How Much Does It Cost to Set Up an Intranet?

A company intranet is a powerful tool and will benefit your organisation in numerous ways – from increasing employee productivity to improving internal communication, knowledge sharing, employee engagement, and much more besides. But how much does it cost to set up a company intranet and unleash all these fantastic benefits for your business?

There isn’t a straightforward answer to this question because every organisation is unique and has specific needs. What form your intranet takes will depend on the size of your organisation, the features and functionalities you need from the intranet, and what other software solutions the intranet needs to integrate with – all of which will affect the final cost.

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Whatever the capabilities of your intranet, however, they are undoubtedly a good investment for the majority of companies. Without an efficient private intranet, operations slow down, and employee engagement decreases.

Investing in an effective intranet solution has several benefits, which are:

  • Increased flexibility that allows employees to work with their preferred schedules, remotely or on-premises.
  • Increased productivity due to automation of repetitive tasks.
  • Reduced costs of maintaining on-premises IT infrastructure. When companies opt for a cloud intranet, the costs of web development, platform maintenance, and hardware depreciation all go down.
  • Knowledge management is up-to-date, and information is easily accessible. Thanks to cloud storage services, automatic backups, and more robust security, employees can access information relevant to their work much more readily and from anywhere.

How to budget for intranet software

When comparing different intranet solutions available in the market, it’s essential to acknowledge the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) which is the purchase cost of your IT assets plus the cost of operations and maintenance.

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(Image source: manutan.com)

A comprehensive intranet budget includes the following TCO components:

1. Technical support costs

For an intranet to deliver optimum value, it needs to have sufficient support available in real-time. In addition, users need to quickly troubleshoot technical issues and have them resolved without long waiting periods. If your enterprise does not have a support specialist, you can outsource this to companies that specialise in support.

2. Infrastructure cost

An intranet network requires servers and routers to operate. The number of employees determines the cost of infrastructure in the organisation, the cloud setup model (private, public, or hybrid cloud), and the maintenance required.

Intranets hosted on cloud services cost less than those hosted via on-premise servers. However, some companies prefer private servers due to data security concerns.

3. Subscription costs

If your company prefers to host its IT infrastructure on cloud-based platforms, subscription fees make up the bulk of your IT budget. The subscription fee depends on the type of cloud service package you subscribed to, the duration of the contract, and how much your business scales after you engaged the cloud service provider.

4. Setup costs

The intranet setup stage is crucial for a successful installation. Business goals and your customer strategy determine the number of features. For example, businesses requiring specialised resources may incur more setup costs than enterprises that need networking capabilities without much customisation.

5. User training and onboarding costs

Regular training on intranet features ensures your employees utilise the platform in its entirety. With every new software addition, your IT team should train and onboard staff members to reduce the number of user tickets raised for repetitive queries. In addition, training ensures a higher return on investment because employees improve their work functions and reduce time spent resolving issues.

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Frequent training sessions are an important part of ongoing intranet management

6. Company size

Some intranet solutions offer services based on a price per PC. A larger organisation with employees distributed across different locations will incur higher intranet costs. The price per desktop vs a one-off subscription fee can be costlier, especially if your company does not need highly customised solutions.

How to develop a company intranet strategy

To get the most value out from intranet software, the project manager, in consultation with all stakeholders, needs to create a comprehensive strategy whose scope includes implementing the intranet project, post-installation support, and ongoing costs of maintenance required.

A detailed approach helps you to control costs and derive the utmost value from your intranet solutions. These are the elements to consider:

  • Business objectives: Your intranet proposal should align with your business goals to help you create a convincing business case to present to key stakeholders. Ideally, the package should contain features that help you achieve business objectives more efficiently and at a lower cost.
  • Installation strategy: Installing an intranet requires a well-defined execution plan that does not disrupt business operations. You should also have a recovery plan and alternatives if there’s a system failure during the installation process.
  • Reporting: After installation, determine the frequency of report generation and the kind of insights required to make business decisions. Regular monitoring, evaluation, and reporting ensure consistent improvements to your platform and derives optimum value.
  • Responsibilities: Maintaining an intranet is labour-intensive and requires dedicated staff to keep it running smoothly. Assign IT personnel to critical functions and outsource any other maintenance role to a service provider.

Technical elements to consider while acquiring an intranet solution

These are the key components to consider while selecting an intranet platform:

1. Cloud-hosting or on-premises hosting

With the growth in cloud services, companies are moving their IT infrastructure to cloud platforms to take advantage of the wide range of services. Hosting your intranet on the cloud saves you time and resources that you could have spent on on-premises maintenance and support.

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Cloud vs on-premise hosting – consider which option is best for your organisation

2. Customisation or out-of-the-box intranet solution

An out-of-the-box solution works for companies that don’t need customised intranet solutions and are comfortable with what the service offers without further customisation. For other businesses, they might need bespoke products due to the size of their organisation, security concerns, and potential scalability.

3. Upgrades and technical support

Any intranet software requires regular upgrades to stay relevant, improve on security and efficiency. Your intranet provider should notify you of system upgrades well before the actual process so you can plan for business continuity. Throughout the upgrade process and normal business operations, technical support should be on call at all times. The best practice is to outsource technical support so your staff can focus on innovation and business growth.

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