Sunday, March 11, 2007

CSI (not that one) Solves Intranet Puzzle

If it seems odd for a financial data processing company to be in the intranet business, that's because it happened almost by chance.

CSI, a financial services company based in Paducah, Kentucky, was having trouble getting its various office to communicate easily. It has more than 800 employees and offices in 20 states, so it needed a robust solution, plus one that was extremely secure due to the financial information the company works with.

After surveying the various intranet options on the market about 11 years ago, the people at CSI (which stands for Computer Services Inc. -- no relation to the TV show) decided it would be easier to use their own excellent in-house resources to build custom software. Then company managers could make sure it was built around the company's existing financial and management applications.

So they created a powerful and secure intranet, one that might have stayed in-house if CSI's clients hadn't seen it during meetings. Those clients liked what they saw and wanted similar intranets, so Web@Work entered the market around seven years ago. It's a hosted solution that runs on any browser. There's nothing to install, so buyers can have it running quickly.

Web@Work stands apart from competitors both for the extremely simply controls workers use to add information and for the useful variety of components it offers. While most of the nearly 160 client companies that use it are in the financial sector, other companies appreciate its ease and security.

Web@Work offers an extremely basic interface. Administrators have the option of adding various "pods," which bring specific features, to their sites. (See screen shot below.) There are pods for calendaring, group messaging, private messaging, task management, and more. You can even add a time clock module, so that hourly workers punch in and out from the intranet, not a time clock in the break room.

The time clock can tie into your existing payroll application, and the results can be viewed online by management, human resources, and the employees themselves. Adding a time clock to your intranet provides a compelling reason for workers to visit the intranet daily.

Workers have a lot of leeway to post new information with Web@Work, and the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) input form lets them see exactly how their postings will look. It's robust, but simple enough for even non-technical workers to use. Departments can be responsible for adding their own content, do there's no reliance on IT staff to post new information.

Web@Work's features can help you meet regulatory requirements and simplify office procedures. The HR section can host new employee interview modules that collect information for HR records and satisfy new hire processing requirements. The site can also track vacation accrual, provide a time-off request module, track office supply and building maintenance requests, and provide remote access for traveling workers.

CSI has recently released version 4.1 of Web@Work, and new features include online collaboration options (to let people work together easily online), private messaging, and enhanced time-keeping features.