Introducing a company intranet is an important business decision, representing an investment of both time and resources. Some companies, however, are failing to undertake due diligence and are not always ensuring they have a demonstration before making a final choice of intranet supplier. In much the same way as you wouldn’t spend thousands of dollars on a brand new car before first having a test drive, in this article we underline the importance of making sure you undertake that all-important demo before making a final choice. We put forward some compelling reasons why an intranet demo is essential. And then we take a look at some key questions to ask during a demonstration to help you make the right choice.
In-Depth Product Knowledge
A demonstration is the best way to discover all that the intranet software has to offer. You can read all the information and reviews available about that product, but in-depth product knowledge only comes with a live demonstration with the support of someone who has a detailed understanding of the intranet’s functionality and capability.
Fitness For Purpose
This aspect is very closely related to in-depth product knowledge. The only way that you can make a truly informed decision as to whether an intranet provider’s product is a good match for your business is to play around with it yourself. Test it out with a small group of colleagues to get as broad a range of views and feedback as possible. Different colleagues and teams within your organization will be using the intranet in different ways, and so you will want to make sure that the intranet offering ticks all the boxes for your business.
Increases Your Return On Investment
A demonstration or trial run could potentially save your organization from making expensive mistakes in purchasing an intranet offering that doesn’t meet up to the hype and fails to deliver on its promises.
It’s also a great time saver as any potential issues or problems can be tweaked before the system goes live when it could result in significant downtime or disruptions to staff working.
Opportunity To Assess The Supplier
A demonstration is an excellent opportunity for you to assess the supplier. You will be able to get a feel for the culture of the supplier’s organization and whether it is a match to yours. In addition, you will be able to assess how helpful the supplier is and whether they will deliver in terms of offering ongoing support to your business if you were to choose their intranet software offering.
Types Of Intranet Demonstrations
There are a number of forms that the demonstration can take. These include a:
- shared screen tour
- how-to video
- trial period.
Your intranet provider may have a preferred medium that they use, or you may have. The form it takes is not important: what is important is that you get your hands dirty and have a go yourself. And don’t forget to get together a test team with representation from across the organization, so you get some good feedback from potential end users.
Intranet Demo Questions To Ask
Before you begin a demonstration or trial run, it’s important that you have a checklist of key questions already drawn up. You won’t want to miss anything important when you’re caught up in the actual demonstration, so it’s worthwhile spending time beforehand drawing up a comprehensive set of questions to ask the provider.
If you’re at the stage of selecting a potential intranet provider, then you should already have an overall vision and a sense of your organization’s goals and objectives for the intranet. Probably the first question you will want to ask is how well does the intranet software offering match with your objectives? If the answer to this question is negative, then it’s time to move on to another potential supplier.
Easy To Set Up?
Top of your list of requirements will be whether the intranet is easy to set up. A straightforward set up process will be a great time saver and so you may want to ask questions such as:
- What is the installation process?
- How long does it typically take?
- Is there support available?
Easy To Use?
Fundamental to the success of any intranet is how easy it is to use. An overly complicated intranet that’s hard to find your way around is unlikely to be fit for purpose. Questions to ask in relation to ease of use include the following:
- Is it intuitive to use?
- How easy is it to navigate?
- How will staff search for the information they want?
Easy To Manage?
What about the intranet’s ease of management. Other questions you may want to ask include:
- How easy is it to add users and set up site permissions?
- How do you add and edit content or set up additional pages?
- What are the customizable design elements?
Safe And Secure?
Being confident that your intranet is as safe and secure as possible will be a major consideration. Questions to ask to determine just how safe and secure could include the following:
- What security systems are in place to ensure the information on the intranet cannot be accessed by external sources?
- Is it possible to restrict staff access to parts of the intranet?
- How is the intranet virus protected and who is responsible for updates?
There is one final question that you will want to make sure you have a clear answer to in advance.
How Much Does The Intranet Cost?
It’s important to be absolutely certain about what the monthly fee is and what is included in those costs. Questions you may want to ask in relation to costs include the following:
- How many users are included in the fee?
- Do you offer support services as part of the monthly fee?
- How much data storage is available?
An intranet demo or trial run is, therefore, a necessary step in the process of implementing a new intranet. It will give you a real taste of what the product has to offer and whether it is a match to your business needs. A good provider will be happy to provide a demonstration and talk you through the intranet’s functionality and capability. It’s much less risky and could save you a great deal of time and expense by making sure you select the right provider in the first place.