2. Mail: First Use of the Internet
3. Network Architecture
4. Usage Guidelines and Related Business Policy
5. Marketing Information Available on the Internet
6. Conclusions References
Over the years, we have seen several distinct phases of connectivity. Our first connection, via CSNET, was intended only to provide engineering research organizations with Internet mail capability. We quickly discovered that other organizations had use for the Internet mail facility, and we became painfully aware of the problems posed by multiple mail systems within the company which did not necessarily transfer mail among themselves or with the Internet .
On the heels of exponential growth in mail usage, access to information on the Internet became necessary for a variety of organizations within the company. Our efforts to make this possible led us to a better understanding of the need for an internal network infrastructure that would allow access to information from the desktop, and delivery of information to any desktop within the company. This understanding contributed in a major way to a corporate wide effort to build consensus on a network architecture and network management architecture for the company. These architectures featured technologies that were developed in the Internet environment and grew into corporate respectability. Our network today depends heavily on many of the vendor neutral, open standards such as TCP/IP, DNS and NTP that matured on the Internet. Likewise, hardware technologies such as routers play a similarly important role.
During our many years of Internet connectivity, we have seen that our Internet users want guidelines on how they should use the capabilities available to them. They very much demanded a set of Internet usage guidelines and that those guidelines be available in an easy to access form. This has led to an ongoing effort to define and update guidelines with material appropriate to escalating Internet usage. Having these guidelines in place and easily accessible has become critical as Internet usage became widespread.
In the last year or so, we have entered a new phase of our Internet connectivity. Intel's marketing organizations have decided to have a formal presence on the Internet: an Intel WWW server (http://www.intel.com). This has created a new set of considerations for planning and expanding the Corporation's Internet connectivity. It has also accentuated the importance of marketing's perspective and role in determining the content of such a server.
Perhaps the best indicator of the growth in respectability of Internet usage is seen in the actions of a certain senior technology manager. When we first connected to the Internet, this manager commented that he couldn't understand why we needed Internet connectivity, and wondered if it wasn't just another way for his engineers to get dates and play a wider range of computer games. We recently noted that this technology manager is now a user of a WWW browser, and that he no longer questions the utility of Internet connectivity.
By the end of 1988, our telephone charges for connectivity to the CSNET mail host were approximating the cost of a leased line. By 1989, we were allocating Internet charges among three different Intel divisions: Process Technology groups had joined Microprocessor and Systems development groups as major users of the mail facility.
During this period, Intel's internal network was evolving as four distinct networks , better connected in some areas, unconnected in others. There were four distinct mail systems, including one that could not send or receive mail from the Internet. Users demanding mail access to the Internet accelerated the deployment of mail gateways between major mail systems. In fact, demand for a gateway between one of our internal mail systems and the Internet turned out to be so large that we wrote our own gateway, anticipating the vendor's decision to subsequently offer such a gateway as a product.
Of the knowledge workers chosen for interviews, general characteristics were that those interviewed tended to be longer service employees (average time 9 years); most were male and most had come to Intel from school or another, non-semiconductor company. Other characteristics of the sample group: most wrote documents for internal rather than external audiences; almost all belonged to one or more professional or scientific organization; most (89%) regularly passed on library information to others and fewer (62%) regularly received information from others.
When the interviewees were asked about their sources for information, 23% identified USENET news as an important source. This placed USENET news on a level with literature searches and slightly above textbooks (19%), as a source for information. When asked what Internet services they used, 73.1% responded e-mail, 23.1% FTP, 11.5% said public domain software, 23.1% indicated USENET news, and 26.9% responded that they did not use Internet services.
Table 1 summarizes responses to a question which asked what services the interviewees would like the Intel Library to offer.
The interest in information was clearly growing, and the need for an internal network infrastructure that would permit access to information inside the company, as well as outside was becoming very apparent.
As one of several information service providers within the company, the Library's strategic direction and choices depended heavily on network bandwidth, network protocols and network management. Since the Library's knowledge worker profile effort had identified access to Internet information as a growing requirement, there were direct implications on the ease at which this could be accomplished in the absence of corporate-wide agreement on a network architecture vision and strategy.
Using this stakeholder information we gathered a significant amount of documentation relating to the existing network and plans for its evolution. We also identified a representative sample of individuals who would need to be interviewed for further information. Our consultants, who were very network knowledgeable, carried out these interviews in person, in so far as possible. This enabled us to collect a good deal of undocumented information and expert knowledge from technologists, users and business managers whose lives and work were affected by the network.
One of the attributes of the consultants with whom we choose to work was their knowledge of computing and communications, and their experience with scenario planning. Technical material gathered, as well as material gathered in interviews was used in building five possible scenarios of Intel's future network. While this was in process, we selected 40 representative members of the Intel network stakeholders' community. We included a sample of key technologists, managers, customers, product developers, and others who felt they had a major stake in the future of the Intel network. We tried to select representatives across divisions and geographical locations. We also identified 50 key network technologists from all areas of the company.
Subsequent to the formulation of the network strategic vision, a network architecture workshop was held with the key network technologists as participants. During this workshop, the consultants identified key decisions that would need to be made to implement the vision, and worked with the technologists to reach agreement on an implementation approach.
A network architecture document emerged from this effort. This document went through two full rounds of review and comment by over 100 people before resulting in a final document.
The result of this effort was an implementation plan for an enterprise internet based on TCP/IP, and many of the technologies and protocols familiar to us from the Internet. The Internet and the internet were beginning to merge.
Later, as the implications of employee posting of messages to USENET Newsgroups became more evident, a group concerned with external communication evolved a corporate business principle relating to such postings. The text of the principle follows:
"Employees should remember that, even with this disclaimer, they will be identified with Intel and that their network behavior reflects on the company in a broader way. In addition, employees should never comment on pending legal actions involving Intel, its customers or its partners."
"All comments should be well informed and within the employees sphere of expertise. Further, if the posting affects others at Intel, those affected should be copied on the posting or be advised of it in advance." "These guidelines are not meant to replace common sense. Network forums are powerful communication tools that must be used wisely."
In mid-year, the engineering groups decided to turn on the server with content of their own while waiting for marketing to prepare final materials. One of the first pieces of information made available by the engineering effort was a text-based description, written for Intel employees, of comparisons between Intel products and their closest competitors. Marketing felt this was a strange choice for material for this server and redoubled their efforts to prepare information they felt was more suitable.
Marketing groups put a great deal of thought into evolving a unique "look and feel" for Intel's WWW server. This server, plus presence in other electronic communities, has led marketing to rethink the internal processes used to create and publish technical marketing documents. There is a move towards targeting all such documents for authoring in SGML, and then using this as a basis for preparing the various formats required for publication in a variety of media.
It quickly became apparent that mail connectivity meant that the mail "must go through" internally and we had to be able to deliver mail to any of the mail systems within the company. This made us very aware of the areas of mail system disconnects.
As mail usage grew, users discovered other useful information sources on the Internet, and demand for access to information from the desktop grew. As we thought through the implications of this demand, we realized that our internal network infrastructure would not easily support this kind of access. This contributed to an effort to establish a corporate network architecture.
Through it all, Internet users and their managers demanded a clear set of guidelines easily accessible and understood. This has lead to ongoing effort to refine and publicize existing guidelines.
Intel may have been fortunate to have connected to the Internet at a time in which it was growing relatively slowly. We had time to work through many of the issues that arose as a result of connectivity. Corporations connecting today will likely find that they are faced with some of the same key issue areas that we encountered. However, resolving the issues may well need to be done in a more compressed time frame. We hope our experience will be helpful to others facing these challenges.
 S. Hambridge, and J. Sedayao, "Horses and Barn Doors: Evolution of Corporate Guidelines for Internet Usage," Usenix, LISA VII, pp. 9-16.
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