The traditional approach to implementing an intranet is to purchase a software package, modify it for your needs, and install it on your system.
Over the past few years, another option has grown in popularity – the implementation of a web-based solution.
As you consider the choice between installed software and a web-based intranet, here are some considerations:
1. The most important requirement of any intranet is that everyone uses it.
To assure broad-based participation, the intranet must be easy to implement, simple to use, cost-effective to maintain, and offer each individual user the power to post, access and use content in a way that serves their specific needs. In short, the intranet must have value to everyone.
Web-based intranets are designed around this concept. The interface and navigation are consistent with their use of the web – an environment in which they feel in control, using familiar tools.
In contrast, the business world is littered with countless elegant and feature-rich soft-ware based intranets that have failed. Why? Because they represented an alien environment into which the user was expected to venture. Few employees had the time or the interest (or courage) to enter, rendering the intranet impotent, with the powerful tools unused.
This is the plight of traditional, out-of-the-box software solutions. Unlike web-based intranets, they force users into a constrained environment requiring in-depth training, built around rules designed for the group, rather than the individual.
2. Software intranets have unpredictable costs: in time, attention and money.
Software based solutions require extensive internal support. The ongoing expense in both staff time and money takes the focus of your IT group away from mission-critical tasks.
System integration, Implementation, maintenance, technology upgrades, training and user support are all on-going tasks that represent a significant, recurring investment. The cost can be substantial, far exceeding your initial license cost and monthly fee.
3. Web-based intranets offer a predictable cost and cutting-edge technology.
Most web-based solutions offer a fixed monthly fee that covers all maintenance, technology upgrades, training and user support. The costs are predictable, the technology evolutionary, and it's all done with minimal involvement of your IT staff.
It's for these reasons that companies needing broad-based participation in a changing environment are choosing web-based intranets over traditional software solutions.
About the Author:
Malcolm Brown is vice president of Trichys, providers of advertising agency software and extranet solutions to customers around the world.