When designing and developing your company intranet, one of the most important factors in the project is deciding which technology to build it on.

SharePoint has become the platform of choice for many businesses owing to its versatility in document management, collaboration, business process management and customisable interface. The Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) cites rapid adoption rates of SharePoint across all sizes of organisations and sectors with 60-70% growth over the past 10 years. 


There is no doubt that SharePoint is a best-of-breed technology that meets the requirements of enterprise communication and collaboration, but it’s also infamous for being somewhat tricky to implement and to upgrade, with some intranet projects often taking upwards of a year to complete and running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.


The industry responded to these concerns with the emergence of a new type of intranet solution – the “intranet-in-a-box” or “off-the-shelf intranet.” Many are bespoke technologies that can integrate with SharePoint and many already utilise SharePoint as its core platform. These productised offerings meet the majority of business requirements as standard and therefore do not need as many customisations, decreasing the cost and time to launch. They’ve been very successful, so much so that there are now upwards of 25 different SharePoint-in-a-box solutions on offer since 2012, and many more bespoke products. 

At ClearPeople, we’re massive fans of delivering real value to our clients so we advocate a results-driven approach that saves both time and money. However, our experience has seen that while many off-the-shelf intranets provide some useful features and functionality, many include toolsets which will never be used and they often fall short in terms of providing an exceptional user experience. 


Having listened to client feedback, we developed the Essential Communications Intranet. It is not a technology product or off-the-shelf solution – it’s a tried and tested methodology to building a custom intranet. We’ve been working on creating engaging digital workspaces since 2003 and in that time, we have figured out what makes an intranet successful, so we have lovingly crafted a set of pre-defined tools and components based on the main communication and collaboration needs of an organisation. Our agile approach to implementing these means you can have an intranet up and running in as little as eight weeks. 


So why choose Essentials over any other intranet solution in the market? Well, we’re obviously very proud of what we have achieved for our clients and have listed some of the main reasons why they have opted for the Essential Communications Intranet over and above any turn-key SharePoint solutions.


1. We put users first

We get to the heart of what your organisation and your employees really need and design the solution specifically around these requirements. Similar to out-of-the-box intranets, we have a set of pre-defined tools and features at your disposal from an essential menu, but rather than give you a bunch of features that may not be useful, we work with you to figure out exactly what you need. Furthermore, we consistently hear from our clients that they want to include their organisation’s own branding into their intranet design, not only to look good, but to keep their workforce engaged and provide a consistent look and feel throughout their employee experience. We’ll get under the skin of your company’s brand, its values, ethos and commitment to staff, and create designs for your new intranet bespoke to your distinct culture. Your intranet won’t look the same as anybody else’s. 


2. It’s a native SharePoint intranet

Built using Office 365, the Essential Communications Intranet is a native SharePoint intranet and offers a seamless experience between applications. Unlike many non-native solutions, Essentials allows users to not only store information in SharePoint, but to launch all of their core communication and collaboration tools and apps from within the platform rather than a disparate system.


3. We believe in evolution

Because the Essential Communications Intranet is built using Office 365, it takes advantage of Microsoft’s regular updates and releases of new features. This can result in system downtime or broken features for many out-of-the-box intranets. And some don’t even bother to upgrade in line with the updates at all.
Our team of consultagents are constantly working on refining features and functionality as well as working alongside Microsoft to define new features. Keep up to date with our monthly blog on Office 365 roadmap updates – check it out here. Being built with a best-of-breed platform like Office 365 also means that you won’t be tied in to a vendor that offers a heavily customised, bespoke solution and you have the freedom to evolve without having to pay a hefty price tag to implement updates.


4. It’s flexible

Not only is Essentials flexible in terms of the features and tools that you require for an enhanced intranet experience, it’s also flexible in terms of pricing, giving you the opportunity to take advantage of our continuous improvement services.


5. It’s built with anywhere-access in mind

The way we work has changed. And with businesses working on a global scale across different locations and time zones, anywhere-access has never been so important. The Essential Communications Intranet is optimised for a mobile experience, meaning your staff can gain access to the latest news and documents, and collaborate with one another from their desktop or mobile device with ease.


6. We’re in it for the long-haul

We don’t believe that your intranet project is completed at go-live. In fact, that’s just the beginning! We’ve developed success services which sees our consultagents work with you to ensure the new technology is easily adopted throughout your organisation and will constantly monitor how your intranet is used, improving the way it works based on real user feedback. Unlike a lot of intranet products in the market, the Essential Communications Intranet focuses specifically on engagement. We work with our clients to ensure governance from day one, that their staff are educated and motivated to use the new solution and that the end result is easy to use and reliable. 


Before making the decision to use an out-of-the-box intranet, it’s important to understand if the approach is right for your organisation. We believe that the Essential Communications Intranet is the perfect choice which blends pre-defined features and tools with a truly unique user experience. Talk to us today to find out how to get started.

Author bio

Ricky Wallace
Ricky Wallace
Marketing Manager
I manage the delivery of ClearPeople’s marketing strategy. When I’m not getting excited about delighting customers with exceptional experiences, researching the latest tech trends or analysing data to glean insight, I’m often seen dancing to Little Mix or watching Emmerdale.


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