A new software segment has emerged in the past 18 months—The SharePoint Intranet In-a-box, otherwise known as an "intranet-as-a-service", "pre-built intranet, or "turn-key intranet solution". Whatever term you are most familiar with, this market segment has emerged to fill a market-gap—one that formerly strained significant organizational resources and manpower.
The SharePoint Intranet In-a-Box Market Emerges
Over the past 12 years, SharePoint has emerged as the platform of choice to build an enterprise intranet because it is highly configurable. Primarily used as a document management and storage system, internal developers began customizing SharePoint so that it could be used as a private portal for organizations—a place to share documents, collaborate and communicate with colleagues. Today, 80% of Fortune 100 companies use a SharePoint Intranet and in the past five years, 75% total intranet implementations were on SharePoint.
Many, if not all of these intranet deployments, have been custom-built on top of SharePoint which have cost organizations into the millions, and take anywhere from 1-2 years to fully implement. Inflexible in nature, organizations have come to find themselves at a crossroads when wanting to upgrade to newer versions of SharePoint. Namely, that their intranet will become null if deciding to upgrade as all customizations will break. Recognizing the need to start from scratch, decision stakeholders find themselves deciding between rebuilding another custom solution, or searching for an Intranet In-a-box that meets their business requirements.
Intranet In-a-Box or Custom SharePoint Intranet?
Experts estimate that within 1-2 years, the SharePoint intranet marketplace will move from primarily customized solutions, to one where 80-90% of organizations are using out-of-the-box solutions. Why? The answer is simple. In it's infancy, out-of-the-box solutions meet 80-100% of enterprise business requirements which is pretty impressive considering the first solutions to enter the market only arrived in the last year and a half.
"Out-of-the-box, Bonzai Intranet met 91% of our business requirements with an added bonus of meeting an additional 8 that were originally deemed out of scope."
—Robin Morgan, Capital Power's Intranet Business Analyst
Even though the market is so new, there are roughly 26 different companies spanning Canada, Australia, the UK, the US and the Nordics that offer an intranet in-a-box solution. ClearBox Consulting, a well-known SharePoint Intranet consulting group based in the UK, recently released a report that does some of the ground work for you by comparing these solutions on the following feature/functionality offerings:
- News publishing
- Overall branding look and feel
- Two-way communications
- Mobile access
- Community spaces
- Wildcard (unique differentiators)
How did North American Solutions Rank?
Out of the 26 solution providers ClearBox reviewed, 11 are based in North America. The top five solutions that ranked the highest from North America are listed below. The scores are calculated based on a 32-point rating scale wherein 4 points are allocated to each of the above feature/functionality comparisons. The full ClearBox SharePoint Intranet In-a-Box Report uncovers which features these products rated highest for, what their unique differentiators are, and which features are lacking. The report also provides detailed screenshots of each solution.
- Bonzai Intranet by Dynamic Owl
- Work Platform Prime by Emgage
- Interchange Digital Workplace by Akumina
- LiveTiles SharePoint