Do SharePoint Intranet Templates offer the best way to build an intranet?
The biggest reason why collaboration and business information silos still exist in many organizations is because it is cheaper for them. There is an abundance of free tools available to perform various functions like, store documents, manage tasks, stay connected, share and collaborate. And these are especially helpful for bootstrapped businesses which have limited resources. Although this might seem like a good idea at first, it can quickly start to hinder business productivity.
As your organization scales and your employee count increases, it is important to focus on a sound and scalable collaboration framework. Investing in a ready-to-go business intranet solution powered by Office 365 that can consolidate all your collaboration tools under one umbrella can be quite important at this point.
The easiest route for most organizations on Office 365 is to experiment with SharePoint online and try to build a collaborative intranet solution. SharePoint does offer a great framework and some templates to get you started. And depending on your needs, your IT employees may search for free template designs for department or team sites, project management, HR and IT templates, which can be customized to fit your business requirements.
But once you design a handful of sites and pages (some using out-of-the-box SharePoint features and some using templates), you now have a challenge of laying all of them out in an organized fashion. And since you introduced custom templates with different styles and layouts, now you need a UX/UI designer to come in and standardize these templates for a unified user experience.
Another way is to base your site on a SharePoint template like, Team site, Project site, Communities site, etc., and customizing it by adding the libraries, lists, views, workflows, logos, and other elements that you require for your business. You can then save the customized template as a site template which can be the starting point for other pages on your intranet, or you can hand it off for additional development in Visual Studio for further enhancements (this would be considered a custom solution as discussed in the next section).
The other way to get an intranet is to custom build it. Until a few years ago, this was the only way to get an intranet up and running in an organization; when ready-to-go options didn’t exist.
The great thing about a custom solution is that you are in total control of how it looks, how it works, and what your users can do with it. It is 100% tailored to your needs and it is still a preferred way to go for many organizations and is perfectly suited for companies that have a niche market.
Despite these advantages, getting a custom intranet is easier said than done!
- Starting from scratch with a custom SharePoint intranet can take more than a year to finish.
- By the time it launches, your needs will likely have changed. So, you need to keep spending on upgrading it every couple of years.
- Building a custom solution with SharePoint templates from the ground up requires ample resources and effort.
- Starting at square one costs more than beginning with a framework. Creating a custom intranet has a long time-lag between conception and implementation and has an increased risk of failure.
Ready-to-go SharePoint Intranets
Why reinvent the wheel when there is a platform proven to work?
A turnkey SharePoint Intranet is a ready solution which when installed augments your base SharePoint to give you additional productivity and collaboration tools. 80%-90% of your needs can be met with a read-to-go SharePoint Intranet. The best part is that it can be implemented within days and is available as a monthly subscription (including cost-free upgrades); drastically cutting costs.
You need a business intranet solution that not only helps define and manage employee training and processes but also consolidates most of the business functions of an organization. BizPortals 365 can be your success caddie in this super-fast paced digital age.
What is BizPortals 365?
BizPortals 365 is a complete, ready-to-go business intranet on SharePoint and Office 365. It is a solution that provides all the tools your employees need and use, all integrated and made available through your intranet. It offers a lot of functionality which you would generally get with multiple products and can also integrate with external business systems to be your unified, central hub from where you can access all your systems, information, reports, news, and much more.
Since BizPortals 365 is on Office 365, it leverages the best and most recent technology and upgrades, which helps reduce time wasted on busy work through better organization and automation, improve collaboration and communication, increase productivity, and modernize the way your business works. Additionally, you get extra features which are tightly integrated into the product, which add more value to your investment.
BizPortals 365 is essentially several different tools bundled together:
- Document Management – allows you to store, organize, version and share documents. Document approval and eSign capabilities makes finalizing and publishing content quick and easy. Enterprise search capabilities make it easy to find the right information, quickly.
- HR and Employee Management – allows you to disperse corporate announcements & events, publish training videos, manage performance appraisals, and encourage employees with recognition stories, surveys, and polls.
- Project Management – allows you to manage and track your project portfolio, generate reports, assign tasks, set deadlines, and track risks and issues as well as create custom lists for any additional project tracking needs. Additionally, Kanban boards and Gantt charts make task visualization, management and assignment a breeze.
- Forms Management – offers many pre-built digital forms that you can leverage to streamline and automate your approval process. Simply activate the forms you need and start using them.
- Social Collaboration – allows employees to interact with each other and be a part of the corporate culture. It provides a number of tools that provide different methods of communication, such as video calling or real-time messaging.
A word of caution
Just because you have an intranet solution in place doesn’t mean that all your productivity blunders will vanish in a snap! Businesses need to understand that for an intranet to be successful and be used effectively, they must invest adequate resources and employee training. Users have to be educated on the benefits of an intranet, the functionality it offers, and trained on how to go about using it.
It is also important to establish certain processes, policies and expectations, the absence of which can lead to employees slipping out of the official collaborative network and using free third-party tools to collaborate, communicate and share information – which undermine the advantages of the intranet.
If you would like to understand how a ready-to-go solution on SharePoint can benefit you, or you would like to extend your current Office 365 into a power business solution, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always ready to help.