Tools for Building an Internet/Intranet

Whether an organization is building an Internet or an intranet setup the technology is basically the same. Vendors have made it increasingly easy to create both types of applications. Some vendors are offering intranet "bundles" that include the necessary hardware software and peripherals.

Overall vendors are rendering once-arcane Internet products intranet user-friendly. And federal users are responding to this intranet-in-a-box simplicity vendors report.

"The business is booming " said Peter Thorp federal manager at Netscape Communications Corp. Netscape launched its federal operation 18 months ago with one sales person: Thorp. Since then federal sales have grown 2 000 percent and the federal group employed five sales representatives as of late October.

Thorp said federal customers initially purchased the company's browsers and have progressed to server and applications products.

Vendors are also doing brisk business in server hardware. Skip Trahern a federal integrator representative at Hewlett-Packard Co. said intranets and the Internet are helping to fuel demand for servers which he characterized as "one of the hot spots in the federal marketplace." HP markets several models of the Unix-based HP 9000 Series and its Intel Corp.-based NetServer family as intranet servers.

John Pignatelli director of government sales at Net-Manage Inc. said he has not seen the intranet sales boom for his company's TCP/IP products but is gearing up for 1997. "We're aggressively going after it." The company has lined up subcontracts on several federal programs.

Vendors said prospects look solid because users are attracted to the improved ease of installation and use of their intranet offerings.

Intranet technologies have been - and are - more mature than other emerging technologies that have come along in recent years they said.

Vendors are selling into a market that is ready to implement the new technology.

In fact many federal agencies have TCP/IP-based networks in place among other intranet underpinnings.Mike Sheehan director of Lotus Development Corp.'s government sales and marketing said more than half of the agencies his company works with already have the requisite technical infrastructure to install an intranet. "A third will be up to speed within six months while the remaining agencies may be an additional six months behind " he added.

Gerber is a free-lance writer based in Kingston N.Y.

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