General purpose, high-speed Internet access is rapidly becoming available and has become the defacto method for connecting your branch operations and home-based users to your INFONETICS server. Fast, inexpensive and easy to setup, Remote Internet Terminal Access (RITA) and it’s big brother Virtual Private Networking (RITA+VPN) has revolutionized connectivity. Remote Access, Limited Information (RALI) promises to do the same for building extranets to your most important customer/partners. Extranets is a generic term that describes the process of building special purpose methods of providing access to corporate database information directly to your most special customers. In our case, we’ll use the same tools that RITA does; general purpose Internet access combined with our pre-configured terminal emulator.
Here’s How It Works
Your customer simply starts their “RALI” program which automatically connects to your server, and logs in per the auto-login setup which was pre-configured for them. Once logged in, they have access to a typical INFONETICS menu, though limited to only those programs you wish to allow them.
For instance, they may have access to “Post Orders” with the ability to view things like their previous order history, purchasing totals, your inventory parts and quantities, as well as the ability to add new orders. They will not be able to see information for other customer ID’s, and they typically will not be allowed to change or void existing orders. Viewing inventory history is disallowed though as it would expose other customers information as well as purchasing history.
If you choose to give access to more information, you might consider allowing access to the “Quick View A/R Inquiry” report for payment history, as well as “Cylinder Master Report” and/or “Print Rental Invoices” for cylinder activity and rental billing history. “Serial Number Reports” can also be configured for RALI access.
What You Need
To offer RALI to your customers, you’ll need the following; First, Internet Access (INET) setup by INFONETICS with your static IP address, and either Remote Terminal Internet Access (RITA) or the more advanced/secure “VPN” version (RITA+VPN). Of course, you may already have these services up and running for your branch operations.
Then, you’ll need a copy of our PC/Networking software suite, INFONET-LX, for each RALI user.
Finally, you’ll need to decide the programs to which you will allow access, and have INFONETICS setup the appropriate menus and user login/passwords. W will pre-configure the INFONET-LX networking suite with your server’s static IP and auto-login information prior to installation by the end-user so that they can simply run the installation program on their PC and be up and running. You may wish to provide some on-site support to the customer, instructing them on how to use the INFONETICS programs they now have access to.
Not Web Browser Based
It is important to note that RALI does not use a web browser interface. Instead, RALI provides your end-user with the ability to directly access your server and run your INFONETICS software, albeit with limits on what data they can access. Since each end-user’s RALI must be specially configured and loaded on their PC, it is not intended as a general-purpose tool for your entire customer base.
As you can see, RALI offers extremely powerful ability for special customers to seamlessly access your data. This “value-added” service can solidify and enhance your relationship with these customers, giving them another outstanding reason to do business with you.