Which intranet should you choose? Both Microsoft Sharepoint and WordPress are excellent platforms to use for an intranet, they have different benefits, and of course, downsides. If you’re in the process of making a decision on which intranet system to use, here’s a handy breakdown of the pros and cons of each one.
What is an intranet?
An intranet is a local or restricted computer network created for the purpose of sharing information, communicating and sharing data between a specific group of people. Essentially private networks and intranets are often created by businesses and organisations to organise their business systems and allow secure access across sites.
Which intranet should I choose?
When building out an intranet for a client, we work together closely to identify the business objectives and the team’s typical ways of working. Choosing which intranet is right for you and your organisation depends on these factors, plus the type of business you have.
We’ve collated the pros and cons of both Microsoft Sharepoint and WordPress to give you a short overview of each, helping you to identify which intranet might be best suited to your business.
Read more: SaaS vs PaaS: what’s the difference?
Which intranet? The benefits of using Microsoft Sharepoint:
- Simple sign-in – If you already have an account with Microsoft then a user can use the same login information to access this.
- Seamless integration – This links directly into Office 365 so files opened in Sharepoint can seamlessly be edited through the correct Office 365 product. Users can use real-time document collaboration and multiple users can all edit the same file.
- Choose a version – 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.
- Customisation – The self-hosted version is highly customisable to suit the needs of your company and your users.
- Central Location – Using this to house all of your internal files means just one central place for everything.
- Easily Integrate – It has an extendable integrations system and links with a number of major software companies if needed.
- Manage internally – An IT department, in theory, could build and maintain an Intranet built on Sharepoint.
- Secure – Security should be excellent as long as passwords are complex and regularly updated.
Disadvantages of Microsoft Sharepoint include:
- Complex – 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.
- Long Process – The process to design and build can be long (and also expensive). Most intranet builds typically have a turnaround time of 1 year.
- No direct support – 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.
- Syntax Search – The search system can be complex; getting the best out of the search system requires an understanding of syntax search. The search feature can be customised though.
- Slow to Adapt – Sharepoint as a whole appears to be slow to adapt and release new features compared to smaller more agile software.
- Inconsistent auto-updater – 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. 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.
- Specialised system – If the hosted version is chosen, a specialised hosting platform will be required, which starts at around £2.5k per year.
- Budget – You may need to budget for your IT department to run and maintain this rather than their main roles within the business unless you bring a consultant in to manage this.
When searching for an Enterprise solution for your organisation it is easy to go for household brands, such as Microsoft. Whilst you’re expecting higher price points it doesn’t always come with the tools that you need for your business. An intranet like Sharepoint is as flexible as others, especially one that is built bespoke to your needs. It’s well worth looking into alternatives before you make that investment.
WordPress offers you the option to build something completely customised, so let’s explore the pros and cons of this solution too…
Which intranet? The benefits of using WordPress:
- Flexible – The system can be designed to work exactly how you want – there’s no framework that it must fit.
- Customisable – Features such as search can be customised to work exactly how you wish.
- Faster to build – Design and build will be similar in length and cost to a regular website build and is much faster than the Sharepoint process.
- No specialist developer – 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.
- Integrations Simple – Features or updates can be applied easily because WordPress has been built with the developer in mind. Integrations are simpler than Sharepoint to add.
- Lower price – 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.
Disadvantages of WordPress include:
- New accounts – 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.
- No file collaboration – This won’t allow for collaboration within files like Sharepoint will. This will purely allow a user to access a file and read it.
- Different Security – Security will still be excellent, but compared to a closed-off system used by Microsoft, this can be viewed as a downside.
WordPress isn’t the only alternative to an internal intranet you can find, each platform has its own pros and cons – some will suit your business and others won’t. If you’re in the process of deciding which intranet 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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