1. Home

Should You Use SharePoint as an Intranet Platform

22 Feb 2024

return to the Elcom blog return to the previous page
  1. #Content Type
  2. #Resource - Content Type

Trying to decide whether using SharePoint for intranet solutions is a good idea?

You've got SharePoint on one side, offering its heavyweight document management capabilities, and on the other, a range of independent intranet solutions, each with its own set of sparkling features.

If you're standing at this crossroads, scratching your head, you're not alone. Let's explore all these options, highlighting the scenarios where each might just be the perfect fit for your organisation.

What is SharePoint?

So, what exactly is SharePoint? At its core, SharePoint is a platform developed by Microsoft, designed to integrate with Microsoft 365. 

It provides comprehensive solutions for collaboration, information sharing, and management of digital assets. Out-of-the-box, SharePoint offers a structured environment where teams can easily store documents in a central location, ensuring that all members have access to the latest versions of files and information.

The platform's document management capabilities are robust, providing features such as version control, which allows users to track changes to documents and revert to previous versions if necessary.

SharePoint also includes permissions management, enabling administrators to control access to documents based on roles and responsibilities within the organisation.

Use SharePoint as Your Intranet if

SharePoint, while not a one-size-fits-all solution, does have its place in the landscape of intranet solutions, particularly for certain use cases and organisational needs. Here are some scenarios where SharePoint might be the right fit for your intranet.

You're Deeply Embedded in the Microsoft Ecosystem

If your organisation already relies heavily on Microsoft products, using SharePoint for your intranet can offer seamless integration. This ecosystem provides a unified experience for document management, collaboration, and communication, leveraging tools that employees are already familiar with.

Document Management Is a Core Requirement

If your intranet's primary function is to serve as a central hub for document storage, sharing, and collaboration, SharePoint's document management capabilities can be a good fit.

You Require a Customisable Solution

SharePoint offers a considerable degree of customisability. If your intranet needs to be closely tailored to fit specific organisational requirements or workflows, SharePoint provides a flexible framework that can be adjusted to meet these needs. However, it's worth noting that significant customisation requires dedicated IT support or external consultancy.

You Value Integrated Collaboration Tools

SharePoint integrates with Microsoft Teams and other Microsoft 365 apps, offering tools for real-time collaboration, communication, and project management.

This integration can enhance productivity and foster a more collaborative workplace culture.

SharePoint Might Not Be for You If:

There are scenarios where an independent intranet solution, designed specifically with intranet functionality in mind, might better serve your organisation. Here’s when you might want to look beyond SharePoint for a turnkey enterprise intranet:

You want it to be all-inclusive

One of the key ways intranets deliver ROI is through a model of unlimited user licensing. This model allows accounts to be created directly in the platform, ensuring that all employees, including those without a company email address or Microsoft 365 accounts, can gain access. This inclusivity is crucial for organisations with a diverse workforce, including part-time workers, contractors, or those in roles not traditionally desk-based, ensuring that everyone is connected and has access to the same resources and information.

Contrastingly, access to SharePoint is tied to having a Microsoft 365 account. For organisations where a Microsoft 365 subscription for every employee is not viable due to cost or policy, this could significantly limit the effectiveness of SharePoint as a comprehensive intranet solution.

You Seek a User-Friendly, Intuitive Interface

Independent intranet solutions often prioritise user experience and design out of the box, offering interfaces that are intuitive and engaging for users with varying levels of tech proficiency.

If a seamless user experience with minimal training requirements is a priority for your organisation, exploring dedicated intranet platforms might be the way to go.

Comprehensive Functionality Out of the Box

While SharePoint can be customised extensively, it often requires additional development to function as a full-featured intranet.

Independent intranet platforms typically come with a wide range of functionalities designed specifically for intranet use, such as social networking features, advanced search capabilities, and integrated employee recognition tools, without the need for extensive customisation.

Greater Flexibility and Scalability

If you're looking for a solution that can easily scale and adapt to your organisation's evolving needs without significant IT overhead, independent intranets might offer more agility.

These platforms are often designed to be scalable and flexible, accommodating growth and changes within your organisation more fluidly.

Cost and Resource Considerations

Implementing SharePoint as an intranet can sometimes lead to unexpected costs related to customisation, training, and ongoing maintenance.

Independent intranet solutions often provide clearer pricing models that include these factors upfront, potentially offering a more cost-effective solution in the long run.

Rapid Deployment

If your timeline is tight, you might find that deploying an independent intranet solution is quicker and less resource-intensive than customising SharePoint.

Many independent solutions are designed for rapid implementation, allowing your organisation to get up and running with a new intranet more swiftly.

Alternatives to Sharepoint

Figuring out if SharePoint is right for you involves understanding your specific needs, preferences, and goals.

Many of these SharePoint alternatives are designed from the ground up with the sole purpose of serving as an intranet.

This fundamental difference in design philosophy often means these alternatives offer a more intuitive user experience right out of the box, requiring less customisation and development effort to meet your needs. They frequently focus on delivering a high degree of functionality tailored specifically for internal communications, collaboration, and employee engagement, which can include social networking features, comprehensive content management systems, personalised dashboards, and advanced search capabilities that go beyond document retrieval.
One of the key benefits of looking into SharePoint alternatives is the potential for a more streamlined implementation and easier adoption. These platforms are typically built to be user-friendly, with a focus on minimising the learning curve for end users.

Flexibility and scalability are other critical considerations. As organisations grow and evolve, their intranet needs to adapt accordingly. Alternative intranet solutions often provide greater flexibility in terms of customisation and scalability, allowing your intranet to evolve without requiring extensive redevelopment or significant investment in new infrastructure.

In terms of cost, while SharePoint might appear to be a cost-effective option, especially if it’s already included in your existing Microsoft licensing agreement, the total cost of ownership can be higher due to customisation, training, and maintenance costs. Alternative intranet solutions frequently offer more transparent pricing models, including many of these factors upfront, which can provide better budget predictability and potentially lower long-term costs.

Elcom SharePoint Connector

As organisations navigate the complexities of choosing the right intranet solution, integrating SharePoint with a robust intranet platform like Elcom can offer the best of both worlds.

Elcom's SharePoint Connector is designed to bridge the gap between the document management strengths of SharePoint and the comprehensive intranet and digital workplace solutions provided by Elcom.  

Why might someone choose the Elcom SharePoint Connector?

  • Enhanced User Experience: By integrating SharePoint with Elcom, users can access SharePoint documents and libraries directly within the Elcom platform. This creates a unified digital workplace where employees can easily find the information and resources they need without navigating between multiple systems.
  • Comprehensive Digital Workplace Solution: Elcom goes beyond traditional intranet capabilities to offer a solution tailored to user roles. This includes a central information hub, an onboarding area for welcoming new hires, an in-built learning management system for training, and a mobile app for delivering personalised communications and engagement.
  • Streamlined Processes: Elcom provides standard forms and workflows, a knowledge base, a communications hub, social features, and a document manager. Integrating with SharePoint means these features work hand-in-hand with SharePoint's document storage and management capabilities, improving business processes and enhancing productivity.
  • Unique Licensing Model: What sets Elcom apart is its unlimited user licensing model. There are no additional fees as your organisation grows, making it a cost-effective solution for businesses of all sizes. This model ensures that the intranet can scale with your organisation, providing a future-proof solution.
  • Simplified Account Management: Accounts are created directly in the Elcom platform, ensuring all staff, including those with company email addresses, have access. This simplifies account management and ensures widespread access to the intranet and its resources.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this journey has made the landscape a bit less daunting, offering clear insights into what each path might bring to your organisation.

Whether SharePoint fits like a glove with its integrated Microsoft ecosystem, an independent solution appeals with its bespoke features, or Elcom’s connector provides the perfect middle ground, the decision is now informed by a deeper understanding of the possibilities.

Ultimately though, each option has its strengths, and the best choice depends on your organisation's specific needs, culture, and tech landscape.

Intranet Evaluation Guide - Blog Banner

Related Resources

Other recommended resources

Creating an Internal Communications Calendar

Looking for an internal comms strategy to keep your employees engaged? Follow our guide to crafting an internal comms calendar that boosts productivity.

9 Key Benefits of Upgrading to Elcom V11.5

If you haven’t had a chance to take advantage of the new features and functionality of V11.5 yet and are wondering what you’re missing out on, here are 9 benefits of upgrading to Elcom V11.5.

Digital Experience Platforms: The Key to Unlocking Enterprise Digital Success

Seeking a seamless digital transformation for your bunsiness? Explore DXPs, the cornerstone of crafting personalised, engaging digital journeys.

Scroll to top