Choosing the best CMS intranet system can be intimidating, and confusing. Your business has to weigh up a number of different factors before making a decision: Which CMS intranet fits your organization best? Which of the many providers has the best offering? What are the features we should be looking for? Thankfully, we’ve unpacked all of this for you below—from key features through to the pros and cons of the big names, this article contains everything you need to know about choosing a CMS intranet provider.
First Of All, What Is A CMS Intranet?
To put it in layman’s terms, an intranet is your company’s internal website, used by employees to communicate with each other, and access the information needed to perform their daily jobs. CMS (short for Content Management System) is the platform which manages your website’s content. For a truly integrated intranet, any intranet software will ideally combine both.
Although your company’s specific needs will be unique, there are several key features that all good CMS intranets should have. Let’s take a look at what those are?
Easy To Use
Staff should naturally be able to access and navigate their way around the system, attracting them to it and keeping training costs down.
Quick To Get Going
The best CMS intranet shouldn’t require technological wizards to install it, your average business user should be able to get it up and going without too much effort.
Nothing is as important as your company’s security. It’s not worth compromising in this area; there are enough solutions in the marketplace that will ensure high levels of security for your system.
Managing updates and troubleshooting doesn’t need to be a headache. Be sure to select a provider who not only sets up your software but helps maintain it on an ongoing basis.
Editing, sharing and searching content should be straightforward. The last thing you want is poor adoption from your team because you’ve gone with a clunky, tricky to use system.
Deciding What Is Important
Now that we’ve locked down the basic necessities in a CMS intranet provider, it’s time to look at the particular requirements for your business. The best path to achieving this is by drawing together a team from across your company, making sure you include a range of different departments and stakeholders. Leverage the knowledge of this group to detail exactly what key features your CMS intranet will require—what tools and information absolutely must be accessible in your intranet? What are core objectives are you trying to achieve by introducing a CMS intranet?
Having figured out exactly what areas of your business you’re looking to improve through the introduction of a CMS intranet, now you can look at the different platforms to assess the suitability of the different solutions and providers in the marketplace.
Looking At Your Options
When it comes to choosing the best CMS intranet provider for your company or organization, you’re not starved for choice. The marketplace offers a range of quality providers, below we look at some of the popular options, running through the pros and cons to enable an informed decision.
SharePoint is best known for being Microsoft’s offering in the marketplace. Typically, it has a familiar Microsoft feel to it, has good solutions around uploading/downloading documents, and works great with the most recent versions of Office.
The main concern around SharePoint is that it requires a decent amount of technical expertise to set up. Your average employee generally won’t find it easy to use, and some organizations have struggled to utilize its features beyond document management.
Famous among bloggers, few know that WordPress is actually capable of being used as an intranet CMS as well. Aesthetically pleasing and easy to use, WordPress can be extended by any number of plugins to increase its features, with media and image support built-in.
Unfortunately, large organizations have found WordPress to be fairly restrictive in the past, due to the nature of its core template. Often numerous plugins need to be installed to meet the necessary requirements, which can be arduous and time-consuming. Security concerns have also plagued WordPress, with hacking and SQL injections occurring in the past. Some of these have been addressed in recent updates. However, users are responsible for their own updates to maintain security levels.
Also well known in the CMS intranet world is Drupal. Following a similar model to that of WordPress, Drupal features a core platform, with a plethora of plugins and add-ons which can be accessed to expand the original offering. Key benefits include the provider’s easy to use system, which requires little technical knowledge, and a strong support network to assist with general operational issues and troubleshooting.
However, Drupal suffers from some of the same cons as WordPress. The large quantity of modules make customizing and creating a suitable system time-consuming and complicated. Many organizations have found this a deterrent, and the process often involves engaging additional IT resource to execute properly.
Hosted Online CMS Intranets
Combine all of the core features and necessary functionality of CMS intranet, take away the weaknesses present in other providers, and you have hosted online CMS intranets. All your important business tools in the one location, without any pesky plugin-ins. With hosted online intranets, you can expect:
- Document management systems
- Company calendar
- Collaborative work spaces
- Forms workflow
- Advanced search capabilities
- Staff directory
Incredibly simple—just log on, and begin creating content. No installing or downloading software, no plug-ins or add-ons. Just a simple interface that is easy to use and feels natural for your staff.
You can expect to receive ongoing support from most intranet hosting companies. This means that operational issues are no longer a big drama—support is a simple phone call away, instead of trawling though forums looking for an answer. Not to mention that all updates will be done for you automatically, and all security protection will be maintained automatically, free of charge. Your company will have the best software to ensure maximum running time and protection.
The Best CMS Intranet Choice Is Clear
Having seen what the market has to offer, it’s clear that hosted online solutions provide the best of both worlds—a single platform for sharing and accessing information, easy to set up and use, all with integrated functionality.
If you’re ready to start working from an intranet template that has already been proven effective in countless offices just like yours, contact us for a free intranet demo and consulting session today. If you are short on time, we also provide a range of intranet design services for companies who wish to outsource areas such as the setting up of sections, pages, forms and users. We’ll work with you to design and deploy the best CMS intranet that will help increase communication, collaboration, and engagement throughout your office.
An effective intranet design isn’t just about the initial template or the first pieces that you put together. You need an intranet that is designed to fit the unique needs of your business not only when it’s first deployed, but in every day to follow. We’re here to help provide the basic template, the support you need to go forward and the time-tested solutions you need to make the most of your intranet. Just get in touch.