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‘Buy in or build up’ – deciding on the best intranet solution for your businesses.

April 2019Tom

Off the shelf versus tailor-made, subscription or bespoke, on-site or in-cloud – there are many factors to consider before embarking on a full scale intranet investment. 

An effective intranet is a key asset and can be a significant driving force in your business but one thing is for certain – one site doesn’t fit all.  Navigating the options and opportunities can seem daunting.

In the latest of our intranet blogs our web team takes you through the steps to help you decide whether to buy in or build up.

Why are you investing in an intranet platform?

This is the first question we ask our clients and the initial response is usually to share information. But when you probe a little deeper, the reasons why they want to share information can vary significantly including:

  • Centralising information and resources
  • Strengthening employee collaboration
  • Increasing motivation   
  • Change management 

All of these objectives can be realised with an effective intranet platform but each of these goals may require different and specific features and tools. A pre-built intranet platform may appeal as a quick fix and may provide some of these capabilities even they will require some modification and perhaps costly additional features.       

Functionality

Off-the-shelf systems are tried and tested across a mass market and function across the board. However be aware that they may not be quite what you want or operate exactly how you want them to and you have limited ability to change or influence that.

Working directly with a team of skilled developers and designers who understand you and your audience will ensure that you have a truly functional product for that meets your business needs. You can shape, change and influence the end product throughout the build stage. It works and it works for you.           

User Experience

There is some argument to say that as off-the-shelf software is used across many businesses they may already be familiar to your workforce which could promote early adoption rates. However this is a catch-all, generic system which means it isn’t responsive to your particular needs and it may only provide limited engagement with your staff.

While a bespoke custom-made system may require some guidance and training at launch, you will also benefit from on-going scope to adapt and develop it to suit your business processes and reflect how and why your staff are using your intranet – increasing user experience benefits.  

Embracing innovation – enhancing engagement  

You’ll want your intranet to be as engaging and relevant as possible. Our previous blogs have looked at how to attract and retain your users.  One element is to reflect the multi-media / multi-channel interaction your staff are familiar with outside of work. Be aware that some systems may have limited ability to embed and stream videos easily. 

Security

Your intranet is a home for business critical and highly sensitive information so confidentiality and security are paramount. Custom software enables you to build in encryption and tailor and safeguard access to ensure information is not compromised.

Building in-growth

Think to the future when choosing your intranet system – a cheaper start-up option isn’t necessarily cost effective in the long run as your business succeeds and grows. With an off-the-shelf platform you may be faced with add-on costs for additional users and expanded processes and functions. 

Ultimately our key advice piece of advice is to put your business at the heart of your decision making – cost will of course be a consideration but look to identify a solution that can reflect the identity and efficiency of your company, can be optimised for you and your users and adds value and opportunities.

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