So you’ve decided your organization needs an intranet? Congratulations, that’s one big step in the right direction! No doubt you’re currently grappling with the age-old dilemma of whether to build and implement the intranet yourself or contract an external party. Never fear, this is a common question when it comes to intranet services. Below, we unpack this issue by looking at the various constraints typically faced in most projects—time, people, and money. This project management triangle provides a good basis for deciding whether to implement an intranet internally or to utilize expertise outside your organization.
Time Is Of The Essence
We all know how important time is in a business context. After all, time is money! When looking to introduce an intranet to your organization, we suggest first and foremost clearly defining the purpose of your intranet, as this will help clarify the amount of time that should be spent on the project. One of the key drivers of this project will be the amount of time available, so it’s important to know this upfront.
Potentially, your organization’s need for an intranet will stem from an existing failure within the business. Perhaps internal communication is not at the level necessary to facilitate a major product launch, or turnover is higher than desired and a big push for employee engagement is needed. Or, it could simply be a value-add to strengthen your existing culture and connect staff with the most current information. Clearly, these different motivations come with their own timeframes – the available time to implement an intranet will be primarily determined by its purpose.
Time is the deciding factor. How much time you have available will have a big influence on whether you choose to roll an intranet out yourself, or get external help from an intranet services provider. If timeframes are not so urgent, for example if the intranet is being introduced as a value-add to further strengthen culture, then perhaps this is an appropriate situation to attempt creating the intranet yourself. However, if the project is driven by a business outcome, such as launching Product X in 60 days’ time, and your IT team already has their hands full with existing projects, you’d be mad to add this to their workload. Ultimately, it all comes down to the time available—and remember, doing it yourself still takes time, and isn’t always the cheapest option.
Getting The Right Person For The Job
Having the right person makes all the difference. It goes without saying that the second key factor to look at when introducing an intranet is people. Do you have the right expertise internally? If you do, great – provided they have enough time, and can provide value for money, chances are you’ll be successful rolling out an intranet internally. If you’re short on expertise, however, don’t even try! You wouldn’t dream of trying to do your own plumbing at the office, and the same notion applies here. Utilize the expertise of an intranet developer to help launch your project, instead of doing an amateur job yourself. The value that comes from engaging someone with targeted experience, who has a range of knowledge and tools surrounding intranet and troubleshooting, is immense.
When considering the suitability of your internal personnel, be aware of the DIY time trap. Speak to anyone who has optimistically set off on their own DIY adventure – they will tell you, it takes longer than you think. Setting up a tailor-made intranet will more than likely take several months of your IT team’s time, even if based on an off-the-shelf solution. Never mind the ongoing maintenance or need for servers to host the intranet. Is this worth the investment of your team’s time? Costs can quickly spiral, hidden behind the fact that you’re paying salaries, instead of invoices. Ultimately, it’s still money at the end of the day, and it’s important to pre-empt falling into this kind of trap.
Intranet developers also typically offer pre-built and pre-tested page templates, any of which can be tailored to meet your organization’s particular needs around marketing and functionality. These templates are used by companies all over the world, meaning that you can be sure your intranet is world-class. This is just one example of the economies of scale to be gained by engaging an intranet developer who has done all the heavy lifting in advance for you.
Engaging an intranet services company can often be a much more efficient use of resources. After all, they specialize in creating and implementing intranets, so they should be able to do it in the most cost-effective way. These professionals don’t need to reinvent the steering wheel, know all of the pitfalls along the way, and come with the backing of targeted resources. For example, cloud-hosted solutions are now commonplace among intranet services companies, meaning the headache of security, backing up data, and updates will all be taken care of.
As an aside, be aware of website developers – though experts at creating web pages, often they don’t come equipped with the necessary resources or experience when it comes to developing intranets.
It’s All About The Money, Money, Money
It goes without saying that return on investment is an important factor in a project such as this. Value for money has a big impact on the course of action you choose, and no doubt there will be significant organizational pressure on you to get this right.
Again, we emphasize the importance of considering everything before choosing to go down the DIY path. Costs extend beyond simply creating the software, and include areas such as:
- Generating relevant content
- Upskilling employees
- Testing and developing trial intranet
- Maintaining and buying servers
- Training end-users
Juxtaposed against this, cloud solutions provided by intranet services providers offer fantastic cost certainty. Terms of engagement will be clearly set out, with fees, roles, and responsibilities all clarified upfront. Fixed monthly fees can be very cost-effective, allowing unlimited data storage and users.
So, What’s Best?
Many organizations find that hiring an expert is the way to go when introducing an intranet. Ultimately, this ends up being the most effective use of resources, saving time and staying on budget. With the quality of pre-built solutions these days, the majority of companies are finding that these are a fantastic option. MyHub’s customers are typically up and running within three days, having customized a template to create their own intranet. At such a competitive price, this is a great way for time and resource-poor organizations to quickly address those pain points and introduce an intranet.
In saying this, for those companies that have the resources, the desire, and a skilled internal team, creating a tailor-made internal intranet may be the way to go.
Need Help Implementing an Intranet in Your Business?
Asymmetric, led by former Army Delta Force operator and corporate executive, Mark Hope, can help you implement these ideas in your business. You can contact Mark by email at email@example.com, or by telephone at +1 866-389-4746, or you can schedule a complimentary strategy discussion by clicking here. You can read all of his articles on Medium.
Mark A. Hope is the founder and CEO of Asymmetric Marketing – a unique agency specializing in building high-performing sales and marketing systems, campaigns, processes, and strategies for small businesses. Asymmetric has extensive experience with organizations across many industry segments. If you would like some help in implementing ideas like these in this article, feel free to give Mark a call at 866-607-3593 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.