SharePoint Intranet Templates: Why More Businesses Are Using Them And So Should Yours
Templates are time savers.
We have all used templates in one way or another to make life easier. Templates of every kind have few things in common – they save time, increase efficiency, decrease cost, and deliver a uniform product.
The same is true for SharePoint intranet templates, SharePoint intranet-in-a-box, and ready-to-go SharePoint solutions (these are often used interchangeably).
SharePoint is a market leader in the intranet space with 80% of Fortune 100 companies using it. It comes loaded with a large selection of site templates to get you started. Each of these templates focus on a specific function to assist collaboration and increase efficiency. For example, the Team Site template includes document libraries and calendars, and the Blog Site template includes company announcements and idea boards.
However, if your team needs a specific feature or a certain look on SharePoint, you will need to customize your SharePoint. There is one of three ways you can accomplish this:
- Get a team with SharePoint experience and build a custom solution
- Hire the services of a company that has expertise with SharePoint customizations
- Sign up for a monthly subscription for an SharePoint template / intranet-in-a-box and start improving productivity and collaboration right out of the gate
Why do I need a SharePoint template or intranet-in-a-box solution?
Since the advent of ready-to-go SharePoint intranet solutions, there has been a shift in organizations from building custom SharePoint intranet portals to using ready-to-go intranet-in-a-box solutions. This change is a result of companies realizing that soon after they design, develop, and implement a solution, it becomes outdated. So, instead of investing time and money in building a custom solution, they prefer to use a pre-built SharePoint solution.
Here are some other considerations:
You have limited resources: most SMBs are in the same boat when it comes to managing their limited resources and at the same time trying to maximize their output. In such a situation, it wouldn’t be prudent to involve your or contract outside developers in maintaining, enhancing, or developing a customized SharePoint intranet solution. Organizations with small teams usually do not have the bandwidth to develop and support a custom SharePoint solution, which involves gathering requirements, talking to users, fixing bugs, and making enhancements.
You are concerned about cost: building a custom SharePoint intranet is costly. You may start with best intentions keeping the budget, requirements and the team small, but soon they will grow. After many design iterations, development, testing, and documentation you will have a product, but at the expense of time and money that could have been put to better use.
You want easy upgrades: after bearing the cost of creating a custom SharePoint solution, chances are that the stakeholders will not be very enthusiastic about upgrading it soon. This means you have to tolerate not having the automatic upgrades and updates that accompany a product that is maintained and serviced by the hosting/SaaS company.
You want to be part of the latest trends: intranets and needs age, and as a result, you have to continuously maintain and enhance it if you don’t want to be left with using old or useless technology. When you use a SharePoint template or SharePoint intranet-in-a-box solution, you will be up-to-date with the latest features, depending on product.
You want quick implementation: most Sharepoint intranet-in-a-box solutions require very little time to install and setup, which means your users can be up and running within a few weeks. This results in lower service costs and a faster ROI.
If you find yourself nodding to most of the reasons listed above, you should start looking into the SharePoint options you have available and find one that is a good fit for you.
What are the benefits of using a ready-to-go, intranet-in-a-box SharePoint solution?
The biggest benefit is its ease of use. SharePoint intranet solution providers have done their homework by analyzing reports and trends to build the most robust, feature rich, user friendly portals which are easy and intuitive, require minimum training, have high user adoption, and provide ROI in a short period.
Other added benefits of SharePoint templates and intranet-in-a-box solutions are:
Customizable: although these solutions are based on templates or pre-built modules and are not always 100% customizable, they do offer quite a bit of flexibility with regards to look, feel, and functionality to fit your branding, organization of departments and sites, and overall business needs.
Secure: most SharePoint solutions are on the cloud and fulfill more than your basic security needs. So reap the benefits of storing everything in one secure place and having your teams communicate and collaborate on one common platform, while leaving the preservation of security, data backups, and worries of downtime to the service provider.
More than your ordinary intranet: many of these solutions offer a lot more than just document sharing and collaboration. You can find portals that offer templates and pre-built modules for project management, employee management, forms processing, document approvals etc., which save time, boost productivity, and maximize your SharePoint investment. Moreover, they require no SharePoint or IT knowledge and no coding so you can focus on your core competence.
Custom SharePoint solutions are 100% aligned with the company culture and goals, and are able to address your unique business needs. However, most companies, particularly SMBs, have the same 80% core needs that a SharePoint template or intranet-in-a-box solution satisfies. Further, considering the benefits of a ready-to-go SharePoint solution and the heartaches it saves you, the choice could be easy.
If you feel convinced that a SharePoint template or ready-to-go SharePoint intranet solution is a right fit for you, we suggest you start by thinking about your business needs. Once you know what you need, it will be easier to narrow your list of potential SharePoint intranet solutions and pick the right one for you.
Don’t know where to start? We at BizPortals Solutions can help you with this process. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and together we can evaluate the needs of your business. We are here to help.