Intranet Platforms: How to Choose Intranet Software - theEMPLOYEEapp

Intranet Platforms: How to Choose Intranet Software

There are an abundance of intranet platforms available for companies to use for employee communication. But selecting the right intranet software for your business can be daunting. What functionality really matters? What is the right cost to value ratio for my business? And how does each intranet platform fit into your existing channel mix? Read on to answer all these questions.

illustration of a computer that says world connection and people accessing it. This represents intranet platforms.

What Are Intranet Platforms?

Intranet platforms are a type of internal comms channel that companies use to share information, resources, and training with their teams. These private, internal networks have been relied on by companies for decades because of their privacy and security.

But intranet platforms have been evolving in recent years to have more social functionality. They are far less like a filing cabinet than they used to be. Many modern mobile intranets are designed for employee engagement with the express goal of creating a more positive digital employee experience.

two screenshots from theEMPLOYEEapp's intranet platform

Are Intranets Outdated?

Intranets have been around since the 1990s, so some intranet platforms truly are outdated. SharePoint, for example, is very expensive but still requires a massive amount of support from IT and resources. That’s not accessible and certainly not what we’ve come to expect of our technology. 

That said, more modern intranet software companies are considering the employee experience and the administrator’s experience. These intranets aren’t outdated. If anything, modern intranet solutions are an invaluable tool in a communicator’s channel mix.

But beyond the technology itself, many intranets haven’t been re-organized in too long. Because legacy intranet platforms have been around for so many years, that has led some companies to have outdated content build up over time. It’s important to audit your content and archive or even delete things that are no longer necessary as this can make your intranet feel clunky and hard to use.

Intranet Platforms: Advantages & Disadvantages

There are now many intranets on the market for you to choose from. So, how do you determine what’s right for you? 

Let’s break down the common advantages and disadvantages of intranets. And if you want to know specifically why SharePoint isn’t the right internal comms solution, read our guide to using an internal comms intranet.

Advantages of Most Intranet Platforms

Depending on the intranet, there can be more advantages to using an intranet for company communication. That said, most intranets have these two benefits in common:

  • It creates a central resource hub. One of the best benefits of an intranet is that it gives you a place to create a resource hub for employees. When done well, your intranet can be a source of truth for employees and the place they seek out for answers to their questions. By enabling a level of self-service, you take strain off of your support teams and create efficiencies in the workplace.
  • It supports top-down communication. Many intranets aren’t set up to enable middle-out and bottom-up messaging (we are though). That said, they are great at helping you share information from the top with your teams.

two people looking at content on their company's intranet

Disadvantages of Most Intranet Platforms

These disadvantages define most intranets we see on the market. But it does not mean that all intranets are costly and hard to administer. The top challenges with intranets that we see are:

  • They are often expensive. Many intranet platforms will cost you. Typically, intranets are seen as an enterprise solution for computer workers only. That means that they are priced to not necessarily allow you to give your deskless employees intranet seats. And smaller companies might struggle to justify the cost.
  • IT involvement is likely required. Intranet software can be complex. Often, that means IT has to step in to help you implement it, but many companies need IT’s help to even post content. This is not sustainable. This is not the way.
  • Difficult for mobile employees to access. Like we mentioned, because of the cost, it’s possible that your non-desk workers don’t even have access at all. But if you’ve paid for them to have seats, they may still not use your intranet because it’s not mobile-friendly. Have you ever tried to access a VPN and firewall-blocked intranet from your mobile phone, in a busy work facility, with poor wifi or cellular service? Only then to open the intranet with a horrible mobile UI? It’s awful. Don’t do this to your employees.

10 Questions to Ask an Intranet Software Company

Given that many intranet solutions out there have some serious disadvantages, how can you make sure you’re picking the right one? Ask these 10 questions when selecting your intranet provider:

  1. How much does this cost per user and how will that price scale with my growing business?
  2. What does your intranet integrate with (e.g. HRIS, survey solutions, etc.)? 
  3. What is the intranet experience like for a frontline worker?
  4. How long does it take to implement on average?
  5. What level of IT involvement will be required for implementation and maintenance?
  6. How does this intranet complement my existing communication tech stack and channels?
  7. What kind of analytics will I have access to?
  8. What kind of technical and strategic support do you provide to your customers?
  9. How difficult is it to create and manage content on your intranet?
  10. What differentiates you from your competitors?

5 Things Your Intranet Platform Should Be Able to Do

No platform is perfect, but what are the sticking points? What will really make a difference in the employee experience and success of your intranet strategy?

While it’s easy to get distracted by flashy features like peer-to-peer chat or pressing one button to share the same post on all your channels…there are more important things to focus on. These are what we consider to be the most important functionality for an intranet:

  • Target content to specific groups. This might seem like a no-brainer, but some intranets don’t do this. They operate much more like the internet where everything on the platform is visible to everyone. But intranet platforms like theEMPLOYEEapp let you target content, folders, events, and emergency alerts. This is so important because it allows you to personalize the intranet experience to every employee and cut down on unnecessary noise in the process.
  • Support multimedia content. We can’t rely solely on text and images when communicating with our employees. People want more video and podcasts in their daily lives, so why would that be different at work?
  • Employee engagement functionality. We have to give our employees a voice. So, our channels need to give them the ability to like content and comment with thoughts, questions, or feedback.
  • Quick Links. Of all the widgets your intranet might support, quick links is a must. This gives employees fast access to the most important information. This saves them time and time equals money!
  • Measure success. A communications channel without metrics is no longer acceptable in the modern workforce. We have to be able to measure our performance to continue improving and know if we are delivering ROI to our business.

Why Use theEMPLOYEEapp’s Intranet Platform?

So, why use theEMPLOYEEapp as your employee intranet? It’s simple:

  • We scale with you and offer a mobile app and desktop intranet for your employees ensuring access for all.
  • Companies can get up and running with our platform in as little as one day.
  • We integrate with all major HRIS and survey providers.
  • IT involvement required is minimal during implementation and requires little to no IT support on an ongoing basis.
  • Our intranet and mobile app are all managed from one CMS, making it easier for you to manage content.
  • We have an analytics platform that includes engagement data, active users, adoption, time spent on site, and more.
  • Our customer support team is top-notch, providing both strategic guidance and technical support.
  • We allow you to target content to groups, share multimedia content, and create quick links.

Ready to see it in action? Request a demo today.