Sharepoint Intranet: 7 Things to Know Before You Use Sharepoint

Stefan Schinkel

Since its inception in 2001, Microsoft SharePoint has gained immense popularity. The main reason for its fame in the industry is because it serves as a powerful platform to use for the creation of intranets.

With SharePoint's intranet, you can perform various tasks like creating high-quality rich digital experiences for users, setting effective security measures, filtering content based on roles and departments, and much more.

In today's world, intranets serve like digital workplaces. From that, modern, sophisticated intranets can increase a company's sales by 20%.

Furthermore, with an increasingly remote workforce, it has become vital for enterprises to focus on high-quality intranet software. As more organizations are planning to continue a hybrid work culture even after the pandemic, the need for an intranet software to help employees connect to each other and stay motivated is more important than ever.

In this article, we'll look at where SharePoint stands when it comes to remote and discuss if it is an ideal intranet software for your organization.

What is Microsoft SharePoint?

Microsoft SharePoint is a web-based and mobile intelligent document management and collaboration tool that is used to create an intranet for organizations. It includes features like security control, workflow applications, and list databases among others.

SharePoint provides capabilities to:

  • Enable users to manage, share and edit documents simultaneously with no hassles

  • Allow users to track information across the company

  • Provide tools to build rich custom workflows, forms, and apps

  • Promote knowledge, management and productivity

  • Help teams to stay organized

There are many other notable factors to consider before you declare SharePoint as your ideal intranet software. Before going through them though, let’s discuss a bit more about what you should look for in an intranet.

The Anatomy of The Ideal Intranet

According to Gartner , an intranet is "a network internal to an enterprise that uses the same methodology and techniques as the internet but is accessible only to employees." Since the intranet is specific to employees, it is crucial to provide a world-class employee experience and make them feel they are a part of something bigger, even when working from home.

According to a Gallups report, companies with a highly engaged workforce have 21% higher profitability and 17% higher productivity. With these statistics, it is clear that intranet software should allow an organization to effectively collaborate and communicate with its employees using different channels and platforms.

Moreover, intranets should include the ability to create virtual workspaces, file sharing tools, internal web servers to post internal websites, management of calendars, instant messaging, discussions, and any other tool that would be useful to an employee of the modern-day enterprise.

Read More:What Is an Intranet, and How Can You Build One?

7 Things to Know Before You Use SharePoint

Now that we have gone over what SharePoint is and what you should look for in an intranet, there are several vital points you need to be aware of before choosing SharePoint as your intranet software.

In the past SharePoint was touted as one of the best intranet software for document management and information tracking. However, with changing work culture and evolving technology, it fails to deliver social collaboration and user engagement benefits that are critical for modern-day businesses.

Also, it lacks some of the significant features that a modern intranet should possess to make it future-proof.

1. Customizing SharePoint Can Be a Pain

To implement SharePoint to its full potential, you often need to customize it to meet your organization's needs. Although it comes with affordable plans, its initial setup and customizations can blow your budget.

The initial setup is done by Microsoft experts who charge heavily on your pockets such that you cannot even imagine getting customizations done by them. Moreover, if you plan to hire a third-party agency or team of developers to make changes as per your needs, you will run into high costs and lost time.

Additionally, Microsoft strongly discourages any customizations on their homepage as unexpected errors may occur if any changes are done in layout options.

2. It is Technology-centric, not Experience Centric

Seamless user experience is intuitive. An intranet should be easy to navigate to enable its users to be productive and efficient.

This is not the case with SharePoint. Although SharePoint boasts a lot about easy file and information tracking, it's not meant for non-technical users. You need to be skilled and trained before using the platform. Because of this reason, its adoption rate is quite slow within organizations.

Since it is technology-centric rather than being centered on user experience, initial training becomes unavoidable and again adds to organizations' expenses. It may take up to a year for your teams to adopt and utilize the software to its full extent based on their technical expertise.

Not to mention that it lacks basic simple UX-friendly tools like mobile apps to enable desktop-to-remote work.

3. Can't Be Personalized

Normal users in your organization tend to get used to solid personalizations using Google, social networks, and messengers. Having personalizations in your intranet helps boost positive employee experiences and innovations with increased speed and quality of communication.

SharePoint, in contrast, cannot be personalized to cater to each employee's specific needs. It restricts users by not allowing video streaming content, making it difficult to adjust search functionality based on user role or department, and by not allowing subscriptions to the content of the specific subject.

Providing multilingual support is another feature a modern personalized intranet should possess which is missing in SharePoint.

4. You Get Features You Don't Need

SharePoint indeed comes with a versatile and wide range of features, but with an enormous number of features comes enormous complexity.

Your employees need to figure out every tool and feature if you activate all of them at once. Most companies end up using half of the tools after figuring out their usage.

If you plan to activate each tool one by one, you need to have a team to understand each one and then prioritize which ones to enable for use by other employees.

This task takes a lot of time and effort, which again hampers the productivity of your business. Although it needs to be done once, it takes a huge amount of time as SharePoint is technology-driven and not employee-driven.

5. Hard to integrate with other software

Microsoft allows seamless integration of SharePoint with their other products like Office 365 Suite, Outlook, Teams. When it comes to integrating SharePoint with other platforms provided by different vendors, integration becomes difficult and expensive.

Brands invest a lot of time and money to build their CRMs, ERPs, web apps, and other systems. Suppose the company intranet is not able to connect to them for any technology or capital reason. In that case, it becomes a strong drawback for the organization, leading to loss of productivity and efficiency.

6. Creates Content Silos

As SharePoint is not easy to integrate with third-party apps and platforms, it creates information silos at an organizational level between different software used in the company.

Furthermore, it also creates content silos at department levels within an organization as it is challenging to track the different file structures followed by different teams. Until and unless you train all employees about all departments, it becomes tedious to nail down files in the system. This is easy if your team is quite small, but with large teams, this becomes tough.

7. Expensive

Due to everything mentioned above SharePoint can be extremely expensive for an organization. Extra funds need to be allocated for the initial customization of SharePoint. As well as for training the staff on how to use the system, the need for extra developers to work on the intranet creation and on figuring out what each piece of functionality does and how it can be utilized.

Read More:Open Source Alternatives To SharePoint: How to Choose an Intranet Solution

Why is dotCMS The Best Alternative To SharePoint?

After considering all the above facets, if you think SharePoint is still a better bet for you, then go for it. However, we have a better open-source alternative for SharePoint to introduce to you: dotCMS.

dotCMS is a headless hybrid CMS cloud platform that enables you to build collaborative environments like intranets, websites, apps, and much more.

Here are 5 main benefits that make it a better intranet solution than SharePoint:

  • Easier To Learn dotCMS is built keeping in mind users with no technical background. For this reason, it also offers LowCode to NoCode tooling features, so you don't have to always rely on an IT developer or a dedicated tech team to use the solution like SharePoint.

  • Focuses on User Experience dotCMS makes it easy to build rich digital experiences as it provides a user-friendly interface to create custom workflows, sites, apps, and more. Unlike SharePoint, you need not have any technical expertise to scale it to its full potential. It's renowned for being user-centric.

  • Seamless IntegrationsYou can integrate any third-party tool from any vendor with dotCMS with ease. Since it is based on a headless cloud platform, it has high technology potential to connect and speak to any other software solution.

  • Offers More SecurityAs dotCMS is based on headless architecture, it offers more security against a cyber attack when compared to traditional SharePoint architecture.

  • Better ROIUnlike SharePoint, dotCMS often doesn’t need external resources to make customizations. In addition, since many of the customization features can be implemented with dotCMS’s Low-Code No-Code UI, non-technical people can create an intranet on dotCMS, saving money on developers. Finally, due to its user focused easy to learn platform dotCMS also saves your company money when it comes to training employees.

  • Is a Future-Proof Modern IntranetHaving an intuitive UI, flexibility for third-party integrations, built-in headless CMS, cloud infrastructure, high security with a hybrid architecture, omnichannel delivery makes it a modern, future-proof intranet building solution for any size of business.

If you want to learn more about dotCMS and how it helps you build future-proof intranets, read more here: dotCMS Open Source Intranet Software

Stefan Schinkel
Chief Revenue Officer
October 19, 2021

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