WordPress-Corporate Intranet

Having explored wordpress on numerous occasions, it is only fair to make a case for wordpress as a suitable alternate to opensource and free corporate intranet. It is easy to install, manage and scale due to it’s strong & intuitive design. One of the most important feature about wordpress is it ability to improve its usability by adding new plugins. One needs to simply get into the search section and pour your thoughts on what you expect and a plugin would be available in some form or shape. Following is a set of useful tools that could be used to create a corporate intranet within minutes. It is important to note that while the platform and technology will be available quickly, more focus is required to enhance it’s adoption within the corporate given that there are enormous other distractions.

One of the striking features of wordpress is – Multisite. Earlier wordpress had two installations – WordPress for single sites and WordPress MU for Multiple Sites. Post 3.0 version, wordpress developers made lives easy of so many wordpress users. They merged the two versions and made multisite as feature in the standard wordpress installation which one needs to simply enable for converting a single site wordpress into a multisite wordpress installation. It is important to note that all hosting providers do not provide multisite capabilities as it is a resource hungry implementation. This article will not get into details of implementing multisite but just highlight the key feature of multisite. There is a lot written on multisite and when a multisite needs to be used on the internet and one should google it to determine what is the best strategy that suits you.

To start, with any corporate would like to have following in their intranets without major hassles. With respect to their needs, the wordpress implementation can be enriched to add more and more features.

  1. Infrastructure
    1. Software Licensing – WordPress works best on Linux which is open source and free. Some basic requirements are
      1. Operating system – Supports Linux and Windows. As usual my favorite is Ubuntu 12.04 server with 64 bit architecture. It is a fast, secure and one get lots of community help
      2. Web-server – Apache 2 – Simple to configure, canonical has made it easy to configure and works seamlessly
      3. Database – MySQL.
      4. Miscellaneous – Other dependencies such as php5, php5-ldap, php5-imap will be required to be installed before implementing wordpress
      5. WordPress – Freely downloadable from http://www.wordpress.org website
    2. Hardware
      1. Depending on the size and complexity the hardware needs to be sized. If you are going to expose the intranet to internet separate application and database servers are recommended with application server residing in the DMZ and database server and uploads folder residing behind the firewall.
      2. For a 100 people intranet – a standard desktop machine with 2 GB Ram is sufficient, however for more complex and more number of users – a enterprise class server with 8 GB or 16 GB RAM and quad core processor is recommended. If you have more videos and pictures, you may want to add storage
    3. Backups
      1. Backing up MySQL database and the wordpress folder is sufficient if you are not doing virtual hosting, else apache config files will be required to be configured.
      2. MySQL replication (read one of my blogs) is simple to configure and should be implemented to ensure the database is available at all times.
  2. Intranet functionality
    1. Authentication – expandable using a standard plugin
      1. There are several plugins available for LDAP and Activie directory integration. These plugins support SSO which means users may not be required to login
      2. SAML 2.0 Single Sign-On – This plug-in will allow users to login without the users requiring to enter the userid and password based on active directory authentication
      3. Standard LDAP authentication for Openldap are also available. Other providers like google, openid etc are easily available and can be installed through the plugins functionality
    2. Social Network – expandable through a standard plugin
      1. Buddy Press – This is my favorite one. This simply changes the way wordpress works. It converts a simple website into a social framework, something similar to a facebook and twitter. It allows people to build their profiles, networks and enhance collaboration. This is one of the best open source free applications I have come across. Another one which works good is ‘Status Net’. I will not talk about it here though.
      2. Private Messaging, groups and blogs are easy to create and will help corporates to enhance employee interactions and social quotient
    3. Training – expandable through a standard plugin
      1. WP Course Manager – manage various training courses and registrations
      2. teachpress – another plugin to manage courses and registrations
      3. JW Player – For embedding videos or playing training video streams within the course
      4. Watu – Create online exams, quizzes to test the training effectiveness
    4. Video & Picture galleries – expandable using plug-ins
      1. Ultimate Video Gallery – Play your own videos, corporate videos, youtube or vimeo videos
      2. Pinterest Gallery – works with native wordpress gallery.
      3. Envira Gallery Lite – Another plug -in for creating a picture gallery
    5. Blogs – Blogs is the strength of wordpress. It is born with blogs
    6. Wiki – Pencil Wiki is a feature rich plugin to enable users create and modify wikis
    7. Document Management – expandable using plug-ins
      1. SP Client Document & Project Manager
      2. WP Document Revisions
      3. BP Group Documents
    8. Help-desk – expandable trhough plug-ins
      1. WordPress Advanced Ticket System – Create and manage tickets with analytics
      2. Scebo Customer Support
      3. wpsc support tickets
    9. Job Boards
      1. WP- Job Manager – simplest and easy to use
      2. Jbo Manager by Smart Recruiters – Feature rich and provides variety of options, widgets, control
    10. Event Management
      1. Events – A simple plugin to display up-coming events in the sidebar
      2. WordPress Events Calendar – A full functional calendar with the ability to display events calendar for the month or specified period
      3. Event Organizer –  A full fledged event organizer with the ability to invite, integration with Google Maps and detailed view of agenda etc
    11. Project Management
      1. WP Project Manager
      2. Easy Project
      3. Flowboard- Kanbann

With so many plugins and scalability, wordpress makes a competitive alternative to any commercial or complex CMS. More and more plugins keep getting added and existing plugins keep getting updated and that just keeps enhancing the functionality of the intranet.

Enjoy managing corporate intranet using wordpress.

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2 thoughts on “WordPress-Corporate Intranet

  1. I have used many CMS portals including wordpress. There are many plugins for wordpress that can make the CMS rich and enterprise worthy. Some of the plugins that you have missed out are for project management, calendar, document management. Do you have any thoughts around that? I am keen to explore some plugins myself,

    Also the mobile client for buddypress is quite ordinary. It just lets you have a basic social network presence.

    • Hey Norah – thansk for writing. Yes I agree the buddypress client is quite basic and is a shame that no one has put any effort. But then the paid CMS tools dont have a decent mobile client. Atleast buddypress has something. But yes, I agree it is quite basic.

      The wordpress system has so many extensions that it is impossible to cover every business need in the blog. But yeah, I agree the one you have highlighted are quite important. So here are a few that I saw and found good. But I am sure if you search you will bunch of tother plugins that make it more interesting.
      For Project Management – wp-project
      For calendar: wp-calendar
      For document management – I honestly did not find any free plugin useful or worthwhile. None of these extensions made their way to my blog.

      Honestly, thanks for your feedback. Gives so much encouragement when someone reads your work and thinks it to be worthwhile to comment on.

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