SharePoint Intranet: How to Explore
January 23, 2020

Enterprise Software

SharePoint Intranet: Light Side and Dark Side of Force

By Olga Matuts

SharePoint is one of the most popular intranet platforms with great social and business abilities. For many years, SharePoint has been in Top 10 of the best Intranet software. More and more companies are permanent users of this platform, and they say that SharePoint helps them to increase the productivity of employees and save money.

SharePoint is constantly developing, gets upgrades and innovations that expand the opportunities of corporate intranets. Also, there are a lot of negative comments from competitors, critics, and disgruntled users that can sow doubt in people’s minds.

Let’s consider the pros and cons of using SharePoint to decide how well does it fit modern business requirements.

Default functionality of SharePoint intranets

Inbuilt features set the tone for potential capabilities and growth of your intranet. This is what SharePoint has to offer.

For: Many functions create opportunities

SharePoint has a lot of out-of-the-box functions that make your work with an intranet much easier. For example, it covers:

  • content management,
  • documents management,
  • workflow management,
  • tasks management,
  • learning management,
  • team collaboration.

SharePoint allows employers to use new mixed reality technology named as SharePoint Spaces. It includes interactions with content in 3D in addition to data visualization and data processing in real-time. So, SharePoint can contribute to team collaboration, employee training and onboarding.  

SharePoint gives the opportunity to work with content with the help of AI capabilities. AI uses a personalized approach that is based on targeted search results, recently viewed documents, websites, and other data. With this approach, users can increase their productivity because they concentrate on major things.

Against: Too many features can lead to confusion

It can be difficult to choose the most suitable features for your business among various built-in ones. Using all of them makes work of employers more difficult and requires prioritization. 

To get out of the situation, you should answer the question: for what organization moments does it make sense to use SharePoint? Then, you can choose the most important components for your intranet and adapt it to your necessities.  

SharePoint intranet design

Attractive and convenient design contributes to more frequent usage of an intranet.

For: Modern experience of websites creating

You can create an appealing and flexible intranet using out-of-the-box tools. These websites use modern methods of layout, are responsive, and work faster.

Against: Modern SharePoint sites have certain limitations

SharePoint Designer doesn’t give access to the website and the ability to change the master page. Modern websites are developed as site collections that do not assume creating subsites. If you want to build the subsite, you should use the classic template. There is no more security and navigation inheritance through subsites.

SharePoint intranet tweaks

The more adaptive an intranet is, the handier it is to set its features for your business.

For: A unique SharePoint intranet

Out-of-the-box Sharepoint doesn’t fit every certain situation. Each business context has special requirements. Companies have the ability to configure the SharePoint intranet for human resource management, project management, knowledgebase management, develop their features, and add elements of corporate branding. It is very tempting to use mixed reality apps for ordinary tasks, but it becomes a reality with smart SharePoint templates with a point-and-click interface.

If you are working with a cloud SharePoint intranet you can also customize it for personalized learning, interactions with departments, and time management.

Against: A unique SharePoint intranet requires time and investments 

Creating a personalized SharePoint intranet takes time and money. The high-quality setting can last for over a year. If you think that it is too long, look at 2011, when such implementation lasted more than 6 years. Also, the deeper the fine-tuning is, the bigger the costs will be. 

SharePoint intranet integration with other software

The quality of integration directly affects the level of interaction between the company’s departments.

For: Easy interactions between departments 

SharePoint can build the link between departments that use different software, for example, CRM, ERP, BI, and ITSM systems. You can create enterprise collaboration, establish business workflows, ensure company-wide search, and connect marketing, sales, IT development, and business analysts for working on the project.

Against: Integration leads to additional efforts and costs

In some cases, integrating SharePoint with other systems requires using one more system. Such ability should be provided in advance as it affects employers’ productivity and the project’s budget.

Services for building your SharePoint intranet

If you do not use ready-to-go SharePoint solutions, you should find specialists who will perform all necessary work regarding customization and support your intranet. 

For: Wide choice of SharePoint service providers

If you don’t have SharePoint specialists in your enterprise, you should find dedicated SharePoint developers that will deliver the necessary services to you.

You can choose one or several SharePoint service companies that can provide customization, integration, and round-the-clock support for your intranet.

If ready-to-go solutions suit your company, you can choose the intranet as a service delivery model and, in this case, the vendor will provide technical support.

Against: The quality of service can be different

Different providers offer their services with various prices and quality. Their approaches to customization can also differ, which leads to a negative impact if you switch from one provider to another. To avoid this situation, you should choose your permanent service provider that will make a regular upgrade of your intranet.

SharePoint intranet costs

SharePoint intranet deployment models vary depending on their nature and hence have different pricing. There are local, cloud, and hybrid deployment models.

For: You can choose the most suitable pricing

Today, Microsoft proposes several payment schedules that lighten the financial load of companies. Previously, there was only a local model of SharePoint intranet and pricing involved infrastructure, licenses, and services. Now, as cloud and hybrid deployment models are here, companies can reduce costs according to their budgets.

Against: The final cost can be high

Every kind of deployment model has certain nuances.

A local intranet calls for a significant initial investment in infrastructure, licenses, and customization. A cloud intranet involves lower costs of infrastructure but requires a monthly payment. The hybrid model includes mixed costs of local and cloud SharePoint.

Consider all the benefits and drawbacks before the realization of the SharePoint intranet. Take into account the size of your company, it’s budget, and necessities. SharePoint intranet fits midsize and big companies with several departments and complicated infrastructure. If your company is a small size, SharePoint Online or Office 365 will be a better choice.

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