Phase two — requirements
Write down the functional requirements as you identify them during phase one; we recommend Excel, but you could use Trello or similar. See phase three for some ‘givens’ that you don’t need to capture here.
You also need to add non-functional requirements to your list, which are specifications that the software must adhere to. For example, ISO 27001 certification, authentication via Azure AD, or data storage within a specified territory. Your IT department will be able to guide you.
A checklist of non-functional requirements you need to identify.
One non-functional requirement that might be raised is the assumed need to use SharePoint. SharePoint is a feature of many Microsoft 365 licenses, but that’s not an automatic reason to use it, here’s why:
- Independent intranets can integrate with SharePoint too
- The technical implementation of a SharePoint intranet in-a-box product is basically the same as implementing an independent intranet (and the costs are similar)
- The document repository side of SharePoint can be tricky to manage, plus it’s not the only requirement to consider.
You should consider all your requirements and explore both categories of intranet products during the following phases: you don’t have to decide whether to use SharePoint or not right now.
Not all requirements have equal importance for your organisation. Go through each and apply a rating to it, we prefer MoSCoW but you could colour-code, score, or apply stars to your list. It’s important to rank things, so that a minor requirement doesn’t scupper a major decision among stakeholders.
Your ‘must have’ functional requirements are the focus features during your search. We’d recommend this list (called the ‘focus list’ from now on) has around twenty requirements, which is detailed enough without creating too much work for yourself. Keep items outside of your focus list for reference, as they are bonus features to look out for, or could form development areas for future phases of your intranet lifecycle.
Keeping your whole requirements list in mind might feel a bit daunting. So as a small tip, from your list of twenty and / or from your non-functional requirements, work out around six things that matter most (called the ‘top six’), these will help you make quick decisions early on.
Make sure that ‘cultural fit’ is one of your non-functional requirements, which refers to the cultural fit of the vendor’s company against your own or how well you think you would be able to work with them. You will be contracted to the vendor for several years so need to make sure you can work with them, ‘cultural fit’ is therefore something you will need to consider throughout.