Reader Tech Question #2

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One unresolved time-management issue related to our otherwise effective employee Intranet is content related to training and product updates. Do the participants on your panel have suggestions or experience in providing training/updates/content to credit union Intranets, and what are the risks if we allow the vendor access to the Intranet?

Dick McConnell, Aftech

AFTECH has a great deal of experience in providing both Client-driven and AFTECH-driven Internet-based training, software, and product updates. Clients, for example, have secure access to portions of the AFTECH website, and can download what they need when they need it. AFTECH also provides information, software, and training via e- mail, webinars, etc. Benefits to AFTECH and its Clients in reduced training costs, ease of access, and security of delivery have all been realized without introducing the security concerns involved in accessing a client's Intranet.

Kristi Lowell, RDS

Intranets are a great resource for employees and can certainly house information relating to all aspects of your organization, including training and product updates. While the intranet is a powerful way to communicate internally, it is not intended to remove people from the equation. For example, the intranet may be used as a central location for posting training guides, learning tutorials, and even serving as the medium for delivering webinar-style learning presentations. Posting documents online and expecting employees to train themselves, however, is not the best approach. Take into consideration the many learning styles of your employees and tailor training and communication delivery appropriately.

The very nature of an intranet is that it is internal to your credit union. Opening this medium to vendors shifts the intranet to an extranet and completely changes what and how proprietary information is delivered. Instead of providing vendors with access to an intranet, consider using your Internet site, with security controls that limit viewing or posting of information to designated individuals.

A common concern with intranets is making sure that employees use the information available. Ways to call attention to newly posted information include adding a new features section to the home page that contains a link to the most recently published documents, adding a notation of "new" next to items for the first several days they are online, and using intranet links within internal e-mail messages that communicate credit union news or product updates.

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