Migrating your intranet content to a SharePoint alternative

By Karleen Murphy
October 5, 2021
5 min read
Plane wing - migrating from a SharePoint alternative

Hundreds of organizations each year look to make the switch to a SharePoint alternative. The most common reasons I hear for choosing a SharePoint alternative include:

  • “Employees can’t find anything. It’s outdated, unengaging, and no one uses it.”
  • “It’s too expensive.”
  • “It’s too hard to update and manage, and the IT team doesn’t have time to devote to it.”

However, the thought of migrating all that content which has been building up for years can be scary. So much so that the project goes on hold and the pains of SharePoint continue. But never fear, making the switch to a SharePoint alternative doesn’t have to so painful! Read on to learn how.

How to alleviate the pain of switching to a SharePoint alternative

1. Get trained on your new SharePoint alternative solution

SharePoint is a platform utilized to build out an intranet. This means that, although there are huge time and resources dedicated to doing so, it’s a fully-customized solution. On the other hand, with out-of-the-box intranet software, the features and functionality have been pre-built for you. While it is still very flexible in configuration and design, changes are made through the front-end. For this reason, you’ll want to learn how the site is configured and how changes are made relatively quickly. This is easy through admin training sessions, unlimited phone/email support, a 24/7 accessible knowledge base, and of course – an intuitive product!

2. Pick your site layout

The inability to locate content and resources on a SharePoint site is one of the biggest pain points. I wouldn’t recommend simply copying what you already have. Instead, this is a chance to sit down and decide what really makes sense for your intranet.

The most common is to have one main home site, with applications that house content relevant to all employees. Then, create your team sites for departments and/or locations, with their own applications to house content specific to that team. A common mistake is for organizations to limit the number of team sites because “the ones they have on the SharePoint site aren’t used or updated” or because “one repository for all documents would make it easier for employees to find them”. These are difficulties with SharePoint functionality and not problems you would find with out-of-the-box software with Enterprise Search and Drag-and-Drop for content update delegation.

3. Delegate your site admins

Given the simplicity of updates and automation built into an out-of-the-box solution, you could potentially have one person own your entire intranet. However, an intranet with multiple contributors from different departments is the most effective way to get you the most effective information and communication portal for your staff. So, who should own your intranet? Well, who wants to!? You’ll find that there are many who volunteer for team site ownership (once they see how easy it is.) You can be sure that those most passionate will keep their content up to date.

4. Choose what needs to come over

A new intranet is a great chance to clean things up. Good thing you now have a clean site layout and team site admins to help you transfer content over. Assigning each admin their area of the intranet, and giving them ownership to decide which content is migrated, leads to a more seamless process. Some organizations prefer to form a small group and discuss it together. This can work too!

5. Use automation tools

Many out-of-the-box SharePoint alternative solutions have tools to help the transition to a new product easier. These include features such as Active Directory Sync for both Logins and Employee Profiles, a Simple HTML Editor which keeps the formatting of pasted content, Drag-N-Drop for File Uploads, and even a CSV import tool to transfer over document meta-data. Explore what automation tools are available with your chosen solution.

6. Launch your SharePoint alternative

It is easy to see the huge list of features that an out-of-the-box solution provides and feel that everything needs to be perfect before launch. The reality in many cases is that even starting with logins, an auto-populated directory, and your key documents would be miles better than what you’re working with now. The cleaner site navigation and Enterprise Search on their own will get employees excited about using your new solution. The best part about starting out small? Employees have less to get used to and you can continue to roll out new features over time, increasing your intranet adoption.

7. Track usage with intranet analytics

Given that one of the main pains of SharePoint is that “no one uses it” – strong intranet analytics is important in justifying your migration ROI. Analytics can help show trends not only in how many people are logging in during a certain time period but also compared to the previous period, to show how your engagement levels and adoption change over time. You can also track by department – a fun way to encourage employees to begin using the intranet is to let them know you will be tracking intranet usage and then to run reports after a few months and announce the “most engaged department!” You can also create an employee survey to gather responses and feedback for your new SharePoint alternative.

Here are two of our current customers who have made the leap and found great benefits in doing so:

  • Diversified Search – Millie Francis had a site built out, on her own, in 60 days and went live in 90.
  • Westminster Canterbury – Robert Mann consistently finds new, out-of-the-box tools to improve company communication and processes.

Ready to make the switch? Request a demo for more information!

By Karleen Murphy

Karleen is a former IC teammate.