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Out of The Box Intranet: Factors to consider when buying an intranet

out of the box intranet
Factors to consider when buying an out of the box intranet
What are the Factors to consider when buying an out of the box intranet solution for your business. Here's what to think about when developing a business case for buying an intranet.
Posted in: Intranets
out of the box intranet
Factors to consider when buying an out of the box intranet

The intranet serves as a virtual workplace where employees may share information and work together. Any company looking to invest in intranet software should research the benefits and drawbacks of each choice before making a final selection.

The dilemma of whether to buy or develop an intranet is common for those who are planning to adopt an intranet. The former is a generic model that can be implemented rapidly, while the latter is tailored to your unique business requirements.

Many companies have had to adapt quickly to remote work and find new ways to stay connected and productive while their employees are working from home.

Here are some ways that COVID has changed the way companies work:

  1. Remote work: The widespread adoption of remote work has enabled companies to continue operations while minimizing the risk of transmission of the virus. This has required companies to invest in technology and infrastructure to support remote work, such as virtual private networks (VPNs), intranet software, collaboration tools, and video conferencing software.
  2. Increased use of digital tools: Companies have had to rely more on digital tools and technologies to communicate, collaborate, and share information with their employees and customers. This includes tools such as email, instant messaging, project management software, and video conferencing platforms.
  3. Changes in business operations: Many companies have had to make significant changes to their business operations in response to the pandemic, such as shifting to online sales or implementing new safety measures in their physical locations.
  4. Changes in customer behavior: The pandemic has also led to changes in customer behavior, with many people turning to online channels for shopping and other services. Companies have had to adapt to these changes by increasing their online presence and offering digital options for customers.

Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the way companies work and do business, and many companies have had to make rapid changes in response to the crisis.  

To adopt an intranet for your remote teams there are several reasons why a company might need an intranet, here are the top main reasons:

  1. Improved communication
  2. Increased productivity
  3. Shared knowledge 
  4. Enhanced security
  5. Improved employee engagement

Overall, an intranet can be a valuable tool for improving communication, increasing productivity, sharing knowledge, enhancing security, and engaging employees within a company or organization. The main question is, is it better to buying an out of the box intranet or build an intranet, and what are the issues with traditional intranets today.

The traditional intranet, as it is today, has numerous issues

The traditional intranet, as it is today, has numerous issues​

Companies large and small are finding that their traditional intranets are not keeping up with the pace of change within their organizations or the security requirements to protect intellectual property. 

Additionally, they lack the ability to scale up quickly and easily to accommodate the sudden influxes in data that many organizations experience these days. 

Also proving challenging is the inability of traditional intranets to integrate seamlessly with enterprise applications, such as ERPs, content management systems and collaboration tools that many enterprises rely on for communication and information sharing. 

For these reasons, companies have started looking for alternative ways to manage their internal communications and data-sharing activities, making it clear that a shake-up of the traditional intranet infrastructure is needed.

Intranet failure usually boils down to 5 main points:

  • Takes longer to deploy
  • Out of date UX
  • Low adoption rate
  • Costly to update
  • Hard to intergate 

The great modern Out-of-the-box intranet, also know as employee social network or social intranet​​​

Facts to consider when buying an out-of-the-box intranet or a custom intranet

​ Here is a list of factors that you should consider before making the final decision:

Require less maintenance

The vendor handles management and maintenance with an out-of-the-box intranet, so it's always up-to-date. Almost no unscheduled downtime will occur if you use one of the many out-of-the-box intranets available today. Additionally, a corporation might avoid employing a full-time staff member to oversee the intranet's operations.

Owners of custom intranets either need to staff up with in-house expertise or outsource these responsibilities. Furthermore, due to prolonged installation, they call for constant revision by trained IT professionals that add new intranet features, deploy security patches, address problems, enhance the user interface and user experience, and more. 

Offer better adoption 

Standardized intranets have been through rigorous beta testing and subsequent refining before being made available to end users. They are simple to understand and employ, thanks to their straightforward design. They have a low learning curve, which makes them easier to implement and speeds up the adoption process.

The viability of custom intranets in a company's digital ecosystem is often questioned before they are rolled out to employees. Due to their complexity, intensive user training and ongoing UI/UX tuning are prerequisites for their adoption. On the other hand, the custom development of an intranet necessitates more time and energy spent learning its new features.

Better accessibility 

It is common for remote workers to access company intranets by installing a standard package. In addition, most out-of-the-box intranets already include mobile access, so you can take your work wherever you go.

Mobile compatibility is another advantage of custom intranets. Cross-device optimization for a custom intranet, however, involves extensive programming: the IT infrastructure must provide remote access, and the UI must be designed and coded properly. 

Cost-effective 

When compared to fully customized intranets, out-of-the-box intranets are more cost-effective.

Creating a unique intranet from scratch is a more laborious and technical process. The cost of such an intranet is high since developers must cater to each business's specific requirements. Costs for custom intranets can range from $20,000 to $150,000, depending on specifications. 

Require less implementation time 

  An out-of-the-box intranet can be up and running in a fraction of the time it takes to build a custom intranet. An intranet can run in a company in as little as 30–45 days. Installation, setup, content integration, and user training are all part of the implementation process. On average, developing an intranet takes between six and nine months.

Factors to consider when buying a custom intranet

Factors to consider when buying a custom intranet ​

Comes with relevant features

Relevant features are a strength of a custom intranet. Custom solutions have special features because they are designed for a specific firm and take into account its size, industry, and workers' personal and professional requirements. Rather than becoming bloated with unnecessary features, these intranets focus on those that would actually benefit the business. In our demo, you may explore an actual intranet in action.

There is a lack of functionality in prefabricated intranets. You'll need to supplement these shortcomings with additional programs if you want enterprise-grade features like advanced analytics and search, for example.

Provides better scalability

There is no need to worry about the performance of your intranet solution degrading when the number of users, the volume of material, or the number of users using the intranet all increase over time; custom intranets are built with scalable architectures to accommodate these changes. All of this bodes well for the future of the intranet, which is of interest to both established corporations and growing small and medium-sized businesses.

If the number of users on the intranet or the amount of work being done on the intranet increases, a ready-made intranet won't be able to handle the influx of new users and workload without experiencing performance concerns, such as longer response times.

Brings lots of  Flexibility

The adaptability of custom intranets stems from the fact that they may be altered in various ways. They can also be linked to other business software packages, including those used to manage documents, assets, etc.

The options to customize out-of-the-box intranet are minimal. For example, a business may encounter compatibility concerns if it wishes to include an out-of-the-box intranet with other software.

No ownership issues

The sole proprietorship of a custom intranet. Branding that is unique to the firm, which highlights the company's values and aims and encourages employee participation, are all hallmarks of a custom intranet.

Particularly useful for multinational corporations with offices and teams spread throughout the globe, a branded intranet promotes unity while also fostering a sense of shared identity and purpose.

Better security

When implementing a custom intranet, developers must ensure that no vulnerabilities exist in the custom web parts and apps that make up the intranet. This ensures that sensitive company data is kept safe. In addition, when you go the custom development route, you can count on your company's intranet being secured using innovative measures like two-factor authentication.

As a result, highly regulated sectors like healthcare benefit most from custom intranets.

Out-of-the-box intranets are vulnerable to hacking like any other open-source software. They are more susceptible to hacking since their developers generally lack expertise in security and have included several plugins and extensions. 

How can you select the best intranet for your business?

How can you select the best intranet for your business

When putting in place or updating an intranet for your organization, one of the first issues you'll have to address is whether you want a custom intranet or are happy with the out-of-the-box intranet. Your specific questions and circumstances will determine the best course of action. Here are some questions to ask before making the final decision.

Consider your budget, what is your current budget?  

The available budget for the intranet is the most crucial factor to think about. The reason why custom-built solutions always end up costing more is that developers have to put in more effort to tailor the platform to each individual client's requirements.

Depending on these factors, the supplementary expenditure may be justified. A custom-built solution is beneficial if you need certain characteristics, such as comprehensive specialty business solutions, that are not available in a ready-made product. 

Out-of-the-box platforms aren't as customizable, but they could save you money if you're on a tight timeline. It's possible that your needs can be met with a prefabricated intranet solution, as some of these products allow you to tailor the look and feel by configuring fields associated with things like your users.

Do you have time to build a custom intranet?

Realize that a custom-built intranet solution will always require more time to implement than a ready-made one. Skipping custom modification could be a time-saving option if you need your platform up and running as soon as possible. To get started, you may only need to make minor tweaks to your brand and provide your staff with some basic training; then, you can go live and make any necessary improvements after the fact.

However, you may have more leeway in terms of timing. It may not be necessary to immediately transition to your new intranet if you are currently using a temporary or former solution. Or, perhaps you have avoided the need for an intranet thus far, so there will be no significant disruption to operations during the setup process. If this describes your situation, a tailored answer may be your best bet. 

Security is a must, does it offer security updates?

To ensure its continued functionality and safety, even the best software may require periodic updates. Out-of-the-box intranets are simpler to maintain because updates can be rolled out to all users at once.

On the other side, custom solutions present a few more challenges.

It's possible that updates will need to be made manually, which will increase both the time and resources needed to complete the project. Even though your modification is based on a preexisting platform, you still could encounter issues with updates because your customized code may not be updated correctly. In comparison to a ready-made intranet, updating a custom-built solution is more complicated. 

Will you be able to manage an intranet's operations?

 The most effective intranet rollouts address these two concerns: when will the developer "give over" control to your company, and who will be responsible for maintaining the intranet's operations and backend? The answers to these questions will help you determine whether a custom-built solution is feasible for your business or if an out-of-the-box intranet would be more appropriate.

A custom-built solution could be fatal if you have to hand over control of the platform at an early stage of the project and your IT staff has CMS intranet experience. If there is a problem with the backend or the front end, you may run into major difficulties without adequate support channels. That's why taking a good look at your management capabilities before settling on a custom or out-of-the-box intranet is essential.

Will you be able to train your employees to use the intranet?

For an intranet to be effective, employees must accept its value and learn to apply it effectively. For this reason, training sessions are fundamental to the smooth rollout of any new intranet software.

User training is an essential part of every implementation, and the way it's organized can have a major impact on how quickly and easily the rollout is accomplished. Instead of depending on the implementation team to train users, having the power users in each department do it would be more effective.

Do you know which features you want in your intranet?

Before deciding how much to tailor your intranet, you should first get a clear picture of the characteristics you require from the final product. There is a vast variety of potential intranet features, from workplace blogs to site reports to (restricted) external access. Whether you go for the out-of-the-box or custom intranet will depend heavily on which of these characteristics you require and how you intend to use it.

Even the most basic out-of-the-box intranets typically have a number of customizable options to meet the needs of most organizations. These intranets can't provide every possible function, but knowing what you need might help you decide whether or not to adopt a custom-built solution.

Out-of-the-box intranet vs custom intranet: Which intranet is best for you? 

Out-of-the-box intranet vs custom intranet

Out of the box intranet

The deployment time for a ready-made intranet is minimal, and it typically doesn't require the help of engineers. 

They often include straightforward content curation and management systems that necessitate minimal involvement from IT and can be easily monitored and maintained by anyone without a degree in a relevant field. It is also less expensive to roll up a premade intranet than a custom one.

Custom intranet  

On the other hand, custom intranets let you shape every aspect of the user experience. There will likely be better integration options, and you can rest assured that the product will include precisely the functionality your company needs to run more smoothly. However, the time it takes to design and deploy a custom solution can be substantial. The organization may need to rely heavily on IT to assist with initial deployment and continuing maintenance.

AgilityPortal: Get the best of both worlds  

The good news is that a superior alternative exists. You can design your own intranet instead of settling for a prefabricated one that might not meet your needs. You also aren't required to go with a time-consuming-to-develop custom intranet. As an alternative, AgilityPortal offers the best of both worlds by providing both the speedy implementation of out-of-the-box software and custom-built intranets' adaptability and growth potential.

AgilityPortal

The Must have Out of the box intranet Features

 Here are 30 important intranet features that organizations may want to consider:

  1. News and announcements: A way to share important updates and news with employees.
  2. Document management: A system for storing, organizing, and sharing documents.
  3. Collaboration tools: Tools for team collaboration, such as project management software and file sharing.
  4. Search: A powerful search tool to help employees find information quickly and easily.
  5. Calendar and scheduling: A calendar to schedule and coordinate meetings, events, and deadlines.
  6. Task management: A way to track and manage tasks and to-do lists.
  7. Employee directory: A directory of contact information and profiles for all employees.
  8. Employee self-service: A way for employees to update their personal information and access benefits and resources.
  9. Human resources (HR) information: A central location for HR-related information and resources, such as policies and procedures.
  10. Training and development: A way to access and track training and development opportunities.
  11. Company policies and procedures: A place to store and access company policies and procedures.
  12. Customer relationship management (CRM) system: A tool for managing customer relationships and sales.
  13. Marketing and sales resources: A central location for marketing and sales resources and tools.
  14. Social networking: A way for employees to connect and interact with each other.
  15. Internal job postings: A way for employees to search and apply for internal job openings.
  16. Employee feedback and suggestions: A way for employees to provide feedback and suggestions to management.
  17. Emergency information: A way to share important information and updates in the event of an emergency.
  18. Travel resources: A place to access and book travel resources, such as flights and hotels.
  19. Expense reporting: A way for employees to submit and track expenses.
  20. Time tracking: A way to track and manage employee time off and attendance.
  21. Performance reviews: A tool for conducting and tracking employee performance reviews.
  22. Health and safety resources: A central location for health and safety resources and information.
  23. Company news and events: A way to share company news and events with employees.
  24. Leadership and management resources: Resources and information for leaders and managers.
  25. Employee handbook: A place to store and access the employee handbook.
  26. Customer service resources: Resources and tools for customer service teams.
  27. Product information: A central location for product information and resources.
  28. Technical support: A way for employees to access technical support and resources.
  29. Support for remote work: Tools and resources to support remote work, such as virtual private networks (VPNs) and collaboration tools.
  30. Mobile access: A way for employees to access the intranet from their mobile devices.

What you should expect to pay for an intranet 

  • Individual Pro: $4 per month. Perfect for small business with remote teams
  • Big organisations: $6/per person /month. Wit more advance features, and support larger number or users.
  • Company/Enterprise: For entire organizations who want to create a customizable company HQ.

Use AgilityPortal for free. No credit card required. Try all the features for the first 14 days.

Wrapping up 

At first glance, it may seem like a toss-up between out-of-the-box and building an intranet, but it quickly becomes apparent that the former is the better option. 

Likewise, AgilityPortal is an excellent option because it has transformed the modern intranet and can provide a solution that will revolutionize how your teams collaborate and communicate.  

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Friday, 19 July 2024
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