Deciding to implement an intranet was easy. With so many great benefits on offer, it’s a no-brainer, really. However, selecting the best intranet supplier may not be as straightforward. There are just so many intranet vendors out there. And each platform has different features, design, and pricing. So how do you begin to compare all these suppliers?
Plus, there’s a lot at stake. Time, effort, and resources are always in short supply. And the last thing you want to do is invest in a solution that’s not a good fit for your business.
Making sense of it all can be confusing and frustrating. However, help is at hand. In this post, we give you the benefit of our considerable knowledge and expertise. We identify the tough questions you need to ask any intranet vendor. These questions will tease out whether the offering is right for you. And they will help ensure you select the best intranet supplier for your organization.
Purpose Of Company Intranet
The starting point has to be the purpose behind your intranet. It isn’t easy to compare intranet suppliers and products without having a clear vision of what you want to achieve. So, if you haven’t yet considered your intranet’s aims and objectives, now is the time to do so.
You may have some vague ideas around improving internal communications, enhancing employee engagement, or increasing collaboration. However, to select the best intranet supplier, you need to get down to specifics. The following section will help you get there.
Intranet Aims And Objectives
The intranet is a comprehensive digital workplace solution. A company intranet simultaneously ticks the boxes for several organizational objectives. And that’s one of the reasons why it’s so popular. However, it’s a good idea to drill down into specific aims and objectives. This will assist you in selecting the best intranet vendor. And it will also help you measure success post-implementation.
It’s your employees who will ultimately determine the success or failure of the intranet. If it’s not meeting their needs, the intranet will become redundant – a virtual version of a dusty filing cabinet. So rather than making assumptions about what staff want and need, go and ask them. It’s the only sure-fire way to find out.
Some companies set up an employee focus group with organization-wide representation. Others prefer to give all workers the chance to contribute in an employee survey or pulse check. And many decide to undertake a detailed task analysis. This technique identifies the information needs involved in completing a range of everyday tasks.
It’s worth spending time on this crucial step. At the end of the process, you will have a clear idea of the information needs within your business. And you will have identified the organizational pain points the intranet needs to address.
The Best Intranet Supplier: Guiding Principles
Regardless of the specific aims and objectives, there are several common elements every intranet much have. The best intranets have the following principles at heart, which double up as a handy checklist:
- Easy to implement
- Quick to set up
- Simple to manage
- Intuitive for users
- Engaging interface and design
- Safe and secure
- Easy navigation and search capabilities
- Ability to customize
- Ongoing help and support
32 Questions To Ask Your Intranet Vendor
The following selection of challenging questions is designed to help you compare and contrast different intranet suppliers.
We have organized the questions to reflect the guiding principles identified above.
Easy To Implement
Ease of implementation is a key factor. An intranet that’s complicated and difficult to set up is not going to be at the top of your wish list. Instead, you want a solution that doesn’t require any great IT knowledge and skills to get going.
Ask the following questions to determine how easy it is to implement the provider’s intranet platform.
- How do I set up the intranet?
- Do I need specialist IT help, or can anyone do the setup?
- What help and support are available if I run into problems with implementation?
Quick To Set Up
Nobody wants an intranet solution that takes months to get off the ground. You want to be up and running as soon as possible so you can start reaping the rewards. The following questions will help you work out what’s involved.
- How long does the average intranet take to set up?
- Do we need a staff training program to support implementation?
- Does the intranet vendor provide onboarding resources or support?
Simple To Manage
Look for a platform that’s easy to manage. Creating and editing pages and content should be a breeze. And all the best intranets have easy-to-use administration tools, so adding and deleting users is straightforward.
- Does it come with use pre-built intranet templates?
- How do I create and edit pages?
- What administration tools are included, and how do they work?
Intuitive For Users
The intranet has to be user-friendly for every employee regardless of their skill level. Sleek and simple is the way to go to ensure accessibility and maximum uptake.
- Will the intranet be easy for every employee?
- How long does it take the average user to be familiar with the software?
- Is the intranet accessible to non-technical workers?
Engaging Interface And Design
The overall look and feel of the product are vital to success. A dull, clunky intranet design will not engage and motivate staff. The platform needs to address users’ needs, and it must be fun to use. These questions will help you assess whether the intranet has that special zing factor.
- What user participation rates are you achieving for your existing customers?
- Do you have customer testimonials relating to the intranet’s design and interface?
- Does the platform require any add-ons or plug-ins?
Safe And Secure
The intranet will be packed full of sensitive company data. The highest levels of security are needed to keep that data safe and secure. However, reducing external threats from cyberattacks and malware is only one aspect. Just as important is the ability to restrict internal access to the right people only.
- What security measures does the intranet supplier have in place to protect our data?
- Can we restrict access to parts of the intranet to select personnel only?
- How do you address new cybersecurity threats?
Easy Navigation And Search Capabilities
The best intranet solutions are easy to navigate. And finding that vital piece of information is simple with the advanced search. How the intranet is organized is a critical success factor. The following questions will help you assess effectiveness.
- Who decides the overall information architecture for our intranet?
- How do users know where to find information?
- How do you ensure navigation is intuitive?
Ability To Customize
Every business is different. A one-size-fits-all solution may not be fit for purpose when it comes to your business. All the best intranets allow for some personalization with customizable features. The following questions will help you assess the extent of customization offered by the intranet supplier.
- Can we pick and choose the tools and features on our intranet?
- Can I add my logo and brand colors to the platform?
- Is it possible to integrate the intranet with the other enterprise systems we use, such as Google Workspace and Salesforce?
An intranet should be a long-term investment. Five years on, you don’t want to find you have outgrown the platform. The last thing you need is to have to start your search all over again. Therefore, the intranet must be scalable and capable of growing alongside your business.
- Do you have limits on user numbers and data storage?
- How often do you release updates to the software?
The available budget is always a critical factor. You want to ensure the intranet supplier offers value for money and a good ROI.
- What are the upfront costs?
- Are there any extra charges?
- How often do you review your pricing structure?
Ongoing Help And Support
Customer service should be an important selection criterion. Some intranet providers like MyHub provide ongoing help and support at no extra charge. You need to know what happens when something goes wrong. Ask the following questions to find out.
- What ongoing customer support do you offer, and is there a cost?
- Are you available 24/7? And what happens if there’s a problem out of hours?
- How reliable is the platform? What’s your uptime over the last 12 months?
This list of questions will help you compare the different intranet suppliers in the marketplace. Use them to focus on what’s really important so you can narrow down your search to a shortlist. Before you make a final selection, you need to dig deeper. Here are some additional areas to consider.
Evaluate The Intranet Supplier’s Experience
Find out if the intranet supplier has a track record in your industry. This is even more relevant if you face specific challenges. For example, you may operate in a highly regulated industry such as healthcare. Or perhaps you are a multinational company with offices in several countries. While previous experience may not be essential, it could be a deciding factor.
Check Consumer Reviews
Be sure to undertake due diligence and research the intranet supplier’s customer reviews. There are several independent sites you can consult, such as Capterra, G2, and Software Advice. Researching independent customer reviews can be very enlightening. And they will provide more honest feedback than the intranet vendor’s carefully selected testimonials.
Free Demo Or Trial
Most intranet providers offer a free demo or shared screen tour. And if they don’t, then they should not be on the shortlist. A free demo allows you to explore the software in action. You can assess whether the tools, features, and interface on offer are a good match for your business. Plus, you get a real-world feel for whether the design hits the mark for usability and engagement.
Even better are those providers that offer a free trial. This means that you can assess the software for real in your own workplace. Employees can try out the platform and give you honest feedback about its efficiency and effectiveness. And it could well make all the difference, so be sure to take advantage of any free trials.
Most intranet providers will tell you their intrants are available on mobiles and tablets. And with more employees working from home, the ability to connect anytime and anywhere is now an essential feature. However, there’s a wealth of difference between mobile-friendly and mobile-optimized sites. Use the free demo or trial offer to assess the intranet site’s effectiveness on mobiles. Can remote workers or employees out on the road access all the tools they need to get the job done? Don’t take it for granted. Double-check the mobile version before you sign on the dotted line.
Intranet Supplier: Main Takeaways
Selecting your intranet supplier is a big decision. Here’s a quick recap of what we have covered to support you in making the right choice.
- Set the aims and objectives for your intranet beforehand, so you are clear on what you are looking for.
- Research all the options using our guiding principles to narrow down the search.
- Ask your long list of potential intranet vendors the set of questions to focus on what’s important.
- From the resulting shortlist, use independent customer reviews, free demos, and trials to select the best intranet provider.
MyHub’s cloud intranet software has been designed for people with no expertise and limited resources. Easy-to-use and fast-to-launch, our intranets are used by businesses worldwide. Find out why with our free demo or 14-day no-obligation trial.