"All intranets are not created equal. Each option has its benefits, and depending on your wish list, you can certainly find one that meets your expectations."
Whether you choose an intranet-in-a-box, a custom digital workplace, or a scalable option in between is up to you.
We’re here to provide insight into the three separate options that we see in the industry, and some insight into which one might be right for you.
Modern Intranet Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Right Fit For Your Organization
Building an intranet is never as simple as standing up a site and walking away. As your organization thinks about its intranet implementation, you’ve likely had conversations about content management, ownership and governance, mobility, and more. What you might not have discussed, however, is the range of intranet configurations that are available, and the features that are mandatory for your particular needs.
All intranets are not created equal. Each option has its benefits, and depending on your wish list, you can certainly find one that meets your expectations. Whether you choose an intranet-in-a-box, a custom digital workplace, or a scalable option in between is up to you. We’re here to provide insight into the three separate options that we see in the industry, and some insight into which one might be right for you.
Option 1: Intranet-In-A-Box
An intranet site with standard functions and features like an employee directory, company calendar, and news feed. It includes some basic branding (company colors and logo).
Benefits: An intranet-in-a-box provides the fastest time-to-value of the options described here. It’s a standard implementation that you can spin up quickly, and for a very reasonable price.
Who should use it: A standard intranet is a good fit for organizations who are looking to satisfy a very specific need (such as reducing email volume by delivering company-wide communications in a single location) and who want to get up and running very quickly.
A word of caution: The issue that intranet-in-a-box customers typically run into is that once they get to the edges of what the product can deliver, once they start pushing the boundaries to get more out of their product, it starts to fall apart. So, if you’re thinking about expanding your intranet capabilities in the future, an intranet-in-a-box might not be a good fit for you in the long term.
Option 2: Employee Experience Platform
An enhanced version of an intranet-in-a-box, which includes a best-in-breed information architecture, the features and functions of an intranet-in-a-box, plus the added value of a personalized design and a scalable platform that can grow with your business.
Who should use it: An employee experience platform is a step up from an intranet-in-a-box. It’s a good fit for organizations who want to deliver a personalized intranet experience to their users, and who value the design flexibility that allows them to deliver a branded user interface. Employee experience platform customers often view their initial deployment as a steppingstone to a more robust solution, and can even eventually build out a custom digital workplace-style implementation.
Option 3:Custom Digital Workplace
A built-from-scratch system with custom information architecture and content types, unlimited design capabilities, more than 200 features and functions, and full tech stack integration.
Who should use it: The best candidates for a custom digital workplace are enterprise organizations who don’t want a one-size-fits-all intranet, and who have a significant amount of time and funding to build a full platform from a blank canvas. For these organizations, the ends justify the means. Custom digital workplaces provide organizations with all the functionality and features that they need, the personalized content and design that they want, and integrations for all the applications that they use.
A word of caution: Fully custom digital workplaces are expensive and can be time-consuming. If you’re leery of the financial or time commitment, you might consider implementing an employee experience platform and scaling upward to a more custom build in the future.
You can’t go wrong with an employee experience platform.
A product (intranet-in-a-box) can get you up and running quickly and provide a decent number of common templated features. The issue lies in the limitations it levies on an organization who wants to go beyond what comes out of the box. Products are designed to do what they do well, but issues can arise when their limits are tested. This can result in having to look into other options in the future if the out-of-the-box templates don’t continue to meet your organization’s needs.
Conversely, a custom digital workplace provides the ability to start from what is essentially a ball of clay. You can mold it and form it and use it to create anything you want; the issue you have is that you don’t start from anything – it’s just a raw piece of clay. Without foundational elements and out of the box capabilities, you can build your platform to your specific needs, but everything needs to be created from scratch.
An employee experience platform sits squarely in the middle of both a product and a custom digital workplace, delivering a strong foundation and immense out-of-the-box capabilities while simultaneously providing a scalable and extensible platform that will mature and grow with your needs and requirements for years to come.