Digital workplace budgeting – how much does an intranet cost?
The company intranet is a vital part of any organization’s internal communications strategy. It allows for swift delivery of up-to-the-minute news, aids collaboration, boosts employee engagement, optimizes productivity and keeps everyone connected. But if you’re at the planning stage of setting up a new intranet, you’ll without doubt be concerning yourself with the subject of budget. And you’ll be asking the question: How much does it cost to build an intranet?
Cost is going to be one of the major influencers of the type of intranet solution you go for. Even the simplest of intranets will enable people to communicate better and make information-sharing a breeze; a more sophisticated one may integrate with existing collaborative suites for a more unified workforce. It might be multilingual, incorporate external news feeds and have the ability to broadcast live events.
The journey towards a cost-effective intranet
Instead of asking the question ‘How much does an intranet cost?’, it’s often more worthwhile to think along the lines of ‘How can I achieve the most cost-effective intranet?’. You’ll want to make sure you have everything you need, but aren’t paying for features you simply won’t use.
Consulting your teams – your ultimate intranet users – is the place to start when it comes to pinning down the functionality you’ll actually need.
Begin by asking everyone what features would be most useful to them. Separate must-have and nice-to-have lists will help to segregate fundamentals from ideals. Your aim is to create a minimum set of features that absolutely must be included, incorporating common elements that will be useful to everyone in your organization.
Setting out objectives for your intranet is the next step. You may, for example, be focused on boosting employee engagement, on enhancing team communication and collaboration, or making document-finding more streamlined.
You’ll need to make sure that your must-have list includes all you need in order to achieve your goals. Once you’ve done that, you can start to look at other cost influencers. And there are quite a few.
How much does it cost to build an intranet?
Intranet setup and running costs vary hugely, and there is plenty that will determine how much you’ll ultimately pay.
Approaching this from a total cost of ownership perspective is the way to go. This will provide you with a figure that brings together the overall setup cost, plus the ongoing operational and maintenance expenses.
Your features wish list and internal communications strategy will largely determine your intranet setup costs.
If you are looking for an intranet solution that’s fairly basic, an off-the-shelf product with minimal setup may work. However, if you’re seeking custom features, you may need bespoke development, for which you may have to engage a specialist.
Whilst it is possible, theoretically, to build an intranet in-house, there is always the risk that without specialist expertise and the right experience, it may not deliver as expected. There may be performance issues, and it could even result in a need for redevelopment.
Bringing in an intranet development specialist may be an additional outlay, but in terms of achieving that cost-effective intranet, it may actually save you money in the long run.
Every intranet needs to be hosted. There are two core options here: on-premise hosting and cloud hosting.
Traditionally, many company intranets were hosted in-house due to concerns over privacy and security. But that’s all in the past now, with cloud security having been ramped up considerably.
On-premise intranets can put a strain on IT resources and servers, potentially leading to downtime. This could impact negatively on productivity, which of course is the very thing most organizations are trying to improve through their intranet investment. With on-premise hosting, you’ll also be responsible for maintenance, upgrades and software updates.
Most organizations, for these reasons, opt for a cloud-hosted intranet solution. Delivered as a service for a set monthly fee, this provides certainty around costs, as well as making the provider responsible for all the upgrades, updates and maintenance. It’s generally the best way to achieve that cost-effective intranet solution.
If you do decide to opt for cloud-based intranet hosting, you’ll have subscription costs to factor in. The amount you pay will depend on the type of cloud service package you’ve chosen, the length of the contract and how you pay (monthly or annually).
Usually, with an ‘as a service’ subscription, there will be user limits. So, as your business scales up, you might find your subscription costs increasing. This is definitely something to bear in mind when addressing the question of how much does a company intranet cost.
Every intranet, just like every IT solution, will need to have a certain level of support available to make sure it delivers optimum value and maximum uptime. Technical user issues will need to be resolved – and without frustrating delays.
You’ll therefore need to allocate some of your intranet budget to support. If you don’t have in-house personnel to cover this role, you could outsource to an IT support company, either on an ad-hoc or pre-paid contract basis, the latter usually being the most cost-effective.
Launch and training costs
When it comes to rolling out your new intranet, if you’re going to get the most out of it, you’ll need to invest in a creative intranet launch plan, as well as initial and then ongoing user training.
It’s essential to make all users aware of the full feature set of your new platform if it is to be used to its greatest potential. Launch events and training are, therefore, crucial.
Training is also important every time new features are added, or there’s an upgrade that changes functionality in some way. This really can improve return on investment and help to boost productivity, with less time spent resolving issues, and the knowhow to use the platform to its best potential.
Looking to achieve a cost-effective intranet for your organization?
It’s not always straightforward to achieve the perfect, cost-effective intranet solution for your business. There is a lot at stake and plenty of critical decisions to be made.
Digital Workplace Group provides expert unbiased advice, peer connections, research and insights to guide and support organizations across the world in a unique and practical way on their journey towards digital workplace success.
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