Intranets have come a long way since the first on-premise intranet. Intranets once used to be an exclusive possession of big businesses that had the resources to spend and maintain an internal communication system. However, things are beginning to look up after the advent of cloud-based intranet offered as a service. It is now affordable for small businesses as well.
The advantage for small businesses is that they can begin small with as little as 50 users and grow it several times as their business begin to expand. Since current intranet models use cloud-based assets to deliver intranet services, it is able to provide mobility to users on wider scale.
INTRANETS FIND THEIR PLACE OF PRIDE
The number of IT businesses rolling out SharePoint add-ons that enhance it is growing by leaps and bounds and we can see it happening all around. Add-ons are getting smarter with improved functionality and is drawing more users towards it, indicating that the market for ready-made intranet is about to hit new heights. Market projections show that small businesses prefer ready-made intranet solution because of its versatility and easy implementation procedures.
A careful examination of the market for SharePoint intranet software over the years since 2016 till 2018 shows that there are currently 60 products in the ready-to-go intranet genre and the number is growing at a decent pace. Projections are that in 2019, there are going to be more players in the small business intranet segment within the ready-to-go intranet genre.
Intranet for Small Business – the Trajectory
At least three trends have surfaced in 2018. It indicates the coming of age, the pressure on vendors to update their products and facing the challenges that Microsoft itself is making to SharePoint.
Intranets that once used to be the exclusive possession of enterprises is accessible to small businesses as well because it is now cloud-based. Cloud-based intranets have distinct advantages that on-premises intranets cannot challenge – they are scalable, cost-effective and provide freedom from expenditure on software upgrade.
Intranets are now Smarter and Larger
In the past (2/3 years earlier) few enterprise-size companies were expressing interest in SharePoint-in-a-box. They did not want to take the risk of trying or testing it. The reasons for this are many – the risks associated with trying something new and untried and lack of features that support their requirements was a turn off. Broadly the shortcomings related to multiple-site collections, language related issues and sub-branding.
Over a period of time however, the products have matured significantly. Today, these products are being used by clients that have up to 100,000 thousands users and even more. Mega-size corporations have started to realise the real potential and now there is really a big number of choices before them.
Vendors Start to Consolidate
In the past only a few of well known brands used the partnership route to achieve market growth but others are following on the same path. This is an indication that in-a-box products are receiving due attention and support from users. It is widely being recognized that partner model products are better managed and customers are the biggest beneficiaries from this approach to delivering intranets.
The other inference of the emergence of a partnering model is a strong indication that companies that have been serving customers in a limited geographical area are at the receiving end of severe competition from big established players in the intranet arena.
Bots – the Game Plan Changer
Bots are now the new thing in digital workplace and big-time intranet companies are beginning to see the potential of including it in their intranet products. Some better known brands offer it as a standard features and some as an add-on. A few even offer artificial intelligence assistants while still others offer an interface for conversation. Both have the potential to quicken the pace of work related objective and improve productivity manifold. With SharePoint improving, it is nowadays easier to integrate bots and deploy it.
STILL MISSING IN THE INTRANET
Most intranets do a decent job, but the scope for improvements and features is still vast. As we see the current intranets in the market, there is still more that vendors can do to make SharePoint more utility oriented.
Here are few things that we think is still missing.
→ Considering that SharePoint has come a long way, it still lacks in a social intranet. Potential users of intranets will like to see future intranets with social features included. Intranet vendors should seriously consider giving a social angle to their products to reign in more users. Not even the best intranet software currently in the market offers this as a standard feature.
→ Most intranets don’t have analytical tools and depend on third-products or service for analysing productivity and performance. This should change – intranet vendors should consider including analytic tools to reduce dependence on independent product vendors.
→ Searching in most intranets is still in its nascent stage making many third-party intranets redundant and difficult to use. This should be set right. As of now though many vendors are working on it, nothing tangible has been realised so far.
It was the intention of the creators of Hubfly Intranet to give users a unique experience when the initiatives were first set to take off. The approach was vastly different and the focus was centered on creating an intranet that was intended not only to serve as a communication tool but also as a means to get employees fully engaged. This is a radically different approach that customers find useful.
Hubfly Intranet is among the earliest of intranets to offer enhancements for SharePoint. Hubfly is a feature rich enhancement for SharePoint and seamlessly integrates with Office 365. What make it a unique product is that it is made to address the special requirements of small businesses.
Hubfly seeks to remove the pain-points associated with SharePoint and reduce the learning curve to its minimum. It is deployable in a short time and does not require any special skill to use its features. Hubfly is also amenable to including special apps in case it is required.