Intranet projects can take a long time to complete. According to the Nielsen Norman Group, the average intranet project lasts approximately 1.4 years, or 17.3 months. Although this data is based on a small number of projects, it is a figure which has remained steady for the past few years.
Anecdotally, that figure seems about right. We know of many large SharePoint intranet projects which have taken eighteen months or even longer to get from the initial project team kick-off meeting to the actual launch day. Given that some intranets then go through a phased launch to different parts of an organisation, the actual project can take even longer.
The sheer length of the implementation is an issue. Eighteen months is a long time in the workplace. During this period, an organisation can go through extensive change with mergers, acquisitions and restructuring. Strategic priorities can change and new services can be added. New developments in technology can occur and new tools come into use. Employee needs and preferences can change.
These developments shape how an intranet is configured and set-up. With an eighteen month or even a year-long “time to market” it means your intranet runs the risk of effectively being out of date before it is even launched!
The power of a rapid deployment
The good news is that there is now the potential to develop a beautiful, relevant and successful SharePoint intranet much more quickly. Some of our projects now span only a few months or weeks.
Several factors have made this possible. For some customers, the availability of SharePoint Online removes much of the technical complexity and allows for a far more rapid deployment for those not on-premises. The widespread adoption of agile methodologies also means IT functions are ready to move quickly.
The development of “SharePoint intranet-in-box” products like Wizdom’s intranet solution, have also sped up the implementation process. Our offering come with a complete set of fully-tested designs, templates, applications and features. Which means an intranet can be rapidly deployed with a full set of capabilities. Far less time now needs to be spent on developing and testing custom features. Future upgrades are also a breeze.
Turnkey solutions also tend to be very flexible so that you can configure the intranet to the needs of your organisation with the right branding and set of features. We’re very proud that Wizdom was recently rated highly in ClearBox’s authoritative guide to turnkey intranet solutions for SharePoint.
Installing an intranet in days!
In our experience, there are also some clients who need an even more rapid deployment. This may be because of an urgent deadline or because the IT function has fully embraced agile methodologies for deployment. We’ve responded to what our clients have been asking us by developing the Wizdom Accelerate Program, an automated process for the creation and installation of a fully-functioning Wizdom intranet in days.
This comes with all the core, essential features of the Wizdom intranet including a configured homepage with the web parts you need, news with social components, employee directory, departmental sites, favourite links and more. Of course, you can then continue to add to and develop your intranet after this. The Accelerate Program is available for both cloud and on-premises customers.
Six reasons for a rapid SharePoint intranet deployment
There’s several benefits and advantages of a fast SharePoint intranet deployment:
1. Less risk of being irrelevant and out of date
As we already mentioned, an intranet project which is quickly deployed is far more likely to be relevant and aligned with current organisation strategy and objectives. It will also more accurately reflect the needs of your employees.
2. Reduced costs and earlier ROI
When an intranet project goes on for months and months, the costs soon start to mount. This is not only because of all the time spent by everybody on the project, but also because you may be missing out on cost savings by continuing with your inefficient, old platform longer than you must.
Some executives will also be wanting to know how long it will take to see a Return On Investment (ROI) on the new intranet. If this is counted from the day of the project started (or the day the agreement was signed), then ROI will happen significantly earlier with a rapid deployment
3. Be in step with Office 365
Of course, many SharePoint intranets are still on-premises, but for those using Office 365 a rapid deployed intranet means it can be in step with the ever-expanding range of applications available on the Office 365 platform. As you open these features up to your workforce, your SharePoint intranet can be the front door to the Office 365 world, as well as leading the communications about these powerful new tools.
Old SharePoint projects are often associated with a “waterfall” mindset with a detailed set of requirements, a long development time and then a “big bang” launch. It’s generally recognised that this approach can lead to intranets not suited to the needs of users, as well as being very difficult for small teams to implement.
An agile approach with small, iterative improvements is a more successful way to implement an intranet. Here, the intranet is shaped by real user feedback and actual, ongoing use of the tools, leading to a far more user-centred platform. A rapid intranet deployment allows you to leverage this approach
5. Meet urgent strategic needs
Sometimes a new intranet is needed quickly to meet an urgent company objective. Imagine your Head of Communications tells you that your CEO needs a new intranet live in two months because you are about to merge with another company! In the old world of intranet projects this would be impossible to achieve, but it’s now perfectly possible to deliver a rapidly-deployed, great intranet and rise to the CEO’s challenge.
6. Keep up the momentum
Very long intranet projects can be energy-zapping. Team members leave, there are stops and starts, priorities shift and the project can lose focus. A more rapid deployment ensures that the team remain motivated and energised, delivering a great intranet without having to spend eighteen months of continuous effort.
The rapid SharePoint intranet revolution
Intranet projects don’t need to take forever. Turnkey intranets and approaches like our Accelerate Program offer an alternative where organisations can deploy an intranet quickly, without compromising on quality.
Your users will be enjoying the benefits of the intranet much earlier and you’ll also have an intranet from where you can then make improvements and add features based on real user feedback and experiences. Ultimately, that means an intranet which your employees will love and want to use. Then, your stakeholders will enjoy seeing an earlier ROI.
Perhaps, it’s time to join the rapid SharePoint intranet revolution?