Is SharePoint the right intranet provider for your organization? 

By Darian Mavandad
January 6, 2023
4 min read
An employee being productive

When most internal communicators think of intranet or even internal communication software, the first name that pops into their head is “SharePoint.” For a good reason, of course—SharePoint has been in the intranet space for almost as long as Intranet Connections has (2 decades)—and is an excellent tool for collaboration and document sharing. But, as with any software, it is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution, and trying to mold it into the best solution for your workplace may serve to be costly and time-consuming. This, and more, add up to some straightforward questions to answer when deciding which intranet software to use in your organization.

In this blog, we will examine these key questions:

–           Why does my organization need an intranet?

–           Custom vs. out-of-the-box intranets

–           The true costs of SharePoint

This blog is the first in a series of three that outline the pros and cons of using a SharePoint intranet in your organization—based on our free eBook (which you should definitely read if you haven’t already!).

Why does my organization need an intranet?

Briefly put, an intranet is an internal website that provides employees within an organization a place to stay informed on the latest news, policies, documents, and information. As stated, there is no “one-size-fits-all” regarding intranets, and how you choose to use an intranet within your organization may vary. Commonly, however, it is almost always a hub for document management, company news, and serves as an employee directory. So, do I need one?

Dear reader, if you are here, it would be safe to assume that the idea of implementing or updating an intranet in your organization has flirted with you. You may be at the beginning of a new buyer’s journey or at wit’s end on upgrading your current intranet. Needless to say, you have noticed that something is amiss with your current internal communications and processes. Here are some key reasons why an organization may need an intranet:

  • You find yourself relying too much on email for sharing documents and essential policies
  • You and your leadership are unsure which employees have taken notice of new policies and important updates and which haven’t
  • The workflows for a submission request are lengthy and are affecting your customer experience
  • You have a high turnover rate
  • You feel your organization is not future proof

Custom vs. out-of-the-box intranet

Intranets typically come in two forms: custom-built intranets and out-of-the-box intranets.

An out-of-the-box intranet comes pre-built by a reputable software provider, and everything you need has already been created and built into the software. Of course, you can still configure settings to attune the ready-made intranet to your organization’s needs.

A custom intranet is built in-house by developers from the ground up. Often, this might be stripping down an existing intranet product, like SharePoint, and rebuilding it.

With that in mind, why would you choose SharePoint over a ready-built intranet?

The true costs of SharePoint

Often, the choice to use SharePoint as an intranet provider mainly boils down to the fact that so many organizations already rely on Microsoft products and the belief that keeping things within the same ecosystem may cut down on costs and streamline processes. This is debatable.

The true cost of SharePoint ownership includes the following:

  • Technical expertise to set it up
  • Technical expertise in product ownership, support, maintenance, upgrades, and new features
  • Additional resourcing to manage the intranet content centrally
  • Additional plug-ins and customization to fill gaps in SharePoint features and meet needs
  • Training for SharePoint admins and site owners

Upon IC’s independent research, we found that a consultant to help you launch a brand new SharePoint intranet can cost upwards of $785 USD per hour, amounting to between $98,910 USD to $197,820 USD for a period of three to six months.

And that’s just the start! Depending on your SharePoint license, build year, and the capabilities you want your intranet to have, the “SharePoint Question” can become more and more complicated (don’t worry, we’re here to help with all of that).

At IC, we’re here to help!

Stay tuned for part two of this series exploring SharePoint intranets vs. ready-built intranets, or get early access by downloading our SharePoint Guide eBook. At IC, we’ve crafted resources to help intranet buyers along their journey based on real-world experience from over two decades in the intranet space. See you in part two of this blog!

By Darian Mavandad

Darian has a degree from McGill University, and joined IC to empower internal communicators by creating content that inspires. In his free time, he loves traveling, reading, and skiing.