Extranets: how to maximize the relationship with your external contacts

“Where intranets embrace employees within a company, extranets extend outwards to offer similar functions to those working closely with the business but separate from it.”

Developments in the digital workplace mean that the way we work with third parties has evolved. As work continues to improve the relationship and experience of customers and employees, there is a much higher expectation of providing a service to your external contacts too. With the help of various technologies, the relationship between the organization and its partners, contractors, suppliers, and vendors gets ever closer.

What is an extranet?

The four main types of extranets

The benefits of an extranet

Extranets enhance knowledge sharing

How do you share information with your clients, vendors, or supplier at the moment? For many organizations, it is through email, which is both unreliable and fragmented. While some emails get lost and deleted, others contain data too large to send. Some emails can get overlooked; others ignored. Basically, in terms of business interactions, emails should be given a wide berth. Through the use of an extranet, all information required is accessible and in one place. Easy search allows you to find older information, and there’s no need to request resends.

Extranets provide safety and security

Extranets are one of the most secure ways of keeping documents and data safe. By providing SSL encryption, you can control access permission, limit user controls, and provide an audit trail. This trail can display the activity of each user, so you can see who accessed what at any time.

Extranets enable collaboration

There’s a wide variety of extranets available some of which, depending on your requirements, can act as easy project management software. With all the information and tools required, users can access it from wherever their location is. Admin can assign and manage tasks, and documents can be uploaded, downloaded, stored, and edited. You can also allow chat to have quick catchups and updates, and contact individuals or teams to ask questions or relay information.

Extranets can provide live data feeds

If you’re using your extranet as collaborative software, there is an obvious requirement for a live data feed. Extranets have the benefits of using real-time data to allow the live tracking of every transaction, order, and delivery of items along the chain. This is essential for organizations who undertake operations with several different parties. The benefits of this include cost savings, greater quality of service, and efficiency in business processes.

How an extranet can help your organization

Extranets in action: Interact Community is our extranet platform that allows us to communicate with our customers and provide them with news and updates. Furthermore, our customers write blogs detailing their work, ask questions and share knowledge with other users.

But what do our customers think?

“Interact is very good at keeping in touch with its customers. The community approach runs deep through the entire product.”

The Community scores well in every survey we run, and we’re proud that it proves essential to so many of our customers. The feedback we receive underlines the value in the variety of ideas, challenges, and range of customers involved. We have businesses in different countries talking with one another, swapping tips and receiving up-to-the-minute information on all developments with Interact software.



Interact is a complete intranet solution that connects enterprises all over the world. We power internal communications.

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Interact is a complete intranet solution that connects enterprises all over the world. We power internal communications.