As cloud technology continues to enter business operations, services and platforms that were formerly strictly on-site solutions are developing new opportunities for businesses looking to expand into internet-based computing. Intranets are the perfect example: rather than having to install and maintain a comprehensive platform on your servers, businesses looking to enhance their employee communication can now take advantage of cloud solutions instead.
Especially for larger enterprises looking for internal marketing and employee collaboration tools, intranets continue to gain popularity. If your business can is looking to establish an internal presence, here are 6 benefits of a cloud-based intranet you should consider.
1) Intranet Benefits For Your Business
First, let’s examine the general benefits of intranet platforms as they relate to your business. Cloud-based or on-premise, these platforms help businesses of all sizes improve their internal communication and collaboration.
Increasingly, organizations are realizing just how important internal marketing is to succeed in a competitive market place. By treating employees as a valuable marketing audience, organizations can grow workers into brand advocates that will spread positive messages about the business to their family and friends.
In addition, intranets help to engage employees and create a connection between workers and their daily tasks through enhancing collaboration and providing productivity tools. Studies show that employees who are happy at their jobs are significantly more productive than their counterparts, ultimately driving business growth.
2) Accessibility of Cloud-Based Intranets
Many of the general benefits of intranets are amplified in cloud-based platforms. For example, a platform that is not hosted on your internal servers is accessible from anywhere in the world. Particularly if your employees travel frequently or work from a variety of locations, they may require access to collaboration tools or the internal company blog regardless of location. Cloud-based intranet enables that access, increasing both use of the platform and the resulting collaboration.
As millennials are beginning to enter the workforce, global accessibility will continue to rise in importance. Recent research has shown that younger generations are more likely to believe that working remotely increases their productivity and motivation, increasing the need for collaboration software that is accessible in locations other than company headquarters.
Experienced users in cloud technology will be familiar with this argument. Global accessibility remains one of the core benefits of cloud computing as a whole, and naturally extends to cloud intranets. Accessibility regardless of location means increased flexibility and convenience, which are both crucial parts in helping your employees conduct their work and collaborate successfully and efficiently.
No business is stagnant. Ideally, your goal in establishing an intranet system within your company is to increase employee productivity, which will in turn result in business growth. But can your intranet handle larger operations?
The answer to that question, of course, depends. An on-premise solution may only be configured for a certain number of users and storage capacity. Increasing each variable is most likely possible, but will require additional resources, time commitment, or both.
A cloud-based solution, on the other hand, is more easily scalable. Designed to grow with the company for which it runs, a cloud-based intranet generally offers unlimited users and storage that could not be supported by limited on-site servers. If and when your business grows, its intranet will grow alongside it.
4) Existing IT Constraints
Anyone who has experienced a major software implementation knows just how time and resource-intensive the process is. That is no different for on-premise intranet software, which will require both expertise and extensive work hours to install, secure, and maintain. Many companies simply do not have an IT department ready and willing to take on that work.
Unless your IT division is willing to take on and take lead for your intranet, both during implementation and for continuous maintenance, your options are limited. Many companies hire an intranet specialist specifically for this task, which will both lengthen the implementation phase and put a further strain on your resources. A cloud-based solution, on the other hand, eliminates the need for dedicated IT resources and frees your technical department up for other aspects of your business.
5) Low Set Up Costs
Any potential intranet buyer or influencer should understand the differences in pricing models between the two alternatives. Cloud-based intranet relies on an SaaS model, meaning that it will cost a contracted monthly fee to maintain and update. On-premise software, on the other hand, usually comes with a high upfront cost to buy the software license, train employees, and any overhead caused by the implementation process.
Which of the two alternatives can your business afford? Especially if only limited resources are available, the answer is most likely to be the SaaS model. Our clients tend to think of it as a payment plan: no one has the money to buy their house up front, so a mortgage is a natural solution. Similarly, cloud-based intranet will enable you to implement the software without coming up with a large chunk of budget immediately.
6) Streamlined Training Opportunities
With on-premise software, ownership and responsibility lies with you. Either marketing or IT will need to train employees, ensuring software adoption and maximum functionality as early as possible. That can be especially difficult given that the leads in charge of training are only learning the software themselves.
A cloud-based intranet, on the other hand, offers more streamlined training opportunities. Because the software is used by many other businesses, your provider likely has an established library or knowledge base of tutorials and training modules available for your use. That, in turn, enables you to streamline your training, ensuring that your employees will learn the software comprehensively and successfully.
Understanding the Drawbacks of Cloud-Based Intranets
At the same time, businesses looking to establish an intranet powered by cloud computing should understand that while the benefits are undeniable, certain disadvantages do exist. When compared to on-site solutions, it’s important to keep the following drawbacks in mind:
- Continuous Costs. While the initial set up costs are much lower than for on-premise intranet solutions, you will need to plan in costs after the initial deployment. Cloud-based intranet is an SaaS solution, meaning that you will be paying a monthly fee for storage, maintenance, and upkeep.
- Less Control. You will rely on software used by other companies, rather than a custom solution for your business. That means you rely on external service, rather than internal professionals for any maintenance and trouble shooting. Software updates will be initiated by the provider, rather than your IT department.
Is a Cloud-Based Intranet Right For Your Business?
Ultimately, that question depends on your individual business situation. You may have a robust IT team that is happy and eager to take on management and maintenance of your on-premise solution. Or you may prefer paying a large sum up front for more flexibility later. But in reality, most businesses with tight budgets, limited IT capabilities, and a mobile workforce should at least consider the thought of a cloud-based intranet solution. The benefits are undeniable, and can help you improve your employee productivity significantly.
Through partnering with MyHub, your business can take advantage of the many opportunities provided by intranets without the requirements necessary to install and maintain an on-premise solution.
Written by Frederik Schrader Search Engine Marketer at MyHub Intranet