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26 intranet in-a-box SharePoint solutions

Report cover - The definitive guide to in-a-box intranets for SharePoint

26 intranet in-a-box SharePoint solutions

We’ve seen an increasing number of clients ask us about in-a-box intranets for SharePoint. They want a better experience for employees, and easier deployment activities. At the start of 2016, we published a free report that reviewed just six products.

We’ve now released the second edition, covering 26 intranet turn-key products for SharePoint over 250 pages. It’s the most comprehensive independent buyer’s guide available.

“This report really helped me shortlist the vendors to speak to. It saved me at least 4 weeks time of studying the market. If you are looking for a ‘buy not build’ solution, read this report first.” — Malou Wezemael, Digital Workplace Manager at EDF Luminus, Belgium.

Most vendor websites present limited information. Of course they promote the features of their product, but to really understand how things work you would have to commit to a demo. The idea  behind our report is that we can shorten this process for you by making it easy to compare products and provide unbiased critical advice before getting to the demo stage.

In effect we’re a sort of matchmaking service – we’ve had the demonstrations, worked with vendors to understand their offer and compare them side by side. If you’re looking to improve SharePoint, it’s important that you create a shortlist of good potential solution providers, rather than just a long list of unsuitable ones. Many of the products out there look really good on the surface, but each has unique strengths and weaknesses. Before you invest too much in the discovery phase  (in matchmaking terms, the second date!) it’s important to know which intranet product meet your essential criteria from the start.

Spread of pagesWe put together a team of intranet and SharePoint experts to evaluate each product.  Between us, we have around 70 years’ worth of intranet experience, and, crucially, much of it is practical intranet management experience, not just technology or Microsoft-partner training. This means that we understand what organisations are trying to achieve with an intranet over and above what SharePoint offers as a set of features.

To ensure consistency across the team every review has been checked by at least three other people to make sure we score at the same level and are equally rigorous with every product. Sometimes this meant a month of to-and-fro to check facts and challenge each other, but it was worth it.

We’ve taken a scenario-based approach which means that each product is assessed against the same set of requirements so you can quickly see what’s good and what’s not so good. Our scenarios focus on common business needs, and so we were not driven by what a vendor necessarily wanted to show us.

To be fair to the products though, not every one is trying to do the same thing.  So don’t let a low score in one category put you off; it may be that the product is really strong in other areas that matter to you much more. Our report will help you find an intranet product that’s a good fit to your objectives. There’s no single ‘best’ product, not when you factor in the price as well.

Probably our biggest challenge was getting the prices. Although some product prices are publicly available, many vendors use different subscription models, and most vendors are understandably protective of their price lists. So while we’ve seen actual prices, we can’t share the figures; instead, we’ve converted them to price bands represented by symbols of $ to $$$$. As we know some products have different pricing structures, we indicated scenarios for 500 and 5,000 users and over 3 years. Some products have high up-front costs but work out well over longer periods because there is just a maintenance fee. Others are cost-effective for medium-sized organisation, but when you have thousands of users they start to look pricier, especially if the costs are per user per month.

We hope you find the report useful and informative. Several hundred hours have gone into putting it together so we are confident it will save practitioners days or even weeks of time and improve the quality of your decision-making to boot.

Click the thumbnails below for a preview of just a few pages from one review.

Contents - clickReview scores - clickProduct details - clickIdeation - clickAdministration - click

Sam Marshall

I'm the director of ClearBox Consulting, advising on intranet and digital workplace strategy, SharePoint and online collaboration. I've specialised in intranets and knowledge Management for over 19 years, working with organisations such as Unilever, Astra Zeneca, Akzo Nobel, Sony, Rio Tinto and Diageo. I was responsible for Unilever’s Global Portal Implementation, overseeing the roll-out of over 700 online communities to 90,000 people and consolidating several thousand intranets into a single system.

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