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building an intranetIn this world, we’re sometimes faced with false choices. False choices are those “either / or” selections – forcing you to pick between two options. For example, do like vanilla or chocolate ice cream?

But there’s a reason those are called false dilemmas. You don’t need to choose just one. We live in a world of vanilla and chocolate swirl ice cream, as well as strawberry, cookie dough, and bubble gum ice cream. There’s also gelato and sorbet. You can get toppings too. We live in a world where there’s just about every ice cream you can think of and probably a version of that is within about 5 miles of you. (Sorry if we’re making you hungry.)

But that’s the false choice many communicators and IT face when building an intranet. They’re given two bad options: intranet in a box or customized?

It doesn’t have to be that way, and it shouldn’t.

Building intranet in a box

Intranets that are in a box are generic – providing standard menus and navigation, standard search, standard everything. That’s the drawback, these intranets are vanilla. Everything is standard and very little – if anything – can be customized. That means all the things that bring your brand and culture to life are lost. It also sacrifices third-party integrations, like using your HRIS system to better onboard employees, enabling employees to track time in their intranet and more.

They may not be flexible, scaling with your organization as you merge or acquire companies, add many people to your workforce, update your brand, or go through layoffs.

These intranets in a box also don’t come with services – they don’t help you devise a successful intranet strategy, ensure intranet adoption by managing change among employees, or assist with writing and re-writing content, etc.

Yes, there are some advantages. They’re typically faster to implement and have proven – through usability – to be user-friendly. These intranets typically work on mobile devices.

Building customized, such as from scratch

Some intranets are highly customized. They’re beautiful works of art that reflect your organization, bringing your brand and culture to life. They may automate work, integrating with various systems, but they’re probably not flexible.

Changes typically mean you must bring the intranet provider back in or you have major scope creep. Those changes can be large – mergers, acquisitions, and re-orgs – or small, like needing to add navigation. Either way, those changes are going to cost you more money. That may not be budget you’ve allocated for.

Customized intranets probably come with a variety of services, but may not include intranet strategy assistance or writing help. And most intranet vendors don’t understand why managing change is important or how that can lead to intranet adoption.

They may also have issues going mobile or force you to use only a specific type of computer or operating system. Worse, because they’re customized for your organization, they may not have usability tests associated with them to prove they can be easily used.

The biggest issue people typically have with a customized intranet is that it takes a while to implement.

Instead, use a modern intranet

communications professional using a modern intranetIt’s a false choice to have to choose between intranet in a box and a customized intranet. You should have an intranet that brings your brand and culture to life, integrating with solutions that make your organization more productive and profitable, and something that’s easy and fast to implement.

Your organization deserves an intranet that makes communicators, IT, HR and Executives happy. IT should have control to make the changes they need, when they need to without having to dedicate hours of time to supporting users. Communications should find it easy to create and update pages as well as view metrics to determine how effective they are. HR should get the benefit of making onboarding easier as well as leveraging the intranet to ensure benefits get handled, employees are reviewed, and that managers understand their role and responsibility. Executives should be able to use an intranet to communicate organizational goals, tracking them and seeing whether employees understand them or not.

Employees should be happy, as well. They should have personalization, with the relevant resources they need available fast. They should have meaningful search results and clear navigation to find what they need quickly and easily. Collaborating with peers should be fun and enlightening. Every employee should be able to use an intranet on the device they love best – one that flexes with the type of computers employees have – desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets. Employees shouldn’t be required to use just one device from one manufacturer to see the intranet either.

Intranets should flex and bend with the organization, scaling to add more employees quickly, contract to ensure success, as well as pivot to handle re-orgs. After all, IT has other important things to do when massive change hits an organization.

Great intranets should also come with an array of services – intranet strategy and planning, a design that your team loves, a content strategy and plan that works for your organization in the given timeframe, and change management assistance to ensure adoption. You should also expect that support with help that doesn’t end when the project does; you deserve ideas and tips that keep your content fresh, collaboration alive, and ensure engagement and productivity. You should have a say in future features and a place to talk with fellow customers facing the same issues, getting their ideas.

That’s our modern intranet – ElevatePoint Intranet Platform. It’s the best of both worlds – faster installation and the customization you need to bring brand and culture to life while making employees more productive. Our intranet even comes with services that assist in every part of the intranet lifecycle, while leaving IT in control. Our customers join a community, getting ideas long after projects are over.

Intranet nirvana isn’t choosing between two bad options: in a box or fully customized. It’s choosing both and then some.

Find out more about our intranet platform

We’d love to show you what the best of both worlds is like.

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