20 Jun How To Choose Intranet Software
You don’t need persuading about your intranet requirement – you already know that you need one. You know that a solid intranet can bring a whole range of benefits to your business and you are looking to bring this about, just as soon as you can decide on which intranet software would best suit your company’s needs. With hundreds of intranet software providers out there, all pushing the benefits of their particular system, it is easy to lose sight of what you want and why you wanted it in the first place. To help your company make this important choice, here are some of the things that your business will want to keep in mind while it comes to a decision.
Long track record
Choose intranet software from a provider who has been around for a substantial amount of time. A newcomer to the field may well be promising more advanced features than the older providers, but you’ll be wanting your mission critical software to run smoothly and be bug free. A new company might not have had time to iron out all of the bugs in their software, and so you will want to ask around and compare just how robust other existing solutions are. It is usually the case that you’ll be better off with slightly fewer features that all function together well, than slightly more features that still have a few stages of testing before they can be deployed in your enterprise.
Several software iterations
You’ll want the software that you eventually choose to have gone through several iterations before you stake your company’s future on using it. Anything still in Beta should obviously be avoided, even if you are offered a particularly sweet deal by the provider. The smooth-running future of your company is simply too important to place in the hands of anything less than robust software. Choose software with a version number higher than 1!
You’ll want your provider to have plenty of experience over a substantial period of time, and in particular you’ll want them to have experience in the same industry that your business is focused on. If they also have experience in related industries then that is all to the good. Beware of providers who have only got experience in related industries but who lack experience in your business’ primary industry.
Your provider should be one that excels in the area of security. They should be able to provide you with information and testimonials from satisfied customers that show how competent your provider is. You don’t just want passive testimonials that report no bother or trouble either, you ideally are looking for examples of an incident that did occur and how well the provider reacted and dealt with it to everyone’s satisfaction.
Your provider will need to demonstrate that they are responsive to your needs and do not keep you waiting under any circumstances. One easy test of any provider’s responsiveness is how fast they will start and complete the installation of your software order. If they cannot respond immediately when you ask them to install your software as a new client, the chances are that they are overstretched or disorganized. How they respond to you in the present is a strong indication of how they will respond to you in the future. They may be pleased that they are so busy, and they may offer up all manner of excuses as to why they cannot meet your needs in a reasonable timeframe, but none of this is good to your business. Not unless you enjoy losing money due to intranet issues while you wait for your provider to eventually respond to your support requests.
Unless you plan and budget for a member of your own staff to take responsibility for learning and running the software that your provider installs, then you will want staff from your provider to assist you with support. It may cost extra to keep your provider on a retainer in case you ever need them to respond and support you, but this will probably cost you less in the long run when compared to how much it will cost you to divert a member of your staff to learn a new system and try to troubleshoot someone else’s software issues.
Grow with you
A good provider will be able to show you examples of how other clients have grown over the years and how your provider has responded to meet their needs. They should be able to match your current needs with an appropriate solution package, and show you the possible upgrade paths that your company could expand into in the future. They should be able to assist you with predictive costings, to help your business to plan its budgeting going forwards into the future.
Although it is one of the more obvious elements involved in coming to a decision, price alone is by no means an adequate mechanism for taking a decision on your intranet software. All sorts of other factors will end up costing your company in the long run, and so you need to assess price in the context of all the other factors. Especially beware taking decisions that appear to save money now but which risk costing your business far more in the long run. As a rule of thumb, a problem that is not addressed and fixed early in the lifecycle of a project will end up costing ten times more in the long run when it is eventually dealt with.
So, in conclusion, you should take these factors into account when choosing your intranet software, and also any other factors which are unique or specific to your business. Why not gather the key personnel together for a meeting, establish what the key requirements are for your company’s intranet software, and draw up a checklist of factors that you have identified as needing to be addressed. Then at each stage of research into possible providers, you can easily see at a glance how well each provider’s solution performs against your key performance indicators.