Since intranets are such an important organizational asset, choosing the right one is a critical decision. How do you select a solution that aligns with your organization’s strategic goals and that achieves the following benefits?:
- Increase employee engagement
- Support organizational change
- Facilitate collaboration
- Encourage innovation
- Improve processes
- Improve customer service
- Manage and evaluate risk
- Provide useful information across the organization
- Reduce organizational costs
Elcom’s Intranet Evaluation Guide has been designed to help you choose the right intranet by outlining the six key elements of making an intranet decision, ensuring you find an intranet that meets your organization’s needs. We’ll provide a useful checklist, questions to consider and tips and tricks that will make your intranet evaluation and decision process as simple as possible.
The Guide follows six key elements:
This article will outline the third & fourth elements to continue to guide you during your intranet decision. Check out the first article which outlines the first steps of an intranet evaluation.
The complete and free Intranet Evaluation Guide can be downloaded here.
3. Assess Potential Intranet Solutions
Your final intranet decision should be determined by the extent to which a solution or vendor fits the needs of your company. Follow the simple rule that no organization is exactly the same. What works well for one organization may not work as well for you. For this reason, it’s important to keep in mind intranet goals and strategies specific to your organization to allow the best fit.
After compiling a list of potential intranet solutions and vendors, be sure to assess a solution beyond capabilities and functionality. For instance, you should be certain about the following for each prospective intranet solution:
- What functionality does the solution provide? Social Q & A Feed, Document Management, Team Workspaces; the list goes on
- Is the solution user-friendly for staff in all departments?
- How much does the solution cost beyond initial purchase and implementation?
- Does the solution support scalability?
- How long with the implementation take?
- Is the solution customizable? If so, to what extent? How will this affect the cost of the solution?
- What do reviews say about the vendor?
- What level of customer service and support does the vendor offer?
If you’re not certain about any of these key points, this is the perfect time to write a list of questions and send them to possible vendors. This is a great way to conduct your own assessment of customer support.
Understanding as much as you can about each intranet solution is a sure fire way to make the best decision to further your organization’s strategic goals.
4. Decision Making
When it comes to choosing an intranet, who makes the final decision? What data do they use to backup their choice? How do you know if the right decision has been made?
Who Makes the Decision?
Intranets are used throughout all departments of an organization. No matter how large or small a company is, an intranet decision should involve a cross-functional group of stakeholders or managers to ensure input from the intranet team, HR, IT and other departments.
While these main stakeholders will make the final decision, be sure to involve employees who are going to be using the new intranet platform. A diverse evaluation team is essential for good decision making. Use your evaluation team to create a shortlist of viable solutions. Base your assessments on the above list of key intranet vendor capabilities.
How is the Decision Made?
Follow a structured timetable to reduce the risk of confusion and to avoid getting caught up in a complicated decision making process.
Here are some tips to stay on the ball with your intranet evaluation and decision:
- Develop a realistic timetable that aligns with your goals
- Start out with a longer list of potential vendors
- Collaborate with the evaluation team to define a shortlist of no more than six vendors
- Become knowledgeable about each potential vendor (ask questions, participate in demos)
- Implement a framework to evaluate and compare solutions
- Assign the responsibility of final decision making to a few key stakeholders
Intranet Evaluation Resources
Your evaluation team can benefit from external resources during the evaluation and decision making process. Consider the following when evaluating a potential solution:
- Current customers - If you know anyone else in the industry using a particular intranet solution, ask them about their experience. Intranet case studies, events or forums are a great source of information.
- Demos - This is a useful way to understand the capabilities and features of a solution as well as talk with team members from the vendor organization.
- Reviews - Reviews can usually be found after a quick Google search and customer success stories will be featured on a vendor’s website. Check out both of these to get a balanced view of your prospective vendor.
- Trials - Some vendors offer free trials to allow you to evaluate the solution they are offering. If this is an option - take it. Your employees will benefit from knowing exactly how the new intranet platform will fit in with their day to day activities.
Many other resources are available to help you make an informed decision. These are detailed in the free Evaluation Guide, which is available here.
In the next article, we’ll discuss technical considerations of intranet solutions and some final tips for your evaluation process.