Are you in the market for a new intranet?
If you’ve spent any time looking, you’ll know the intranet marketplace has changed dramatically. Packaged solutions are popping up everywhere, and it’s more difficult than ever to be confident in your decisions.
So what do you need to look out for?
Alex Buchanan, Director for Digital Government here at Squiz, believes that, while basic packaged solutions can offer a good starting point, they’re only the tip of the iceberg.
“You might decide that a basic solution will work for your business. However, if you’re looking for an intranet that’s a little more advanced, you’re going to need to explore your options. But these options aren’t always clear, and it’s hard to know what makes one intranet stand out from the rest.”
So, what are the options available in the intranet marketplace today and what should you be looking for when considering a packaged solution?
Why packaged solutions are no longer the restrictive and low-end
Sure, you can still find entry-point plug-and-play packaged solutions, but don’t let the word ‘packaged’ fool you.
Think of packaged solutions on a sliding scale. At the lower end, what you see is what you get. You’ll be limited to small changes such as colour and adding a few images. But at the higher end – the sky’s the limit.
Changing business needs have transformed the marketplace
Organisations’ requirements are changing. And, according to Alex, the best choice of intranet is one that can adapt to these ever-changing needs.
While some mid-sized enterprises are satisfied with a platform they can turn on and run with, larger organisations often have unique demands – and their intranet should be able to meet these demands.
“There are full bells-and-whistles packaged intranets out there that allow a higher degree of customisation to cater to these requirements.”
Customisable packages protect against future costs
Alex explained that the shift in the intranet marketplace to more customisable solutions will not only future-proof your intranet, but also provide long-term cost benefits.
“One of the big challenges is the future cost of your platform. If you’re building it yourself, then the more functionality going into it, the more maintenance overhead that is going to be involved.
“A highly customisable solution can combat these costs because these capabilities are already built-in. You’ll benefit from future upgrades and enhancements that you won’t have to fund directly.”
Create a central hub by integrating systems with your intranet
With global digital growth, it’s not unusual for an organisation to use a variety of external systems in their everyday tasks. But while these applications are initially put in place with the intention of improving productivity, they can quickly become a source of digital clutter.
If your organisation uses external systems, you should be looking towards high-end packaged solutions that provide integration capabilities.
“If you think about it, other than your email, your intranet is the one place that every staff member visits every day. It should be the central dashboard for them – a hub they can use to connect seamlessly with the external tools they use.”
And although a few extra clicks and another password might not seem like much, they ultimately lead to a decrease in adoption and an overall loss of productivity for your business.
Build your intranet on a platform that supports growth
On the surface, an intranet solution might tick all the right boxes. But to see its true potential, you need to take a closer look under the hood.
“It’s not just about what it does now, it’s what it can do in the future. And that depends on the power of the platform that sits beneath it.”
Before settling on a solution, it’s important to consider how the intranet is going to grow with your business and whether it has the scalability to handle national, and international growth.
“Particularly when an organisation goes through a merger, where they’ve bought another company that has a totally different structure. Can a solution cope with an acquisition of that scope, or are your employees going to end up having to use multiple systems?” Alex elaborates.
“Government organisations are a great example of this – they get torn apart and smashed together all the time. A good intranet can be an important tool for managing this cultural change, if it can cope with it.”
A robust and integrable platform is a good indicator of the potential capabilities of an intranet solution, now and heading into the future.
Streamline resources and processes by consolidating your technologies
Consider the platforms you’re already using within your organisation – for example, to run your website.
“Do you already have the people and resources in place to maintain the platform, and can you draw on those skills?”
Taking advantage of a one-platform approach with your intranet can be a good way to consolidate your technologies and streamline the work involved.
“If you have two platforms, then you’re doubling the cost – not just in terms of technology, but in terms of the workforce capability needed to support both.”
A powerful platform that already has a foothold in your business can create a solid foundation for the growth of your intranet solution.
So, what’s the best solution for you?
The huge range of solutions in the intranet marketplace means that selecting the right intranet for your business can be a daunting task.
You want to choose an intranet that’s going to support all your business needs, but also has the power and scalability to grow with it.
But, as Alex points out, when a solution offers a full range of customisation, it will be able to cater to whatever requirements you might have.
So now you know there’s a solution available in the marketplace that will fulfil your requirements, start evaluating your business needs. Begin thinking about what level of customisation you need today, and may need in the future.