BT offers shrink-wrapped intranet

BT today upped the ante in the intranet market by announcing Intranet Complete, a fully managed service that involves very low capital invetsment.

In association with MCI, Concert and Microsoft, BT will offer training, hosting, management and support for companies making the intranet switch. Payment is by number and length of connections and a quarterly rental fee. BT estimates that costs will typically range between £200 and £1,200 per user.

BT said key advantages of the service would be hassle-free installation of internal directories, e-mail, closed user groups, searching, workgroup collaboration and corporate information management. Customers will optionally be able to cherry-pick consultancy from Anderson Consulting, applications from SAP and services from Comptacenter

Intranet Complete will initially be offered in about 12 countries including the US where it will be sold as part of the networkMCI Intranet Complete suite. A global sales effort will follow early in 1998.

BT director of multimedia and Internet services Rupert Gavin said that BT and MCI are uniquely positioned to offer intranet services. Together their backbone services carry about 40 per cent of the world's Internet traffic, he claimed. Gavin also quoted Zona Research statistics that forecast 40 per cent of UK large businesses will have intranet access by 2001.

"The intranet offers a different way to work; a common culture that moves users from 'push' where they are waiting for information, to 'pull' where they are encouraged to find the information that is relevant to them," Gavin said.

Wayne Donaldson, product manager for BT intranet services, said that a managed service is what is required to encourage intranet services. "Today people wanting to set up on the intranet maybe need software from IBM, firewalls from Sun, servers from Compaq and a carrier like Mercury. Today there's a simpler way that takes the confusion away."

IPC Magazines, British Gas and P&O have been among pilot sites. Jeremy Hughes, strategic planning manager at IPC Magazines said: "I've tried EIS and Lotus Notes and said 'no thanks'... Through this partnership you get highly skilled people. I haven't had to appoint DNS or TCP/IP experts or make a big capital investment."