Once you’ve decided that an intranet solution is right for your business, a core question is whether to go for something cloud-based, or a platform that is built on your company’s network. As either option has both advantages and disadvantages, it pays to consider which solution will be the most practical for your business. To help you make the best hosting decision, let’s consider the pros and cons of both options. Once you understand the benefits and potential pitfalls, you’ll be able to move forward with a firm idea of what matters most for your company.
Get Your Head In The Clouds
In order to get your project off the ground more quickly and cost-effectively, it can pay to look to the sky. Cloud-based intranet solutions tend to be cheaper (and quicker!) to get going – at least in the short term. Without the cost of extra equipment for your internal company network, or additional IT staff to set up or maintain your system, you can speed up the implementation while keeping the initial costs of the project down. In fact, it’s often possible for someone in your marketing or communications department to take the task on, without needing a more specialized technical resource. On the flip-side of this is the fact that those monthly payments for your cloud-based infrastructure are ongoing. Instead of a significant upfront investment, the monthly amounts will continue in order for you to continue to access your intranet.
Always Looking At The Same Sky
It’s no secret that we’re an increasingly mobile workforce – out on the road and moving around as we conduct business, or accessing information remotely from far-flung parts of the country as technology now enables us to do. It’s worth considering just how dispersed your company’s employees are. If they are not often all based in the office, a cloud-based solution can help them to access important documents, collaborate with coworkers or check in on important news announcements from anywhere. The convenience of being able to log in from absolutely anywhere is a big plus when compared with an intranet that is hosted in the office and tends to require users to be present also.
Not only geographical advantageous, but a cloud-based intranet also has accessibility advantages when it comes to what might be happening in your office. If the power goes out, your servers overheat, or your internal network goes down for any reason, the intranet will still be accessible via laptops and phones if it is hosted in the cloud. Not to mention that fickle mistress Mother Nature, who can deliver weather emergencies that make it hard to get into the office; despite everything, a cloud-based service will still be ticking along and taking care of business.
Getting Things Going – And Quickly!
Once your organization has made the decision to implement an intranet solution, the general feeling is that it ideally should have been in place yesterday. To get your project kicked off quickly it’s worth trying not to reinvent the wheel (especially if you don’t have to!) For most cloud-based solutions, you’re able to work from templates and plug in already established apps to give your solution the functionality it needs, quickly and easily. As mentioned earlier, it’s unlikely you’ll need internal IT resource to get it up and running either; instead, a few people with administrative responsibilities and access can keep it running smoothly.
The sky is the limit when it comes to cloud-based intranet too. Instead of having to buy additional servers, you can easily expand your intranet offering as your business grows. The ideal technology solution will be future-proofed to fit your increasing needs and having your intranet on the cloud means that additions and changes are as easy (or even easier) than the initial implementation. When it comes to retaining total control, however, an in-house system enables you to decide how and when upgrades happen. You are also able to put a new system out to trial with key employees before pushing it live to everyone, which can help you troubleshoot potential problems before they become big issues.
A Hand To Hold If Things Go Wrong
For any good technology solution to continue to provide value for your business it needs to be maintained. Who this job falls to depends on what sort of solution you have chosen. An in-house intranet that is hosted on your company servers is yours to maintain. While this is added responsibility, it typically means that you’ll have an on-site IT team to engage with for issue resolution. Likely they’ll be just down the hall, so easy to get face-to-face time with if you need to go over any problems in person.
A cloud-based intranet solution, on the other hand, will likely come with a service contract, meaning it’s up to an external organization to ensure that everything continues to run smoothly. While they will have familiarity with the system, and likely will be working with multiple intranets, they don’t always have the proximity to your system or your business to immediately flag when problems do arise. Likely you will also be reliant on phone support when there are blips. The other benefit of using an external organization? You get to pull from the whole organization’s knowledge – not just your single IT person.
What It Comes Down To The Pros And Cons
- Lower up-front costs
- No need to hire or train IT personnel; the system can easily be run by existing employees within the company
- Employees can easily access the intranet from anywhere
- Access remains regardless of what is happening in your office
- It’s easy to make changes and scale the size of your intranet without the requirement of buying more equipment
- Cloud-based systems can be implemented faster, as can changes and upgrades in an existing system
- Your external provider will be experts in the system; they’ll know exactly how to solve issues
- Someone else owns your intranet solution, and you don’t have full control over how and when upgrades are released
- You have to pay each month to keep your system up and running. Over time, this can add up to a much higher expense than the initial output to create an in-house system
- You won’t have an in-house IT provider or maintenance resource
Internally Hosted Intranet
- Your system is yours to use as you will; it can be designed to your needs and you have full control over any changes
- There’s no long-term cost adding to your budget in an ongoing way, i.e., monthly payments to keep it up and running
- You’ll have an in-house IT team to deal with anything that goes wrong and problem-solve in person easily
- There’s a much higher up-front cost involved in the implementation
- If your network goes down, everyone loses access to the intranet as well
- You will have to hire and train an in-house team to handle maintenance and upkeep
- You need skills to help you to design your intranet
- An in-house intranet is slow to scale, often requiring new equipment to be purchased as your business and its needs grow.
If you’re still unsure what the best option is for your company, why not ask the experts? Get in touch with MyHub to find out whether a cloud-based intranet would work for you.