An intranet is a great way to improve internal communications, connect your workforce, and improve overall organisational efficiency. With proper selection, it can be an excellent tool for any organisation. Yet, you must ask the right questions during the evaluation process to ensure you get a platform tailored to your needs. With that in mind, here are ten useful questions to ask during an intranet demonstration.
1. How long have you been in business?
A reputable business will thoroughly understand the market and provide accurate insight into how their product benefits your organisation.
However, if they’ve been in operation for less than three years, there’s a chance that they’re still trying to find their footing with customers. On the other hand, an established company has had time to perfect its approach based on customer feedback, which leads us to our next question.
2. What is your support structure like? How do customers find it helpful?
Customer service should be a core pillar of the vendor’s service offering. You will likely need ongoing support after implementation so you can get everything set up correctly without issues or downtime. A good vendor will offer several different ways to contact their team, including email and phone.
3. What are your top features? How do they solve problems we currently face?
It’s good to have a few key features that capture your organisation’s goals. However, if you’re not sure what these core components should be, talk with the vendor about how their solution supports the modern organisation and its workforce.
For example, research from Consultancy.eu suggest that 40% of employees around the world will work remotely by 2025.
(Image source: consultancy.eu)
In this era, when most companies are implementing remote working arrangements for their employees, you need to ensure that your platform is cloud-based and supports mobile connectivity to enable staff to access the system on the go.
Most importantly, the corporate intranet software must have a great user experience. Staff must be able to use the features without any issues. What are the vendor’s thoughts on this? How have they incorporated user testing into their design process? Do they test with actual employees and corporate customers, or is it only with the company’s developers?
4. What is your approach to customisation?
Since every organisation has different needs, you’ll want an intranet platform that can be tailored to suit your organisation’s goals and objectives. You should also find out how easy the vendor is to work with in terms of making changes after implementation, so you don’t get stuck down the line should your company’s needs or priorities change.
5. How does the intranet integrate with other systems we use?
Integrations can help streamline processes when everything is set up correctly. However, too many integrations could make updates difficult down the line if there are any or compatibility issues between platforms/systems.
Modern intranets come with multiple integrations. Therefore, you should ask the vendor about integrations, because it will be essential that your teams can access all the business tools they need from one centralised location.
6. Do you have a roadmap that shows planned updates for future releases or improvements to existing functionality?
As an intranet customer, you need to be aware of what new features and improvements you can expect in the future – especially with regards to updates that might incur additional costs. Ask to see a roadmap, which should show planned additions, updates, and changes for the future, so you know exactly where your intranet solution is headed after implementation.
7. What are the additional or recurring costs (if any) after implementation?
It’s your organisation’s job to determine if an additional fee is worth it during the initial analysis. As such, you need to find out precisely what ongoing, recurring, and/or additional costs your organisation might incur after implementation. You need this information to be presented in crystal clear fashion so you can make an informed decision about whether or not the platform is worth investing in. Ensure your potential vendor is fully transparent about all costs.
8. Is your system secure?
An intranet must be set up properly to ensure that it’s secure for your organisation and your employees to use – especially if you’re handling sensitive data daily. If the intranet is insecure, there could be potential risks of being hacked or giving unauthorised access to proprietary information.
For example, Korea Aerospace Industries’ intranet was recently hacked, exposing the company’s data to theft. Elsewhere, in North Carolina, US, the improper configuration of the North Carolina Department of Information Technology and Office of State Human Resources intranet led to the exposure of the names and Social Security numbers of 84,860 current or former state agency employees.
Ask about security during intranet demo presentations. You need to have the utmost confidence in your vendor to protect your organisation from all cyberthreats.
9. Can you provide proof that other clients (with similar goals as our organisation) have found value in your solution?
The best way to tell how effective an intranet will be at solving problems for your company is by looking at other companies who’ve already implemented similar platforms successfully. The best vendors will be more than willing to provide you with plenty of references and case studies that showcase success.
10. Do you have a trial period or demo available?
The best way to determine if an intranet is right for your business is by actually trying it out before signing any contracts or paying upfront fees. A good vendor should offer a full feature demo to test the platform – one that gives you enough time without feeling rushed into making your investment decision.