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What Joomla Extensions are needed to build an Intranet

Analyzing the functionality of Joomla 2.5 (and Joomla 3.0) I come to the conclusion that it has a very good engine, based on which to build the intranet site.

Technology platforms

Intranet technology platforms come in all types, sizes and expenses – commercial, open source, or a combination. Many however are built on content management systems (CMS). According to The Intranet 2.0 Global Study 2010, 77% of organizations use a content management system for their intranet. There are hundreds of solutions on the market, and not one solution owns 50% of the market (note that Microsoft SharePoint is present in nearly 50% of organizations, but does not power 50% of intranets. Some solutions are free to download (open source solutions such as Joomla), others are very expensive enterprise solutions that may cost millions of dollars to license and implement in large, complex enterprise scenarios (e.g. 100,000 employee bank).

Template is important

You should start from a template and it must meet at least three requirements:

  • Responsive Joomla Template - RWD layout will adapt to any screen resolution and device, all the way down to mobile, such as the iPad, Samung Galaxy Tab or iPhone. Adapting a design to be responsive after it's fleshed out for a fixed-width screen is not an easy task. The best approach is to start thinking about how to make your theme responsive as you're designing and building or just buying it, and testing it at various screen widths as you go. According to "Intranet Design Annual 2011" - in 2010 only 30% of winning intranets had a mobile version. In 2011 up to 60% of winners had a mobile intranet. Doubling in one year is truly a sign that mobile access is a huge trend right now.
  • Corporate Identity (CI) - a corporate identity template is a set of pre-designed objects which determines the style of any company. The corporate identity creates an impression of the company without a single descriptive term. That's why Joomla template should meet the CI assumptions, both in terms of colors, fonts and other elements specified in the documentation. So you have some work to fit the style of template.
  • User Experience Design - An intranet is no use if it's uninspiring or difficult to use. Invest in user experience design. Putting a significant amount of effort and resources into user experience design will minimize risks around user adoption. Put more simply, probably many people in your organization do not have any desire to use technology for the sake of using technology: they simply want to find the information they are looking for and complete the work they need to do. That's why you should put considerable effort into making things visually appealing and simple to use.

So grab a template, skin it for your purposes (customization can quickly be done by changing the CSS) and you’re off.

Intranet is for employees not only for their webmasters

Intranets give employees the ability to organize, manage, store, access, collaborate and share company information, content, and computing resources. Remember that the intranet will be your company online work environment. Staff will be required to work in this environment. The intranet will consolidate communications and will help staff share and collaborate to meet business objectives. Information will be organised to support work and to make it more efficient. Currently, I can safely say that the intranet is no longer a place to simply receive information. Intranets are interactive, inviting employees to participate and share knowledge. Sites encourage engagement — with the site, with the company, and with each other.

The strength of CMS is its extension

Now you can find some extensions to add more functionality to your Joomla installation:

  • Component to manage staff absences - you might have a problem with getting this extension, in Poland, only one company he created and offers its distributions.
  • Calendar component & module
  • Booking component & module
  • Document management component
  • Gallery component
  • Project Management solution
  • Polls
  • Form builder with professional features
  • FAQ component
  • Randomize module
  • Comments component
  • Search module or module with articles filter - effective search is an important component of the overall user experience and a good quality search solution is the cornerstone of an effective intranet. Search module is critical to intranet success, especially if in database is a lot of information.

The golden rule concerning return on investment (ROI) is: benefit is in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes intranets return quantifiable results (though not often) and sometimes they result in softer impacts such as increased use or user satisfaction.

Efforts to improve the intranet should be done regularly and it should focus on making work easier and not the other way around. Selecting the right CMS for the business can provide a unique competitive advantage.

Ivo Valkov

I'm a front end developer. I love creating things, playing football, snowboarding and so on. I also hope you like all our stuff. We started using Gantry for our projects and honestly, we love it!