CMS Intranets: Could Your Business Benefit?
By Mike McMinn
Are you interested in the possibilities on offer from CMS intranets, but are struggling to make sense of the different offerings in the marketplace? If this sounds like you, then this article is essential reading. Here we look at the basics in relation to CMS intranets and the options that are available so that you can select the right product for you.
What Is A CMS Intranet?
Simply put a CMS intranet is a web-based content management system. Intranets have been around since the 1990s and originally started off as information sharing and communication tools. They have since evolved to encompass business processes, workflows and collaboration tools so that CMS intranets are now an essential platform for many businesses and are critical to internal functioning.
What Are The Business Benefits?
There is a range of hard and soft benefits to be gained from utilizing a CMS intranet. The hard benefits include:
- Reductions in paper and printing costs. Storing all company information in the CMS intranet means that staff no longer have to print off forms, manuals, policies and procedures.
- Time and efficiency savings. Staff will spend less time trying to locate the information they need as it is all at their fingertips in the CMS intranet. In addition, e-forms or workflow processes on the intranet will streamline office procedures, making staff members more efficient and productive.
The softer benefits on offer include the following:
- Improved employee engagement. Increased communication is at the heart of improved employee engagement. The CMS intranet is a great platform for promoting a two-way dialog with staff.
- Increased opportunities for collaborative working. Break down the information silos in your organization with a CMS intranet. Collaborative forums on the intranet will result in greater team integration and a common sense of purpose.
- Easier sharing of information and best practice. The CMS intranet will make it much easier to share information and data throughout the organization. It also allows for controlled access to that information depending on job or team functionality.
As you would expect, CMS intranets are backed up by sophisticated search capabilities making it easy for the staff member to find the information or business tool that they are looking for.
What Are The CMS Intranet Options?
There are three main choices:
- a bespoke CMS intranet
- an intranet toolkit
- a cloud-based solution.
Let’s look at each of these options in detail to see how they compare.
A Bespoke CMS Intranet
Building an intranet from scratch is not for the faint hearted as it requires a considerable effort both in terms of time and resources. In addition, you will need to have a company server to host the intranet for you. The advantage is that you have a solution that is tailored to your company’s specific needs and requirements. As it is such a big undertaking not many companies nowadays are going down the do-it-yourself route, not least because of the ongoing management and maintenance issues that also need to be factored in.
An Intranet Toolkit
There are a number of providers in the marketplace that offer toolkits that can be adapted to develop your CMS intranet. Some of the more well-known options include SharePoint and WordPress. These kits can be very tempting as often they are free or cost relatively little. These toolkits, however, usually come with a limited core offering. Where the cost and hassle factor comes in is that they usually have to be supplemented with additional plugins and add-ons. These may have to be purchased, or sometimes product licenses are required.
It’s also worth noting that often these toolkits have not primarily been developed as intranet software. SharePoint, for example, was originally designed as a browser-based tool for managing documents and creating project focused websites. And WordPress was originally set up as a blogging platform.
So while there are some upsides to using intranet toolkits to develop your CMS portal, there are also downsides that you will need to be mindful of.
Cloud-Based Intranet Solutions
There is a third option available to you and that is cloud-based providers. With this solution, a cloud provider will host your CMS intranet for a fixed monthly fee. Cloud providers usually have a template and tried and tested features that you can adapt and customize to meet the specific needs of your business.
Among the many advantages offered by a cloud-based solution is that your CMS intranet can be up and running very quickly. Using an intuitive step-by-step process, even a non-technical person can set up an intranet in a matter of hours. Most cloud providers though would be happy to assist and support you through the process if required.
Another benefit of the cloud solution is that you can be assured of the security of your data and information. Cloud providers are responsible for all security matters and offer the latest SSL encryption so that you can be certain your CMS intranet is as secure as it can be. The world of web security is constantly changing and improving and with this option it’s one less thing for you to worry about as it is primarily the provider’s concern.
Also, because the CMS intranet is available on a cloud platform, it will be accessible to staff anywhere and at any time on a tablet or smartphone with a Wi-Fi or 3G connection. This is a very important advantage given the moves towards more flexible and remote working in many companies.
How To Select The Right Option
Making the decision around which is the right option for you will largely be governed by the following factors:
- Your business objectives
- Your end user requirements
- Your budget
- The availability of time and resources.
Be clear about what it is you want the CMS intranet to achieve and how it will support employees to do their jobs. In addition, be clear about the amount of time and resources you are willing to invest in the project. And don’t forget about the ongoing time and resources involved in management and maintenance. Your response to these issues will help to narrow your choices to a shortlist of providers that you can examine in detail.
Gain a competitive edge in your industry by engaging your employees through cloud cms intranet software. Sign up for a free demo of MyHub Intranet Software, which includes free site setup support.
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