Intranets: Should I use Sharepoint or WordPress?

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Both Sharepoint and WordPress are excellent platforms to use for an intranet. They have different benefits, and of course, downsides so if you’re in the process of making a decision on which system to use, here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons to each one.

Let’s start with the benefits of using Sharepoint.

  1. If you already have an account with Microsoft then a user will use the same login information to also access this.
  2. This links directly into Office 365 so files opened in Sharepoint can seamlessly be edited through the correct Office 365 product.
  3. Tying in with point 2, users can use real-time document collaboration too, so multiple users can all edit the same file.
  4. There are two versions of Sharepoint, Online and Hosted. The Online version is held in the cloud and the Hosted version is self-hosted by your company.
  5. The self-hosted version is highly customisable to suit the needs of your company and your users.
  6. Using this to also house all of your internal files means just one central place for all of your files.
  7. It has an extendable integrations system, so links with a number of major software companies if needed.
  8. An IT department, in theory, could build and maintain an Intranet built on Sharepoint.
  9. Security should be excellent as long as passwords are complex.

Some of the disadvantages of Sharepoint are:

  1. Due to the complexity of the system and the number of out of the box features, the learning curve can be a pretty steep one when getting to grips with Sharepoint.
  2. The process to design and build can be long (and also expensive!). Most intranet builds can have a turnaround time of around 1 year.
  3. Sharepoint isn’t actually supported by Microsoft; the business model is such that they sell the software but push users to deal with 3rd party consultants or companies for them to support/build these on Sharepoint’s behalf.
  4. The search system can be complex; to get the best out of the search system, this requires an understanding of syntax search. The search feature can be customised though.
  5. Sharepoint as a whole appears to be slow to adapt and release new features compared to smaller more agile softwares.
  6. Online Sharepoint auto-updates, so if your version of Sharepoint has been customised this will need to be checked for bugs or issues after each update.
  7. Hosted Sharepoint doesn’t update at all once set up, meaning a self-hosted system after a year or two has the potential to be hugely out of date.
  8. If the hosted version is chosen, a specialised hosting platform will be required, which starts at around £2.5k per year.
  9. You may need to budget for your IT department to run and maintain this rather than their main roles within the business unless a consultant was brought in to manage this.

On the flip side, the benefits of using WordPress are:

  1. The system can be designed to work exactly how you want it to work – there’s no framework that this must fit to.
  2. Features such as the Search can be customised to work exactly how you wish.
  3. Design and build will be similar in length and cost to a normal website build and is much faster than the Sharepoint process.
  4. An intranet built in WordPress can be fully maintained by a web development agency as it’s built in the same code, rather than requiring a specialist developer for Sharepoint.
  5. Features or updates can be applied easily because WordPress has been built with the developer in mind. Integrations are simpler than Sharepoint to add in.
  6. Hosting price-wise, this would be similar to the hosting of a regular website so a much lower cost than Sharepoint’s specialised hosting platform.

But there are, of course, downsides to a WordPress version as well:

  1. Depending on if you want users to log in to this intranet, they will need their own account, which can’t be linked with their Microsoft / Office 365 account.
  2. This won’t allow for collaboration of files like Sharepoint will. This will purely allow a user to access a file and read it.
  3. Security will still be excellent but in comparison to a closed-off system used by Microsoft, this can be viewed as a downside.

If you’re in the process of deciding which platform would work best for your business, we can discuss your full requirements with you and help you to make that decision.

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