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SharePoint intranets in-a-box report V5 launch

The buyers' guide to intranet products for SharePoint and Office 365.

SharePoint intranets in-a-box report V5 launch

Our evergreen report reaches version 5.0

Report contents pages.For the past five years ClearBox Consulting has published an annual review of the SharePoint intranet in-a-box products that are on the market. It truly is an evergreen resource, and even more so since we decided to update it quarterly.

The new issue of our report has just been published and is available to buy now. It’s nearly 600 pages of critical evaluations, buying advice and checklists, all richly illustrated with screenshots. You won’t find this information elsewhere, even if you visited every page on the vendor websites. This time around we cover 52 products – 30 in detail and 22 in summary – and you can see the full list of who’s included on the report page.

Microsoft has set a blistering pace for the evolution of their products, which has been reflected in the speed of changes across the vendors’ products. We’ve seen some exciting developments in response to Microsoft’s product evolution and our intranet in-a-box report remains packed full of all the vendors that are worth considering.

What’s new in this issue

Each vendor demonstrates to us how their product fulfils eight different business scenarios – this is more than a list of features and functions, it’s real-life business situations that products should meet head-on. For this issue we have revamped our approach to the scenarios, which are now tougher, and recognise that many buyers also want to exploit the full potential of modern SharePoint.

To do this we present a SharePoint ‘base score’. This is the score that we award to standard SharePoint capabilities when analysed against our scenarios, and then we show what each product adds on top. We give less credit where a product doesn’t fully leverage modern SharePoint, for example where a classic UI makes things harder to use.

As always, our reviews are entirely vendor-neutral (nobody pays to be in the report; we don’t sell any products or accept referral fees). They are based on in-depth live demonstrations against the criteria we set and go through rigorous fact-checking.

What’s new in this report:

30 products reviewed in depth, 6 completely new reviews

Our independent assessment of how SharePoint alone stacks up as an intranet tool

New scoring system showing how products use and extend core SharePoint and Office 365 capabilities

An expanded listings section with the key points summarised for a further 22 products

Eight revised scenarios with new criteria, considering Microsoft’s communication sites, hub sites, home sites and more

Three quarterly updates included in the price where we add new reviews and revised assessments when products undergo a major release

More screenshots per vendor than ever before.

How the market is changing

Up to now, there has been a proliferation of products enter the in-a-box market. Low barriers to entry and many local-market suppliers has led to a fragmented landscape.

We are now seeing some welcome consolidation. This is partly driven by acquisition (for example LiveTiles acquired Wizdom early in 2019) and others opting to become re-sellers of bigger products rather than continuing to develop their own. Nevertheless, new entrants also continue to appear.

The challenge of updating products from classic to modern UX has also made some vendors re-think their strategy. There are perhaps a dozen products that we featured in the past that we no longer include because they have either disappeared or seem to have stagnated entirely. Others still offer some useful advantages, but we also highlight what the trade-offs are.

Buyers should choose carefully, and we try to help by setting out when products were updated, the company scale and its credentials. As always, procurement departments should also factor in financials and product roadmap before the contract stage.

Five big trends stood out across our reviews though, and you can read more about them in the introduction:

embracing Microsoft Teams

light-and-lean philosophy

language support

digital workplace hubs

market consolidation.

Our reviewers

This year we had five reviewers in the team, with myself, Sam Marshall, taking the role of report director and lead reviewer. This truly is a team effort though, and there has been a lot of discussion and collaboration to get the report finished. For example, every evaluation is checked by three others to ensure we are fair and consistent. I’m grateful to Suzie Robinson, Andrew Marr, Guy van Leemput and Michael Sampson for their sharp review work.

Steve Bynghall did an excellent job as editor and challenger, and Fiona Claymore worked tirelessly as report co-ordinator to keep the wheels turning.

Sam Marshall.

Sam Marshall

Suzie Robinson.

Suzie Robinson

Andrew Marr.

Andrew Marr

Guy Van Leemput.

Guy Van Leemput

Michael Sampson.

Michael Sampson

Steve Bynghall.

Steve Bynghall

What’s next

We have moved to a quarterly rather than an annual release schedule for anyone purchasing our report since October 2019. This is at the same price as the annual report and you get the new issues automatically when you buy the report, (we shared information about how it all works earlier in the year). This approach means that there is a new issue due out in February 2020, so we have started the research for that already.

Our ClearBox Choices will also follow in the next issue, where we will set out our recommendations for 2020 from the huge number of products that are available on the market. We’re also excited to be working on a second report in the same format that will look at independent intranet products such as LumApps, Interact and Embrace. Then also a third that explores employee apps such as Social Chorus, Staffbase, and Speakap.

For now, you can buy the report as a PDF for immediate download by debit / credit card or PayPal.

If you’re a vendor and would like to hear more about how to be involved in our reports please get in touch over email – hello@clearbox.co.uk.

Take a look at the full report.

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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