It can be self-evident that improving communication and collaboration in your workplace can provide a significant return on investment. Introducing more efficient and organized ways of sharing information and working together not only saves time, but outputs better results. Getting your management team to understand this is crucial. In many cases, choosing a software to improve communication comes down to the cost and value that is seen in such a product. More than ever before, businesses have lots of choices when upgrading or implementing a new intranet platform/site. Which option to go with depends heavily on the following criteria:
- Return on Investment (ROI)
- Time to implement/Manage
Now, actually figuring out these values, and estimating an overall cost is a lot more tricky. The cost may not just be the initial purchase cost, but the ongoing support costs, future development or upgrades, and costs for extra time committed to maintaining or running the intranet. Depending on your budget and size of your company, you may not know what options are available for you, or how to show the ROI to your management team.
In this blog, we are going to review different types of options you have for deploying or upgrading your intranet. Again, depending on the size of your company, security, available budget, resources and overall need, one option may be a better fit than the other. But mainly we want to show why using a SaaS out of the box product like Noodle, may be the best option and provide the most value for your business.
Developing and hosting your own intranet site in-house, is an affordable and flexible way to deploy a simple company intranet. If you already have an in-house web developer, and don’t require a lot of intranet features, this could be a good option. You could set up a site in WordPress that has multiple plugins you can use to add functionality beyond a basic static news site.
The issues come with the development length and maintaining the content. Likely, you would have a small team of web developers (less than 3) to help deploy and run the intranet. The more plugins you add to your WordPress site, the harder it becomes to manage. Chances and updates are usually done by the web development team as well, as most content creators do not have the skills/experience to update HTML code or manage a mess of plugins.
Overall cost is difficult to estimate. You would have to factor in the salary of the web developer(s) and how much time would they require to build the site (and maintain.) As well as if you are using free hosting and mainly free plugins. If you do have to hire a developer outside of your organization, be prepared to invest in the initial development and put some aside for a likely monthly fee to maintain the site.
If you don’t have much to invest in a complete intranet solution, have some developer resources (and time) and like to have more control on how you design and manage your site, then building an intranet in-house may be a good solution. Just be aware of the limitations of what you can do with your WordPress site, and note that you may have to seek additional 3rd party resources to help you want to solve every other problem you have regarding communication in your workplace.
We have discussed Sharepoint in a past post that you can read here. So we won’t get into things too much, other than focusing on the costs.
Initially, a Sharepoint site seems inexpensive. Until you start developing and adding functionality to it. The SharePoint Census 2012 quoted an average $46 per user per month. If you are a very large corporation, this may not really matter to you. For a smaller, 50 user company, over $25,000 a year is simply too much for an intranet site.
It is crucial to look at not just the initial costs, but ongoing costs as well, when considering Sharepoint. But then, it really should come down to the value and ROI. There are some great tools available and will integrate with most other programs you use and fully integrate with Microsoft office products. But there are many other solutions that are much more inexpensive to use as an alternative.
Remember, just like with an in-house solution, a Sharepoint site requires a technical expert to update and maintain (which is a death certificate for any intranet.) Factor in their cost with the cost of upgrading your Sharepoint in the future. You could be looking at a very high bill at the end of the year.
Out of the Box SaaS – Like Noodle
Do you want your office using a new, fresh, useful intranet site as soon as possible for a low upfront investment? Do you want to keep long-term intranet costs down? Looking for an easy to use intranet site with full technical support and assistance? Then using a “ready-to-go” intranet may be the best solution.
If you want to improve communication and collaboration in your workplace without breaking the bank and waiting for months of development, start looking into SaaS Intranet vendors. Compared to the other options we mentioned, a service like Noodle provides the best value on an intranet that you can start using right away.
One of the only downsides to this option from a cost/time perspective, is finding a suitable vendor.
First note, most out of the box intranet solutions posses many of the same features. When you are looking, it should be more based on how those features are used and how easy it is for your employees to use. Since you likely won’t have a technical person or team to maintain the site, you need it to be very user friendly, and yet robust enough to customize or use for your organization’s purposes.
Second is the set up time and support. It should be easy to use, and the support should be there. Not just to provide technical support, but to advise on best practices. You also shouldn’t have to spend a lot of time to get things started. This means getting proper training and support during the setup/development stage.
Finally, the price. Some companies will offer a Cloud Hosted solution, or an On-Premise solution, based on how you want to host your site. This may be a choice to make that could change the overall cost, and how you pay for your intranet. For example, Noodle’s On-Premise license can be purchased for a one-time fee. Whereas the Cloud Hosted solution is paid for on a monthly basis. The hosting method could be based on internal needs (security, customization, policies etc.) or it could be about the overall cost, or method of paying.
Noodle currently stands at one of the most competitively priced intranet solutions that can yield a much higher ROI. Noodle’s Cloud Pro is priced at a very affordable $3 per user per month. Most competitors are priced at $5-$12 per user per month. They supply (mostly) the same features as Noodle (although some you have to pay more for) but are more expensive overall.
Screenshots and demo sites are nice, but make sure you focus on site functionality as much as the look. As much as you want the site to be modern, exciting and attract users, how you will use the site should come first. Too many times have I talked to prospective clients who thought a site they demoed (from a competing vendor) looked great, but it either wasn’t user friendly, or they don’t receive the type of support they thought they would receive.
Not Using Noodle Yet? Learn More