One of the most common questions our prospects or new clients ask is, “How long will it take to deploy our new intranet?”
This is like a pregnant woman asking her health caregiver, “How long will it take for my baby to be born?”
The answer is, “Nobody knows.”
And nobody does, really. There are so many factors involved in deploying a new intranet that it’s virtually impossible to predict how much time would be required.
But for purposes for planning and possibly scheduling an intranet launch, here are some things to consider to make an intelligent approximation.
5 Factors in the Birth Timing of Your Intranet
1. Mode of deployment
Is your intranet cloud-hosted or self-hosted? Cloud-hosted intranets are faster to set up. You will literally have an intranet in minutes. Spend another 5 minutes to customize it with your logos and branding colors. Then you’re off adding users and posting content.
Self-hosted intranets, on the other hand, take longer to deploy. You can install the software quickly, in most cases. Sometimes, there are hardware and software compatibility issues. Usually, nothing that would take hours to fix, though.
2. Technical support
Do you have full-time staff in charge of setting up the intranet? How many staff members will be hands-on, and how’s their workload? The more staff are involved and able to fully focus on deploying the intranet, the faster it will go.
3. Amount of content
Another factor that affects the length of time it takes to deploy your intranet is the amount of content you want to upload to begin with. If you need to move hundreds of documents to the new one, then that would take longer, compared to a company with only a dozen documents to upload.
Same holds true for e-forms and workflows you want to set up. Each one needs to be created and tested, before your intranet launch.
4. Content organization
How you organize your intranet content will also affect how long it takes to deploy it. Some organizations — and their intranets — are simpler than others.
If you have a large organization, or feel your content organization may be complicated, plan everything on paper first. Think of how your users would find the information they need, and take it from there. You probably won’t get everything right at first. At least start somewhere and tweak things from there.
The amount of customization you require also affects deployment time. If you want to make massive changes in the CSS, connect with external sites and set up user logins for them — all this will make deployment take longer.
As with all things, planning helps things go more smoothly. And don’t expect your intranet to be perfect when you launch it. Users will find bugs that escaped your testing. And they’ll also help you find ways to keep making the intranet better and better. Expect to be making improvements for a long time to come.