Will the Out-Of-The-Box Intranet You Choose on Office 365 Be Able to Grow With Your Company Now and in the Future?
With a profusion of out-of-the-box (OOTB) intranet solutions on Office 365 recently available, small to medium organizations now can afford a way to drive higher business success through improved employee collaboration and more effective communications.
But, will the intranet solution you choose today continue to add value to your growing organization tomorrow; or, will you have to replace it in a couple years when your company's needs expand?
With this information in mind, here are some questions to help you decide what the right intranet solution is for your company?
These are all very important questions that SMBs need to not only consider but also answer before even beginning to research and choose an intranet solution.
Here at SP Marketplace, we have successfully deployed intranet solutions over the last six years for more than 1200 customers worldwide. We know what an SMB should expect from an intranet, how much the intranet should cost, and what features are necessary for the SMB at the time it is considering an intranet, both now and in the future.
An important consideration when researching an intranet solution is the structure. If you were going to build a house or buy a house, would you choose one without a foundation or without a blueprint? No. And neither should you do the same when choosing an intranet solution.
When researching an intranet solution, consider if it is going to be just a shallow home page for news and information, or will it be a gateway to a full structure that serves as an integrated internal services solution?
Is the intranet your company is looking at flexible enough to allow your organization to add or expand to it in the future? Can it serve as an organizational hub that will be the foundation to a structure upon which your company can build in the future across departments?
When researching and choosing an intranet, consider these four things:
1. Does it provide a single platform for your employees to do business on?
Office 365 is ubiquitous and used in more than 80% of companies. Microsoft is taking Office 365 from just an email platform in the cloud to a complete ecosystem.
The reality is that your employees are, or will be, using this platform daily, so any intranet solution you deploy should be a natural, native part of this platform. It needs to take advantage of Office 365’s powerful collaborative features, such as Delve, Skype for Business, Yammer, Video Portal, and more, all from one location in the app launcher.
More importantly, can employees access it anywhere, anytime, and on any device?
2. Does the intranet have a flexible, native Office 365 Home Page with Active Content?
Does the home page serve your organization’s unique needs? Is it flexible with different layouts and content that business power users can easily change and update? Can business power users make changes to the home page without code; or, does the intranet require programming changes by an external vendor?
Will the intranet’s content (news, announcements, events, etc.) become stale or will the system automatically capture operational events for the Content Manager (Active Content) to push forward for employees to see and use to be more productive and increase their level of collaboration and communication?
Can employees set up their own personalized content? Does the branding (look and feel) follow Microsoft guidelines? Or, does it overwrite the Office 365 user interface? Many OOTB solutions have impressive user interfaces, but will they still work after the next Office 365 update?
Many will not.
3. Does it provide a complete structure beyond a home page for future growth?
Does your OOTB intranet stop at just the home page? Can it really serve as an organizational hub to automate internal services and business processes? Does it provide a consistent approach for service departments, such as IT, HR, Finance, Security, or others to assist employees? How about a central help desk? Does it provide a documents or forms portal?
When your company grows and expands, as it surely will, can you add modules to grow with it, like an IT Help Desk, Employee Self-Service, or a Project Tracker that plugs into the structure and works seamlessly with the other modules? Could your company actually consolidate and replace disparate legacy siloed systems that dramatically lower IT costs? What is the 5 year total cost of ownership (TCO)?
4. Will it live up to your company’s ROI, and will it transform the way you do business?
One of the toughest decisions when purchasing a new intranet solution is how you will actually justify the cost of the purchase. If the home page just looks great but offers limited functionality and features, the justification is going to be tough.
How much money will you save for news that doesn’t actively update or provides limited collaboration in a single place? What if you could actually transform your manual processes to automated processes so they save employees time and allow them to focus on more important tasks?
What if you could consolidate legacy systems into a single platform that serves as an organizational hub that allows your company to replace hardware, software, and time-consuming maintenance with a consolidated cloud solution that makes it easier to do business inside your organization? Those are hard dollar savings matched with soft dollar productivity savings for employees and department staff. The ROI is a no-brainer.
Additionally, the intranet you choose on Office 365 and SharePoint will be able to take advantage of the many applications Microsoft is adding now and in the future, such as Delve, Skype for business, Yammer, and Video Portal, just to name a few that are currently available.
SP Intranet by SP Marketplace, combined with SP Business Suite, is an out-of-the-box intranet solution that is a fraction of the cost of many similar intranets on the market today, is 100% customizable, features “Active Content,” and comes with the intranet portal, employee self-service, and three generic department portals together.
Comparable intranets on the market come with just an intranet and nothing more, for two or three times the cost.
To really achieve an objective perspective on the right intranet for your organization when researching and finally making a selection, we have put together a free Intranet Evaluation Worksheet that you can download here.
Once you have filled out the workbook, download our free whitepaper, "Use Office 365 as an Intranet Portal."