When it comes to intranet services is it better to do it yourself or hire an intranet developer? If you’ve been tasked with delivering an intranet for your organization then no doubt you have been grappling with this very question. And in this post, we’ll help you to identify the right answer for your company. Most projects operate within different sorts of constraints that shape the way it is delivered. One of the most common ways of modelling these constraints is by using the tried and tested project management triangle. So let’s look at each point of the triangle in turn and examine the case for doing it yourself or hiring an expert.
Time Is Precious
In an organizational context, time is always precious. One of the major constraints of your project will no doubt be the amount of time available. We recommend that the most important first step is to clearly define the purpose of your intranet as this will help you to quantify how much time is available.
It may be that the idea for the intranet has come about in response to a pain point identified in your business. It could be that improving internal communications is the identified need or perhaps it’s in response to a desire for enhanced employee engagement and opportunities for collaboration. It may also be a business driven outcome. For example, you need the intranet to be up and running to reduce process and communication costs before product ABC is launched.
And so the timescale for your intranet project will largely be determined by its purpose. And how much time you have will likely have a bearing on whether you choose to go it alone or use an expert. If your internal IT team is fully committed for the next six months, then utilizing external help may be the way to go if you want to press ahead with introducing the intranet before then. And if the product launch that we mentioned earlier is scheduled for three months and there is no internal IT expertise, then again it may be that using an expert is the preferred option. If, however, the lead-in is not so urgent and you have a dedicated IT internal resource, then the do-it-yourself option and the possibility of tailoring the intranet to your specific needs might be very appealing.
People And Resources
When it comes to implementing a company intranet, you need to have the right people and resources in place. Do you have an in-house intranet expert? If you do then great, you can probably press ahead with the do-it-yourself option. Chances are though that the answer to this question is no. And so in much the same way that you wouldn’t dream of undertaking a project to install fiber optic cabling in the office without first engaging an expert, so it makes sense to utilize the expertise of an intranet developer in getting your project off the ground. The intranet developer will have previous specific experience of developing and delivering intranet solutions and will bring a wealth of knowledge in terms of functionality and troubleshooting.
It’s easy to under-estimate the investment of time that is required with do-it-yourself options. Setting up a bespoke intranet will likely take several months from start to finish and even off-the-shelf options require technical knowledge and expertise and an investment of time. In these sorts of scenarios, it’s easy to see how the costs can quickly spiral and that’s without factoring in the need for servers to host the intranet and the ongoing costs of maintenance.
Often it’s a much more efficient use of resources to engage an intranet developer who can save you time and help to keep the costs down. Intranet developers know all the pitfalls and can ensure that the requirements for your intranet project are pitched at the right level. In addition, most intranet developers offer cloud-hosted solutions which means that you will not have to worry about purchasing and maintaining additional company servers. That particular headache will be the responsibility of the hosting company along with ensuring the security of the data and all backups and updates.
Furthermore, intranet developers usually offer pre-built and pre-tested page templates that can be customized to meet your specific requirements in terms of functionality and branding. And so you will be able to verify with other companies just like yours not only that the intranet does the job, but also that it does the job extremely well. And so there are plenty of economies of scale to be had by engaging an intranet developer who’s effectively done all the hard work for you already.
A word of caution though: beware of using website developers. Usually, website developers are not intranet experts and while they may be great at developing World Wide Web applications, they don’t always understand the intricacies of intranets and their relevance to the organizational pain points you’re seeking to address.
Value For Money
Ensuring value for money is, of course, another familiar constraint that most likely will impact on your intranet project. No doubt there will be considerable organizational pressure on you to ensure that there is sufficient return on investment.
If you are going down the do-it-yourself route, then make sure that you have fully considered all the potential costs. The costs of developing an intranet don’t just start and end with the software. Have you given adequate thought to some of the hidden expenses including:
- upskilling employees on the new platform
- training end users to make sure they get the most out of the intranet
- sourcing engaging content
- development and testing of the pilot intranet
- purchasing and maintaining additional servers.
In comparison, an intranet developer and cloud solution offer greater cost certainty. Clear terms of engagement will set out the roles and responsibilities of the intranet developer and the fees involved. In addition, cloud hosting works out to be very cost-effective with fixed monthly fees, unlimited numbers of users and unlimited data storage.
Intranet Services: No One-Size Solution
For many companies, employing an intranet expert to deliver the overall solution is an effective use of resources. It can save valuable time and contribute towards staying within budgetary limits. Pre-built intranet platforms nowadays are often so straightforward and easy to use that for a large percentage of companies they will be the perfect solution. Typically, MyHub’s customers, for instance, customize our templates to create their own intranet and have it up and running within three days, all for a very competitive price. And so for time poor businesses that need to have the intranet deployed quickly to meet an organizational pain point, this is a great option.
Equally though, for those companies that have the organizational will, the resources, a skilled internal team and have time on their side then creating a bespoke intranet solution may be the best choice.
If you would like to discuss your intranet project in more detail, then contact the expert team at MyHub for some impartial advice on the best option for you.