I had an interesting conversation the other day with a prospect. We have been working with them on their evaluation of Intranet Connections and I was pulled in for my thoughts on our company vision and future direction. The conversation steered towards our value proposition, which at its core is about intranet simplicity and value-add. Interestingly, our work in social media and the fact that we focus on value and passion for engagement with employees – not pushing our software – was one of the deciding factors in selecting our solution as the candidate for their intranet software. That and we are truly, out of the box. Simple versus the complex.

Despite its title, this post really isn’t about selling the advantages of turnkey intranets and arguing if they are a myth or not. It is more about transparency, in a modern world of social responsibilities.  Prospects that find us are often in the midst of spending months researching various intranet solutions. They have viewed product videos; they have looked through glossy screen snaps and have read impressive case studies. We all have our own spin on marketing and putting our intranet software in the best possible light. I get it. We do it too. What I take issue with is false advertising, and I am hearing it a lot lately from our prospects.

It kind of looks like this: those beautiful, glossy screen snaps of customer intranet sites are thanks to a team of consultants, a graphics artist, and designer charging you big bucks to achieve that look – I’m talking big dollars, more than the cost of the software/platform. Impressive case studies on big brand companies? Dig deeper and you find out they started with the vendor’s intranet platform, but then paid $300,000 in customization, modifications and consulting fees.  The case study you are reading is actually of a custom intranet. To do something similar is going to cost you a lot more than what the web site states for product pricing.

I’m not saying using consultants and designers is the wrong way to achieve an intranet, but if you are a vendor who promotes turnkey, and you say your intranet software is out-of-the-box; shouldn’t your costs be out of the box too?

Transparency wins, not just in social media but in your business and marketing.

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