Choosing an Intranet is a big decision and a lot of time and effort goes into making that final choice. When you do make that decision, you want to be sure it’s the right decision. Here at SP Marketplace, we have deployed Intranet solutions on Office 365 for more than 700 customers and we’ve put together what we have found to be the five biggest consequences of choosing the wrong Intranet solution.
1. Spending too much for a pretty site
One of the biggest mistakes companies make is they blow most of their Intranet budget on building a beautiful site that does not do much. We have seen scores of companies that come to us after hiring consultants to build a highly graphical home page only to see the project fail because the end result provided little value to employees resulting in dismal user adoption.
An Intranet is not like your Internet, which must impress visitors and acts as a window to your company’s products and services. An Intranet is intended to be an operational hub for collaboration, news, and a consistent way to access internal services. If you are an SMB with a limited budget, choosing pretty over purpose can be disastrous. Consider choosing an out-of-the-box Intranet solution that not only looks good but also is ready to deliver function that can drive user adoption and a quick ROI.
2. Nobody uses the Intranet because of stale content
One reason behind an unpopular Intranet is that the content never changes. It’s a reasonable expectation that if your company spends money to deploy an Intranet then employees are going to use it, right? Not necessarily. Providing an Intranet is one thing but you have to go further and give your employees a reason to want to use it.
Many organizations underestimate the work of keeping content current. A lot of Intranets display stale content as opposed to active content and that translates into lackluster usage. Imagine if your organization had an Intranet that automatically displayed the latest industry news, pushed important departmental announcements or events, captured the latest sales win or revealed the new employee for Company News. Some out-of-the-box Intranet solutions can actually gather news.
3. Little functionality beyond the home page
If you are using the Intranet solely as a home page, you are missing out on all the other functional value it can provide to employees. It’s critical when researching an Intranet solution that you also take into account the internal services you provide to make them easy to access for employees. Can it consolidate disparate siloed departments to make it easier for employees to access documents, procedures and internal service processes?
Beyond collaboration, productivity is driven by making it easier for employees to do business inside the organization, thereby spending more time and focus on their primary job. Make sure your Intranet includes an employee self-service portal in the structure. By doing this and investing time into the structure, you will increase user adoption and increase ROI.
4. Not deploying a consistent department structure
Department siloes often are a frustration for employees accessing internal services. The last thing you want to do with a new Intranet is create more work for employees, and that’s exactly what you will do if you don’t use a consistent design across portals. A major goal of an Intranet should be to create an organizational hub that is a consistent and intuitive experience across departments. Watch out for each department designing their own site. Provide a uniform template for department portals and add relevant content.
The IT department can have its own portal to organize help desk tickets. Marketing can have its own portal to keep track of campaigns and measure success. But, choosing the wrong Intranet solution usually is the result of a poorly planned Intranet structure that ultimately will lead to decreased productivity, declined user adoption and siloed portals.
5. An Intranet that cannot grow with you
Very few organizations stay the same over time. Growth and changing business requirements demand that your Intranet can meet your needs today as well as five years from today.
Is your Intranet flexible enough to change with the times?
Can it take advantage of new technologies or features in Office 365?
Can you change the structure, modify or add new portals easily?
Can it grow to automate more business processes over time?
Don’t make the mistake of choosing a cool looking Intranet that covers up SharePoint or Office 365 with a code driven layer. This limits flexibility and will inhibit the ability to leverage future Office 365 features. Make sure your business users are empowered to change it, and you don’t have to rely on consultants to change it.
To learn more about an Intranet that looks great, is affordable, and easy to deploy, visit us online or see a video tutorial.
At SP Marketplace, we have created out-of-the-box "Native" SharePoint templates to transform your Office 365 to a Digital Workplace including a Intranet Portal Management Solution. Learn more below.