Ready-made intranets provide business advantages such as rapid deployment, lower total cost of ownership, and easier maintenance and system updates. These are important factors when deciding between a custom SharePoint intranet or an out-of-the-box solution.
While out-of-the-box intranets are marketed as easy to setup and require less skills to cover common use scenarios, they might not be the best fit for your organizational needs. There is far more to successful intranet implementations than allowing intranet users to search for content, find people, engage with each other, and collaborate on projects.
Your organization is unique, with specific business challenges and intranet requirements. That is why we don’t believe in the “one-size fits all” intranet-in-a-box approach. If you have ever actually experienced the “one-size fits all” products, it just ends up being a poor fit for everyone. Unfortunately, an intranet-in-a-box, while seemingly convenient, can quickly become inflexible and ultimately over-simplified, ignoring the innate processes and individual business needs of your organization.
From our work with 100,000+ employee organizations, we have learned that the convenience of an out-of-the-box intranet quickly underserves Enterprise organizations with established business processes, original business models, strong employee experience standards, and integral systems that must interface with said intranet/digital workplace.
Ultimately, we know enterprise intranets are different than turnkey, out-of-the-box intranets and here is why:
1. One Size Fits All = Fits No One
The need for an enterprise intranet stems from common business needs like higher productivity, better collaboration, and improved communication, and rightly so different organizations could have similar challenges. Yet, it’s not that simple. The size of your organization, business process complexity, ease of use, and culture fit should all be assessed when deciding on your intranet of choice to ensure a successful deployment and high user adoption.
Perhaps you’re sold on the pros for ready-made intranets thinking they require less time, effort, and money to deliver. But you can’t discount the need to customize your intranet to meet the specific requirements of your industry and the size of your organization. Rolling out an intranet for an organization with 50 employees is never the same as one with 25,000+ employees.
Out-of-the-box intranets are pre-configured to meet the specifications of a whole range of businesses, which in essence makes them generic. Out-of-the-box intranets are ready to configure and will work for your business, but don’t expect a lot of flexibility to re-design, tweak, or style your intranet to your employee experience.
Customizable Enterprise Intranets, like IntranetPro, provide more control over user experience, with no constraints on how your intranet functions, looks, or feels.
2. Out-of-the-Box Costs in Time, Change Management & Dissatisfaction
Whenever possible, you shouldn’t be reinventing the wheel as far as your Enterprise Intranet is concerned. That’s where the power of ready-made intranet lies. Yet, you still get a degree of choice with feature configurations, custom integrations, and intranet design that many rigid intranet-in-a-box platforms won’t readily offer.
But the old adage, “you get what you pay for”, still rings true for intranets. If you evaluate your intranet options based solely the lowest cost to save time or go-live faster without assessing your unique digital workplace needs, it can cost you in the long run, or even in the short term.
Ready-made intranets that offer more flexibility or customization, what we like to call IntranetPro – A Modern Intranet Accelerator, could be more practical in situations where you are concerned about your employee experience, need to integrate with various existing infrastructure and systems as well as added flexibility for mobility and user interface options.
A “one-size fits all” intranet that doesn’t suit your specific needs or add value to your employees is a sunk cost. We see a lot of customers stuck beating a dead horse with an intranet that derives low adoption rates, poor productivity and plenty of employee dissatisfaction. Trying to salvage the intranet operation with change management can end up amounting to a whole project being way beyond budget and ending in failure.
With IntranetPro, we combine the best of the two worlds. You don’t have to choose between limited functionality or clunky and expensive design. Our Enterprise Intranet framework is built around the powerful and robust SharePoint and Office 365 platform, flexible enough to cover your unique needs, minimize project risk, launch faster without sacrificing your intranet quality, and cost-effectiveness.
3. Celebrate What Makes Your Organization Unique
Just like every organization is different, your intranet is too. IntranetPro project methodology is built around planning and designing intranets that celebrate what makes your organizations unique.
Is it the disciplined work ethic? We created IntranetPro to facilitate quick access to information and tools to help your employees perform, streamline your business processes, and drive operational efficiencies.
Is culture of treating employees like ‘family’? We designed IntranetPro to provide a personalized and engaging workplace experience to further enhance collaboration and communication across the organization.
Regardless of what shapes your workplace culture, our user-first mentality is at the core of every intranet deployment we deliver. We spend time to understand your users and their unique needs to develop a fully-functioning Enterprise Intranet that speaks to your employees while facilitating usability and overall experience.
Great intranets projects are never treated equally. Your intranet is a core piece of your organizational DNA makeup; it has to be unique. Our goal has always been to celebrate its uniqueness in how your intranet works, looks and feels.
4. Framework is Key, Rigidity is Debilitating
What’s good about an intranet so rigid you can’t integrate with other tools, customize, or deploy quickly?
We know the debilitating effects of application swapping and information silos on workplace productivity and employee satisfaction. Your Enterprise Intranet is only successful if it compels employees to use it. Our framework with IntranetPro was developed from the ground-up around the employee experience driving usability to maximum productivity, collaboration and engagement.
Our intranet project framework leverages the best practices of the most robust Enterprise Intranet platform of SharePoint and Office 365. Deployed on-premises or in the cloud with Office 365, IntranetPro seamlessly integrates with Office 365 productivity suite in a single, unified solution. It becomes part of your employees’ digital work experience, and everything really becomes accessible from one centralized place.
Working with tools outside of Office 365? No problem. IntranetPro provides powerful functionality and flexibility to integrate with non-Office 365 and external systems as well. Unlike non-SharePoint intranet platforms, IntranetPro’s technical approach gives it the right level of extensibility to reflect business needs, custom processes and preferences.
Even better, you can achieve all this level of control over your intranet customization and usability and get it fast too. IntranetPro could be deployed in as little as six weeks depending on the level of integrations and customizations your organization needs. The power of IntranetPro’s architecture framework makes your intranet project delivery error-proof.
5. Start Small, Dream Big with an Enterprise Intranet
We believe the path to greatness starts with being nimble; the same applies to your intranet. You don’t need to include all the features that you’d like to see in your Enterprise Intranet from the get-go. IntranetPro makes intranet feature scaling really manageable.
We work with you to design a scalable intranet roadmap that is unique to your needs. Our intranet requirements approach helps our clients prioritize the key features that meet a significant proportion of their business needs, before adding additional features down the line to meet more complex or niche needs. This way, you could focus your time and resources on specific tasks such as content development, information architecture, governance, trainings and launching.
We start with the most important features first, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dream big for your intranet. This phased approach minimizes project risk and makes IntranetPro less expensive to launch, so you can go live in as little as six weeks and start realizing your return on your intranet investment.
The “Best Self” Enterprise Intranet Solution
Intranets should never be bottled in a box. The reality is your business has similarities to other organizations, but it is unique just like your DNA. We could all use minor adjustments, flexibility and an individualized approach to flourish and become our "best self," and so could your enterprise intranet >> Find out how we achieve this with IntranetPro by Codesigned.