Microsoft SharePoint is a bit like Marmite; you either love it or hate it. But there’s no doubt that companies have found plenty of faults with the platform, many of which are business critical. It’s no wonder, then, that organisations are looking for a SharePoint alternative.
You may have heard people say: “no one ever got fired for buying Microsoft” (the phrase has evolved over time since the original IBM), but in today’s modern workplace this excuse simply doesn’t hold up anymore. Just because a software solution has become the default choice in the industry, that doesn’t mean it’s the best one for your business.
Indeed, business software should be implemented only after careful research in line with your overall goals and what you want to achieve. In some cases, SharePoint may well fit the bill, but based on a recent survey by AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management) and real-life user feedback, a good alternative to SharePoint is desperately needed.
- What is SharePoint?
- Is SharePoint still relevant?
- SharePoint is more expensive than you think
- An intranet that a refreshing alternative to SharePoint
- SharePoint alternatives for on premise?
What is SharePoint?
There are different types of SharePoint platforms available, including various versions of SharePoint Server, as well as SharePoint Online, which can be purchased on its own or bundled with Office 365 or Microsoft 365. Depending on which type of SharePoint plan you select, you’ll get different apps and services.
The multitude of packages on offer, and what you do or don’t get in each one, are just the beginning of what is a confusing and complicated platform. Indeed, a general consensus amongst users is that SharePoint is too complex, providing multiple tools that don’t “flow” together.
Before we delve further into user feedback, let’s take a look at what each SharePoint package provides.
What is SharePoint Online?
SharePoint Online is Microsoft’s SaaS solution, providing companies with a monthly subscription to the platform. It’s hosted by Microsoft in the cloud, rather than within your business’s infrastructure.
There are three SharePoint Online plans, which vary in cost and features. The most basic plan includes document management, file sharing, content management, basic search, and team sites. Only the most expensive package provides access to social features, enterprise search, and integration with Office 365.
What is SharePoint Server?
SharePoint Server is Microsoft’s on-premise solution, where customers host the platform on their own IT infrastructure. Organisations have to pay for a license to host SharePoint, as well as a cost per number of users.
Again, the features that come with SharePoint Server will depend on the chosen package; the Standard solution comes with the basic set of tools that are available in SharePoint Online, whilst Enterprise includes additional apps such as better searching.
Installing SharePoint Server is not a simple task, which means you’ll need to hire a specialist SharePoint Consultant to set up the platform on your infrastructure. This is just one of the hidden costs of implementing SharePoint – but more on that later.
Is SharePoint still relevant? Reasons why companies are looking for SharePoint alternatives
SharePoint is considered to be a massive platform containing any tool imaginable. Yet searches for SharePoint alternatives have been steady over the past five years – so there’s clearly something amiss.
In fact, there are several reasons why organisations are looking to switch away from SharePoint. Here are a few of them:
SharePoint is missing major functionality
There are large gaps in functionality missing from SharePoint, including:
Holiday management software: Holiday planner software is critical for human resources to manage employee leave requests – but it’s completely absent from SharePoint out-of-the-box.
One of the key benefits of intranets for HR is an automated holiday booking process, where staff can submit requests, and HR can approve or decline with a click of a button. This process, which could take weeks to handle manually if you’re relying on spreadsheets and email, can be done in mere minutes with the right app.
For something so key to be missing from core SharePoint features seems like a massive oversight. SharePoint users who want a holiday booking system will need to hire a SharePoint specialist to build a customised workflow for them, or pay for a SharePoint consultant to train the admin team how to do it themselves (either way, another hidden cost).
Social networking features: Similarly, social intranet features aren’t present out of the box. Instead, integration with external apps such as Yammer needs to be implemented by a SharePoint specialist. By bringing in external tools, users report a disconnected experience that doesn’t flow as intuitively as other platforms.
Intranet search: It’s also interesting to note that features such as enterprise search, indexing, and dashboards are only available on the priciest package. Tools like these come as standard with many intranet providers, including Claromentis, so why not SharePoint?
SharePoint is causing user frustration
It’s no secret that SharePoint clients, from the IT team to the end user, have voiced their fair share of frustrations with the platform.
AIIM found in their recent survey, The Impact of SharePoint 2016, that a staggering 40% of companies say their SharePoint implementation was unsuccessful. Inadequate user training (67%), a difficult to use platform (66%), and lack of support (64%) were cited as top reasons for SharePoint projects stalling or failing.
Online community forum, Quora, provides endless end-user perspectives into the daily battles of using SharePoint. The most common concerns were:
- There is no training once SharePoint is installed. An external consultant needs to be brought in to train administrators how to use the system.
- The core framework keeps changing with each version, making it confusing to use.
- The deployment takes longer and costs more than their company was led to believe, resulting in the ROI being less than expected.
- Without extensive time, effort, and expense, the platform is underutilised.
- There are many hidden costs that aren’t disclosed upfront.
- There is a lack of customisable branding. Specialist UX designers are needed to customise on-premise installations, and SharePoint Online cannot be customised out of the box.
- The platform isn’t as user friendly on mobile as other intranet providers.
- The inclusion of collaboration software and communication tools is unclear due to lack of training about how it can be managed.
SharePoint is more expensive than you think
If businesses are happy to use SharePoint Online out of the box, without any customisations or additional training, then of course it can be a very effective solution, especially for organisations that already rely on Microsoft services such as Office 365.
However, for customers who need SharePoint Server or additional personalisation, it isn’t as simple as purchasing a license or paying a monthly subscription. Hidden costs such as external consultancy, development, training, and design quickly stack up to a huge bill, not to mention the additional maintenance required to keep the platform up to date. Companies who recruit an internal SharePoint Consultant are looking at spending an average of £62k ($83k) every year, and those who want customisations and third party integrations will need to hire a SharePoint Developer, which is at least another £52k ($67k) a year.
The hidden costs of SharePoint
- SharePoint Consultant: £57,500 – £77,500 a year ($75,000 – $100,500)
- SharePoint Developer: £47,500 – £67,500 a year ($61,600 – $87,600)
- SharePoint Designer: £40,000 – £76,500 a year ($52,000 – $99,300)
- SharePoint Administrator: £37,500 to £50,000 a year ($48,800 – $65,100)
Total: £182,000 – £271,500 ($237,400 – $352,500) for SharePoint specialists + licensing costs + user costs.
Why a Claromentis intranet is a refreshing alternative to SharePoint
Is there anything better than SharePoint? Yes – absolutely! In fact, you could get more from an intranet solution than you ever thought possible.
Claromentis is an independent intranet vendor that provides more than just an intranet. Combining intranet features like shared calendars, information sharing, and a collaboration platform with project management, e-learning, and workflow automations, Claromentis provides an integrated digital workplace with no fuss, no confusion, and no hidden costs.
All apps are included in one digital workplace
All of our core features are just that; core. You won’t find any missing add-ons, and any third-party integrations you need can be sorted by our in-house development team.
Not only that, each and every intranet can be customised with your company branding, ensuring your intranet reflects your business and its unique character.
A Claromentis digital workplace is a holistic platform consisting of intranet apps, project management tools, e-forms and workflows software, task management, and a Learning Management System. We also provide holiday management software, social tools, and enterprise search – which are missing from Sharepoint – as standard.
It’s easy to use
Unlike SharePoint, your teams don’t need a technical background or specialist knowledge to use Claromentis. There is no limitation on who can manage your intranet; employees from absolutely any area of your company, from human resources, to marketing, and IT can get involved.
Design your own intranet without any coding
Customise your own intranet and provide your teams with an engaging user experience with our intranet design tools and drag & drop content management system.
You don’t need any HTML or CSS knowledge – everything is customisable with clicks, including colour schemes, fonts, layouts, backgrounds, and more. This means there’s no need to hire an external contractor either, bringing additional cost savings. user experience
In-house training is included
Users can start using Claromentis after just two training sessions with our in-house trainer. Training resources, such as interactive e-learning courses, how-to guides, and videos are available to all users on our support portal from the word “go”.
Get ongoing technical support
Support and maintenance are key for business critical solutions like intranet software. That’s why we have a dedicated in-house support team who can help you get your platform up and running smoothly.
There are no hidden costs
Our pricing is simple. All our costs are upfront from the day you sign up. You’ll know exactly what you are paying for, without any risk that you’ll receive an unexpected bill. You won’t need to fork out for external consultants either, saving you up to £271,500 ($352,500) a year on extra staff.
What about SharePoint alternatives for on premise?
Like SharePoint, Claromentis provides two flexible hosting options: cloud-based and on-premise. Unlike SharePoint, Claromentis will do all the setup for you, whichever hosting option you go for.
If you decide that cloud hosting is for you, our technical support team can simply spin up a server quicker than you can say “Claromentis is awesome”. If you want to host the platform yourself, our technical supporters will install everything on your infrastructure.
Like any worthwhile investment, you need to ensure the software you are purchasing will fulfil your business requirements. This means you need to define your business goals, and assess if the software has the right tools to meet these. So if your focus is on increasing collaboration, then you need a platform which provides both social and productivity tools.
SharePoint can of course work for some businesses, especially those whose focus is on document management and integrating existing Microsoft services such as Office 365. However, for businesses who require productivity, social, collaboration, and efficiency tools, SharePoint simply isn’t going to cut it without major time, money, and effort spent on customisations.
The financial burden of SharePoint excludes start-ups and SMEs with smaller budgets, as the costs are simply far too high. Equally, enterprise businesses with multiple objectives may not want to invest in a platform which is so time-intensive, and yet lacks the tools they need to work efficiently. Indeed, businesses and end-users are recognising the frustrations of using SharePoint, and seeking a better and brighter intranet.
A Claromentis digital workplace is a refreshing SharePoint alternative that is suitable for businesses of any size and sector. With 600,000 users worldwide, Claromentis have provided beautifully designed and comprehensive business solutions for the past 20 years – so we know a thing or two about what makes the perfect intranet.