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Podcast Episode #1: Ready-To-Go Vs. Custom Intranets


Welcome to our first Digital Workplace Today Podcast. We are glad you have joined us for this lively discussion. On this podcast, we discussed ready-to-go versus custom solution intranets with Daniel Cohen-Dumani, CEO and founder of Portal Solutions, and Jill Hannemann, Director of Advisory Services for Portal Solutions.

The focus of the discussion includes:

  • Background on ready-to-go and custom intranet solutions
  • The latest changes and challenges in these options
  • The main differences between these options
  • How to know what option is right for you

Listen to the episode to hear it all, or read the show notes below.

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The Rise of Ready-To-Go Intranets

An intranet has always been a solution that address and solves problems for an organization, to increase productivity, but historically this has always been a custom solution, that tailor to the organization. We have seen over the past three or four years advances in more turnkey package solutions.

Those turnkey solutions are quicker, faster and obviously more cost-efficient.

What is a Custom Solution?

A custom solution for an intranet is pretty much exactly what the words mean. It’s building from the ground up. It’s what organizations have been doing for the last two decades.  User research and user experience practices have evolved, today you have the ability to address and listen to your employee body and constituency and be able to design a site that resonates with and reflects what your folks know and what they need.

What has changed with Ready-To-Go Intranets?

Out-of-the-box technology is so sophisticated at this point that it gives you a starting point to be able to launch a usable, very intuitive intranet, very quickly.

Years of experience, best practices, and the evolution in user-experience design are being rolled up into packages. With a ready-to-go intranet, you get the collective experience of many people rather than heading down your own road and your own path.

Challenges with Custom Solutions

1. Complexity and Detail 

Often with a custom intranet you want to boil the ocean. Sometimes the expectation is that the new intranet will reflect and address almost every nuance and component of the organization, to enhance it, to automate it, to make it more sophisticated, to get things done faster.

What ends up happening is we try to take on too much. A good solution is to develop a roadmap, to develop a phased approach to incrementally roll out different components. However with all projects, priorities shift and things change. It can completely derail the roadmap and the action items. It takes perseverance and time to accomplish a completed custom solution.

2. Culture and Change Management

The second challenge is more on the human side and is very often in the context of change management. Building a cool new system doesn’t necessarily drive user adoption. It can be difficult to shift how users interact with one another, share information, and collaborate with peers.

It is important to find a happy medium, in being progressive with technology and being realistic to what users will tolerate.

How do Ready-To-Go Intranets differ from custom intranet solutions?

Primarily it’s about time to market.  A turnkey intranet solution brings speed to market but may not have the same flexibility to meet all your goals.  On the other hand, a well-designed and well-built, turnkey solution will continue to innovate. It will decrease the need for on-going maintenance, and be ready as your business evolves.

Why Choose A Custom Intranet?

When customers are looking to embed more of their line of business functionality within their intranet, a custom solution is often the best option. The intranet and the solution needs to reflect more of the organization than what an out-of-the-box intranet or ready-to-go intranet could provide.

Which option is right for your business?

The most important thing is to be open-minded. The market is moving quickly. There are new players coming in this space every day with new solutions.  Look honestly at your goals, and don’t exclude one or the other for any specific reason.

You may find something that can work for your organization and help you with the bottom line. This is a fast moving and quickly changing market, and there are no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Keep coming back to get the latest on what is happening in this space.


Do you enjoy listening to our conversation on the latest trends and insights in the digital workplace?

Consider subscribing to the Digital Workplace Today podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

And if you can, take a moment to review the podcast. Your feedback is helpful, and we’d love to hear what topics you would like us to cover in future episodes.


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