When shopping for a suit, you usually have a vision in mind of what you’re looking for – color, fit, size, brand, blazer? You have a pretty good idea of what you want, but of course you still need to spend some time trying different suits on before you make the commitment of purchasing, as a suit should be timeless and last you awhile.
Shopping for an intranet is a similar process. Before you make the big purchase, you’ll need to know what exactly you are looking for, and what your users require. Once you figure that out, it is best to “try on” the intranets you’ve selected for evaluation.
While I do love a sharp suit, I am no fashion guru and cannot help you pick your next one out. However, I can help you find and select your first intranet with these simple tips.
Define Your Needs
It is also important to know what exactly you want your intranet to achieve. For example, if currently you spend hours a day searching through dusty filing cabinets trying to locate certain documents, files or policies – you probably need an organized Document Management feature on your intranet. Or if your company struggles with internal communication and you find yourself sending/receiving so many “all staff” emails, your head might explode – you probably need an intranet with better Employee Communication features.
To find out exactly what your businesses needs are, ask your end users:
- Are there things in the organization they are frustrated with?
- Are processes or tasks taking more time than they should?
- What would they like to see on the intranet?
- What are the current bottlenecks in the company?
Try It On For Size
Once you have found what it is your users would like to see on your new intranet, it’s time to begin evaluating. Almost all intranet providers should offer some type of intranet trial, LIVE demo or guided tour of their solution. Since you wouldn’t buy a suit without trying it on first, the same goes for intranet software. Schedule a meeting with each of the intranet solution providers that fit your requirements to get interactive with their intranet software. Be sure to also ask for a feature guide, and have your list of specific requirements ready.
It is important to fill the intranet providers in on the unique needs you require so they can focus on your needs rather than on generalized information and features. Every business is different, therefore “generally popular intranet features” won’t be the same from one organization to another. It is okay to evaluate several intranet solutions at once to see what works for your organization and what doesn’t.
From that point, pick the intranet(s) that best matched your needs to share with the rest of the intranet shareholders in your organization. Provide them with a demo of your own before making any final decisions.
Look at the Details
The final steps to find and select your first intranet involve a few other details. You’ve already defined what features you need and narrowed it down to a solution that delivers them, but there a few more things to consider.
One is intranet costs. Is this in your budget? Is it a per-user fee or a one-time cost? Is technical support included, or is it an additional cost? These things add up, and if the initial cost of your software fits within your budget, these additional or unforeseen costs may push you beyond your budget and become quite costly over time.
Another is intranet administration. Is the software simple enough that you can administer it in-house? Will you need to hire a third party resource or developer? These are important questions to ask. You want an intranet that you can easily administer yourself. Some intranet solutions prove to be quite difficult to use, so employees rely on the already busy IT department to make simple changes. Waiting for these changes could take hours, or even days, depending on the workload of IT. Not to mention, a third party resource becomes very expensive and in some cases unaffordable.
Lastly, return on investment (ROI). Will the ROI on your new intranet be significant enough? Will your new intranet increase efficiency and productivity? Does the new intranet positively impact your bottom line? It is no secret that intranet software isn’t cheap, so it is important to determine whether or not the investment is going to be worth it in the long-term. Your intranet solution needs to answer the previous issues your users communicated to you and ultimately benefit the organization.
A fellow colleague recently wrote about whether or not you need an intranet solution, with a few more tips on determining the right solution for your organization. If you’re looking for more information about how to find and select your first intranet, I definitely suggest you check it out!
Your First Intranet
There are a number of things to consider when thinking about how to find and select your first intranet. The above are just a few of the key elements when choosing an intranet that’s right for you. Remember, do a bunch of research up front! Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. Try the intranet out. Get feedback. Don’t end up with a suit that will go out of style in a year.
Are you looking for your first intranet? Comment below with any questions you may have, I’m happy to help!