How to Build a Successful Intranet on a Budget?

eXo Platform Blog

Do you want to set up an intranet for your company but have a limited budget? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Let’s discuss some good practices that have been proven to establish an intranet solution but that don’t hurt your wallet.

In such a situation, project managers’ first instinct is to ask if a free solution exists or if they can develop a solution internally. The answer is maybe, but beware—your company intranet solution will quickly become the centerpiece of your IT infrastructure, so you need to ask yourself two key questions:

  • Can we completely supersede software vendors to support and maintain the product and can we ensure adequate availability of this critical tool for our business?
  • Our intranet will necessarily evolve over time. When it does, can we fulfill the requirements of the system and its users?

Even if the answers to these questions are yes, this solution includes internal costs that are difficult to determine from the beginning. If that does not work for you, what other choice do you have?

In my view, there is no magic recipe for successfully implementing an company intranet with such constraints. There are only good practices and wise choices to make in order to make the most out of a tight budget and achieve significant cost savings.

Step 1: Conduct a thorough analysis

Clearly define and prioritize your goals

This is required for any intranet implementation project because the potential of this kind of solution is great and the benefits are numerous. However, priorities differ from one company to another.

To ensure the success of your solution, it must be tailored to your needs. Therefore, it is important to define what benefits you expect to gain, determine how your organization will use the solution, and use that information when choosing and adapting your tool. Defining priorities will also help you better assess your options and make the right choices when necessary.

List the resources you have

You need to have a clear idea of all the material and human resources you possess internally. Determine whether you have an infrastructure that can host the solution and skilled technical teams that can be useful to the project. For example, do you have the required resources to host the solution on-site at a lower cost, or do you have technical skills that will enable you to carry out some parts of the project yourself, like personalization or configuration?

We must also consider that allocating these resources to the project has an underlying cost. Some IT departments may even charge internally for their tools in order to better manage their costs.

Step 2: Make the right choices from the start

Choose a solution that can be integrated with your IT infrastructure easily and at a lower cost

As I mentioned before, your intranet will quickly become an important platform for your IT infrastructure. If you are already using existing IT solutions, it is very important to integrate them (or at least the most important ones) with your intranet solution to provide a unified, effective portal for your employees. Of course, to reduce costs, you need to minimize this integration within the launch phase and plan it for a second phase. However, when choosing a solution, you will need to consider its integration potential and the related costs and effects from the beginning.

An easily scalable solution

One thing that is often not considered but that is very important is that your intranet must grow with your organization. Your needs and requirements evolve with your business, and it is important to choose a solution that will follow this evolution with fewer constraints and costs.

A basic solution tailored to your needs

Because your needs can be unique, the solution that meets your expectations should be capable of being just as unique. Of course, budgetary constraints may push you to make some concessions in terms of customization, and some basic features are common across several organizations. However, a baseline level of personalization is necessary to effectively meet your expectations.

For these three criteria, open-source solutions stand out from others, often making them the right choice. In addition to their competitive costs, open-source solutions provide high levels of interoperability and scalability. Learn more about these advantages here.

Step 3: Control what to launch and how

Start with only your essential needs

The solution’s cost may be influenced by the features you need. You will therefore need to set your priorities and determine their effects on the cost of the solution to determine the final scope of the solution. However, other influences should be considered.

The more features and use cases your solution includes, the more difficult it will be for your employees to manage and use it. To avoid this, everything that is not important to your organization should not be in your solution. Feel free to remove features you will not use. However, make sure your solution will allow you to integrate these features if the need ever arises.

Think progressive launch instead of big launch

A new intranet solution introduces important changes in your company. The change management generates costs, including those associated with solution administration and user training. A phased launch allows a gradual learning curve for users and decreases associated costs.

Make it attractive and easy to use

The effectiveness of an intranet is often measured by employee adoption and usage frequency. To attract users to the solution and boost adoption, you must first make it intuitive and easy to use. This will also reduce training costs.

You must also attract employees through content, streamlined processes, or any other uses you intend for your intranet. The provided benefits must be identified, maintained, and made visible to attract employees to your solution by making them see the value in using it.

Once your solution is up and running, your efforts should not stop. Building a successful intranet is not limited to its launch phase. As I mentioned above, your intranet will grow with your business and your needs. You must therefore follow up on its use and your company’s changing needs to adapt and optimize performance within your organization.

Do you have feedback or suggestions for additional methods and best practices for building a successful intranet on a budget? Be part of the discussion and share your comments with us!

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