For many companies, organizational challenges are all too common. This is especially true for companies that are not only growing in size, but also with remote employees that can't make it into a physical office on a regular basis. There are many tools available to make all of this easier, a major one being intranet software.
So, what is an intranet? In the simplest terms, an intranet is a centralized "virtual office" where you and your colleagues can meet, exchange ideas/documents, and collaborate on projects. It's something that could never have existed decades ago, but now modern technology has made it easy to incorporate an intranet into your company. With a quality intranet platform, you can streamline your business processes to a dramatic extent.
One of the most common questions of those in the market for intranet software is whether they should build their own or buy from a reputable software company. Since an intranet is an investment, it should come as no surprise that business owners often find themselves at a crossroads when they reach this stage of the game.
Before even getting into the pros and cons of each option, it's important to determine how your business is aligned in terms of buying vs. building.
If you're considering building an intranet, there are many things to consider. First, you're going to need an in-house IT department that can not only get your intranet off the ground, but also perform regular maintenance, fix potential bugs, and help the intranet grow with your business.
Since building an intranet can be time-consuming and rather difficult, you'll want to ensure you're not up against time constraints that could have a negative effect on your business. After all, there's nothing worse than putting a project on hold because your intranet isn't working properly.
Those who build intarnets sometimes find they need to consult with outside professionals for help. This can get expensive, so you'll want to take your budget into consideration to make sure you have enough capital to afford consultants.
Finally, building an intranet requires you to maintain and grow a custom code base, ensuring nothing remains stagnant and outdated. You'll need to have the right resources at your disposal to make this happen.
As you can likely tell, building an intranet is a far more complicated approach than having one built for you.
If the above requirements seem out of reach, you may be more "buy-centric" than "build-centric."
There are many factors that might make your company a candidate for buying an intranet rather than building one.
If you need a quick intranet launch and with minimal interruptions, buying is almost always a better option than building. Intranet software vendors spend every day working to streamline their deployment strategies, ensuring the smallest amount of intranet launch problems.
Having an intranet built for you also means you can delegate tasks to non-technical users in your organization without having to show them the ropes. This is a big time saver ... as well as the only option for some businesses.
As your company grows, so must your intranet. If you're looking for a software company to handle your intranet's growth and change instead of modifying code yourself, you'll definitely benefit from buying rather than building. Those with budget constraints may also find buying to be a better option, as building an intranet has a lot of hidden costs that can perpetuate for years.
If you're still having a hard time making a decision whether to buy or build an intranet, you'll want to consider the pros and cons of each option. Every organization is different, and weighing your options can be the best way to ensure you're happy with your final decision.
There are a few benefits that come with building an intranet. Some of them may be attractive to you depending on your type of business.
Building may have a few benefits, but that doesn't mean it's anywhere near perfect. The following are some of the cons associated with building an intranet, all of which can make for a frustrating experience.
After considering the problems of building an intranet, it's not uncommon to feel intimidated by the whole process. Buying, on the other hand, causes most (if not all) of these issues to fade away.
Here are just a few benefits of buying to keep in mind as you make your decision.
It's difficult to come up with a long list of cons associated with buying intranet software, as it's usually the preferred route to take for most businesses.
Still, not all intranet software is created equal, and some may not be ideal for what you want.
While the following issues are usually only associated with certain software options, it's important to know about and be aware of them.
It should be quite clear that buying is almost always a superior option to building an intranet, especially for companies that employ people who aren't technically inclined.
Knowing what to look for when buying intranet software is of the utmost importance. Here are some aspects of intranet software to look for before settling on a purchase.
The decision to buy or build an intranet can be a tough one at first, but once you see the benefits of buying, it comes clear that doing so will result in the least amount of headaches possible.
Know what you're looking for, ask for it, and don't settle on anything less than what will properly suit your needs.
It might take you a while to find the right intranet software, but once you do, you'll be glad you took the time.
Tim is a co-founder and president of Axero and the author of his forthcoming book, Who the Hell Wants to Work for You? Break Down the Invisible Barriers to Employee Engagement. He's spilt insightful ink on the pages of Fortune, Forbes, TIME, Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur.com, CNBC, Today, and other top publications.
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