Simple intranets: How to choose and maintain

When it comes to choosing an intranet solution to suit your business, it pays to examine what its primary functions will be and how you’ll need to maintain it. Your regular IT infrastructure upgrades and plans should include improvements to your intranet. Regardless of intranet size or purpose, allow it to function optimally for your needs. This includes every member of staff having fast, easy access at all times, with little interruption.

Many organisations require intranets to organise internal knowledge, share processes and guides,  and store templates and key documents. Larger organisations tend to outsource to specialists; but smaller companies may find it difficult to find. affordable outsourced intranets. As a result, some businesses end up creating their own intranets.

If you plan on creating your own, how do you go about deciding which intranet model best suits your needs and capabilities? We discuss this in further detail below:

The ‘wiki’ approach

A sensible solution is almost certainly some kind of wiki – a web site of linked pages, each of which can be edited with a single click by any reader. Allowing anyone to edit sounds irresponsible, but Wikipedia has proven that this approach generally leads to high quality content. On the other hand, the old centrally-managed, carefully-curated intranet approach often leads to out-of-date content that doesn’t match what users need.

Where to get a wiki

Whilst there are many wikis available, either as software or as web-based services, two stand out to us:

Google Sites

Google Sites is part of the G-Suite productivity suite, which includes Gmail and its web-based Office applications (collaborative alternatives to Word, Excel and PowerPoint). This is a reliable option that will work seamlessly with other Google-based offerings that your business may be using.

Another benefit of Google Sites as in intranet is that you have the ability to set who can or cannot access your site with just a few simple clicks.

Microsoft SharePoint

Microsoft SharePoint is available in many forms, including as part of Office 365 – Microsoft’s hybrid of its desktop Office applications and web-based versions of them. Prices are fairly similar to Google Apps, making for an affordable business solution.

SharePoint also released a mobile app in 2016, helping users navigate quickly to content on-the-go.

So, which do you choose?

Although you may think your choice between Sites and SharePoint is determined by your choice of “Office” suite, that’s not necessarily the case.  Rather, your decision should be determined by the functionality you need and your ability to use and maintain each option.

SharePoint is more powerful in terms of functionality, but unusable without a skilled administrator. This makes it unsuitable for those looking for a simple intranet to service a small to mid-sized organisation without a specialised resource.

Google Sites is intuitive to use and as a result, is easy to manage and update. It’s also unlikely to trip you up with permissions mistakes, and users will be productive immediately. But Does it make sense to use Google Sites if your organisation uses Exchange or Office 365? Yes. At worst, you’ll have to administer the users separately. If you can’t afford to administer SharePoint you’ll have to do that for any intranet tool you choose. If you run an Exchange server you may be able to link your network users to Google Apps automatically.

Still undecided?

At Conosco, our team of passionate IT consultants are always available to assist in any way possible. For more on how we can help you make your IT a business asset, contact us today. https://www.conosco.com