Why a digital workspace is better than a custom made portal

25 January 2017 | Chris Marshall

Traditionally speaking, companies have custom built their Intranets using platforms such as SharePoint, Interact and Lotus Notes to build a platform that did exactly what they wanted and needed. This was great – up to a point. Those customisations were very often the source of many headaches later on, especially once the technology became dated, unloved and the company decided to migrate to a new environment.

Today, businesses are jumping at the opportunity to move to cloud based platforms like Office 365 – Microsoft has reported it is the company’s fastest-growing business ever. Why so popular we hear you ask? Well, Office 365 is Microsoft’s cloud-based communications and collaborations platform and has taken the enterprise by storm in recent years.

Leading the way

Research by Bitglass found adoption of the platform has increased by 300% since 2014. Overtaking Google Apps along the way, Office 365 is now the market leader in this field, largely due to big savings in hosting and infrastructure costs, as well as free software updates and the ability to use a number of great applications, such as Delve, OneDrive for Business and Power BI for data visualisation. As a result, it’s now a want for many enterprises around the world.

Now, if your company is ready to move to Office 365, that’s great – we’d strongly encourage you to do so (analyst Forrester estimates companies will see and ROI of 162% in 7 months). However, if you want to use Office 365 as an Intranet, you will have to roll it out like you would a traditional one; deploying different features at different times, over the course of many months. By contrast, deploying a ready-made platform with deep level Office 365 integration – such as Fresh from Content and Code – gives you all the benefits of Office 365 in an instant.

So, is the Fresh approach right for you, or should you be looking at a custom-built Intranet?

The Pareto Principle

The Pareto Principle, named after an Italian economist, describes the phenomenon that in almost every sphere, 20% of components are vital, and 80% are trivial. Originally used to describe Italy’s economy in the early 20th century, the rule has been used in many other places: from businesses and education to products and services. And the same principle applies to company Intranets.

In your standard Intranet, there are a number of features which are absolutely key for productivity and efficiency. You also get a lot of other highly useful tools and features, yet much of the time, these are rarely used, such as people profiles. So, when you’re thinking about your company’s Intranet, it’s valuable to consider the Pareto Principle. If you can find a platform which gives you all the essential features you need, it is worth questioning whether you actually need a fully-customised platform when you could attain the same levels of productivity – and save money – with a more streamlined environment.

What core features do you really need?

Here at Content and Code, we’re proud of our Intranet know-how. We’ve been building Intranets with Microsoft technology since 2001 and count Microsoft Most-Valued Professionals (MVPs) among our people. So, when we built Fresh, we were able to draw on deep organisational knowledge to create a digital workspace which we knew will provide your colleagues with the exact tools they need to do almost anything they need. With Fresh you get:

* A fully functioning Intranet

A Fresh digital workspace includes all the essential features you’d expect from an Intranet:

o Home page

o Business Site

o News Pages

o Location Site

o Tools

o Navigation Hub

o Content Page

* Search

Fresh includes a powerful people and document search.

* Collaboration

We know how important collaboration tools are for knowledge work, so we built collaboration sites and a video portal into Fresh’s DNA.

* Social

Work has always been social, and tools like Yammer (learn more about Yammer here) build on this by providing powerful online social environments.

* User centred

Technology should fit around how your end users work – so we’ve designed Fresh to incorporate user profiles and tied in tools like OneDrive for Business and Delve (what is Delve?) to help them become more productive, as well as helping users find and discover the innovations that Microsoft has made available natively but are not always obvious.

* Mobile

Thanks to the explosion of mobile devices and improved enterprise security, users now expect to be able to connect to their digital workspace whenever they want, wherever they are. Fresh is mobile friendly, working on multiple devices and encourages work on the move.

The final 20%

We are confident that a Fresh Intranet will more than cover your core needs for an Intranet, as well as delivering them much faster than a traditional ‘custom-made’ Intranet. But what about that additional 20% of functionality that isn’t covered by the Pareto Principle? Well, we have that covered too.

Unlike other brands providing ready-to-use Intranets, Fresh gives you more than an ‘out of the box’ tool. We understand that you will want the control to add new components, workflows and features to your Intranet to help certain employees’ complete certain specific tasks. For this reason, we offer our users the custom code behind Fresh so you can make further modifications whenever you need them. In this way, Fresh gives you the best of both worlds – you get a powerful Intranet fast, and if you ever need to extend or enhance it due to unforeseen organisational changes, you have the power to control your Intranet’s future.

Tell me more? If Fresh sounds like the Intranet for you, talk to us today. Stay tuned for our next post in this series – How our knowledge makes Fresh better.

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