Investing in a new intranet can be an expensive endeavour so ensuring you choose the right intranet software is crucial. However, making this decision can be daunting as there are so many to choose from. To help, this blog provides some background knowledge and highlights some top intranet software shopping tips. If you would like to find out more about intranet software, we run regular intranet showcases where you can find out how other organisations have achieved intranet success, ask questions and meet other likeminded professionals.
Intranets are a business essential; a private network, only accessible by an organisations employees. They have evolved into a core business communication and collaboration tool. They enable every employee to access non-public core information and systems in a secure way. Intranets are constantly pushing boundaries and can do more than just communicate and access information, they are being used to improve business processes and enable employees to access information from multiple devices and from any location.
The Different Options:
Intranet software comes in all shapes and sizes but tends to fall into one of 3 categories: boxed products, SharePoint & tool kit platforms and enterprise social networks.
1. Boxed Products:
Boxed intranet products are usually the cheapest option for delivering an intranet. They are very quick to get up and running and often provide good communication features (social collaboration for example). The downside is they deliver very restrictive functionality limited by the development schedule of the provider. To be effective, intranets need to grow with the business and adapt to new business processes and to business objectives. This is difficult to achieve with a boxed product and the intranet solution may need to be replaced within a few years.
An intranet toolkit, on the other hand, offers great flexibility. They provide the nuts, bolts and spanners of the intranet, letting you get on with the job of assembling it yourself. Intranet toolkits can be free or low cost from the outset but the cost quickly mounts up as simple functionality needs to be developed and product licences are required.
3. Enterprise Social Networks:
A decade ago, building your own (enterprise social network) was a common option. However, they are much rarer today. Most organisations that opt for this route, either have very basic requirements or choose to use a product like SharePoint to deliver the basics and spend money on developers to build on this.
A 4th option?
Here at SORCE we like to think that our intranet software is a hybrid of these solutions, providing a fourth option for you to consider. Our solution will deliver the same readymade applications as a boxed product but will also include the flexibility of the intranet toolkit. This option delivers a solution that streamlines your business processes today while adapting to your requirements as the business objectives change.
Tips for Intranet Shoppping
The following 5 tips will ensure you are well prepared for choosing the right intranet solution for your business:
1. Understand your business objectives - What do you need/want your intranet software to achieve? What business processes can it improve?
2. Take time to understand your end user requirements - Ensuring you understand the needs of your users is crucial to finding the right solution. We have a free knowledge bank full of advice and downloads to help with this.
3. Attend webinars and events - These events will allow you to gain invlauable insights into potential software solutions, meet potential providers and develop your knowledge about what intranets can help your organisation to achieve. Find out the events we have coming up here.
4. Internal resource - Different solutions will take up differing amounts of reosurces. If you have finite internal resources, you need to ensure that your software solution will be manageable.
5. Budget - Be aware of your budget and keep this in mind so you can get a very top level idea of what can be achieved and any ongoing costs.