc. must be included. Basically, there is no answer to the question of which system is the best one, which leads us to the next obvious question after having chosen a platform: should you have one single system for managing the intranet, the extranet and the Internet?
One or more management systems
Any IT manager’s dream is consolidation on a single management system. A single system is easier to control than a few systems, the license fee is cheaper and it is easier to understand and creates fewer problems with integration – on the surface, anyway. The challenge known by most people who have tried tackling the problem is that internal and external needs are often very different. And then there are all the problems in between (the extranet) and the problem that a system may be perfect for one purpose, but is perhaps less advantageous in other ways.
When it comes to Umbraco, it is certain that it will often be a good choice for Internet if you can design it with the platform’s in-built limitations. In terms of the intranet and the extranet further analyses are required of needs and of the breadth of technologies that can be coupled with Umbraco in order to obtain the desired flexibility.
An example of Internet with Umbraco
We developed European Communication Office’s Internet, intranet and extranet portal based on Umbraco. The portal is a focal point in ECO’s daily work and has more than 3,000 visitors a day. A wide range of the various features that exist here (work groups, calendar and document library) exist also as standard in a string of classic intranet platforms such as SharePoint. But the problem here was that, if you are a political organisation, there are many procedural needs and content needs that require adaptation. The analysis showed that a system such as Umbraco is the most well suited one because Umbraco will not incur great license costs, is easy to adapt and lightning fast to integrate to.
BIOFOS is Denmark’s largest waste water company with 300 staff at three plants. We designed a mobile-optimised intranet for them by means of Umbraco, and we are currently designing their new website, which will be launched in 2018.
Based on their own ideas of how flexible business service should be provided for companies in future, Business Development Centre Central Denmark launched the digital knowledge-sharing platform ‘Mit.imidt’ in early 2018.
Compent has worked closely with Team Danmark since 2009 and has developed a wide range of internal workflow systems, a website and an intranet based on Uintra.
We work closely with FTFa. Most recently, we have worked on their new website, a key-it-in-yourself solution and an intranet based on Uintra/Umbraco.
We have been working on European Communication Office’s (ECO) extranet platform since 2010. The platform is based on Umbraco and supports thousands of stakeholders’ work with telephony and postal regulations related to 48 European countries.
The use of IT consultants is a big market and in many industries there is a consensus that this can be a good way to solve tasks that are beyond the primary competencies of the company or as a way to reach the goal faster in a project that have high priority. But the use of short-term on-site consultants is a risky affair if you have a longer term strategy and have a outright development project.
Every year the best Umbraco projects are elected at the Umbraco Codegarden conference and a total of 10 awards in various categories are awarded among several hundred projects. This year Compent won in the category Best New Tech with the Shamballa Jewels In-store Jewelry Designer.
We have just upgraded our internal baseline to Headless / .NET Core and will describe the main points for why you should consider Headless architecture for your next Umbraco project. A Headless CMS project means that the classic dependency between the CMS platform and the presentation layer have been removed. This means in practice that front-end is physically separate from the back-end, and you can therefore develop the presentation layer independently of the CMS platform version.
Something that characterizes many of the projects that we undertake for our customers is that they start from an existing project that has gone wrong. When a project has gone wrong, the reason may be misunderstandings between the former supplier and the customer about how the project was to turn out, that internal members of staff are not qualified in the field to which the project belongs, inadequate or poor technical implementation or perhaps simply deficient routines. It can be hard to tell if the problems are caused by one thing or the other without doing a thorough analysis, but if you go through the ten points below, it might be easier to obtain an overview of how problems may occur.
Many intranets are developed on Umbraco, but no standard platform has existed for a long time that you have been able to use from our.umbraco. With uIntra it has become easier to develop an intranet on Umbraco without having to start from scratch. A short while ago we placed version 0.2.3.7 on our.umbraco for free download. Among the new functions are groups, emoticons and comments on articles plus many small updates.