Most companies use an intranet or intranet-like tool for Internal Communication, which helps them to communicate internal information. With digital transformation, remote working, and cloud productivity solutions on the rise, organizations re-evaluate their technologies and the use of cloud-based solutions. Suddenly, questions arise regarding which intranet options are actually the best and how to choose between them. Cloud transformation is happening fast and research from LogicMonitor predicts that by the end of 2020 over 83% of all enterprise workloads will be on the Cloud. Google Workspace is one of the most successful cloud-based suites of applications currently available. With Google Workspace, there come also several cloud-based intranets that integrate with Google seamlessly.
Why choosing the best intranet software is important
“Today, work has changed,” writes ICT consultancy Noovle. “A company’s human capital frequently needs to operate on the move, and therefore needs to access information from different devices, from cell phones, tablets or laptops… Working with better communication and business collaboration is a determining factor for success, for offering customers higher quality service and ultimately for remaining competitive on the market.”
That’s why you need to research the best intranet options for your organization by asking the right questions. Before jumping into Google Workspace and the best Google intranet software, let’s start at the beginning and consider the different intranet categories.
Evaluating four intranet options
There are several intranet options available and choosing the right one can be difficult, especially if you are new to intranets. Any selection process should start with the question of what your employees need and what your organization's priorities are. After answering these two questions you can decide on the intranet category. Most intranet options will fall into one of these four categories:
Option 1: On-premise intranet
With an on-premise intranet, organizations buy the software and own it. It is installed on the organization's servers and fulfils the business needs. This means that organizations need to host the intranet in their own data center and are responsible for all the associated costs and responsibilities, including purchasing the hardware and other infrastructure, installing, testing, and deploying the software, and maintaining and securing it.
Option 2: Cloud-based intranet
You may have already wondered what a cloud-based intranet is. Cloud-based intranets are a good alternative to on-premise intranet software. For cloud intranet sites, data is stored on a distributed cloud server, most likely at a large data center owned by providers like Google or Microsoft. The provider hosts, manages and maintains the intranet software and the user pays for the licensing fee. With data stored in the cloud, organizations can access their data at any time and from anywhere in the world. Due to the easy set-up and maintenance as well as good pricing and packages, the majority of organizations today use fully or partially cloud-based intranets.
There are many cloud-based intranet software. Google intranets are the recommended cloud-based intranets. They deeply integrate with Google Workspace to create a complete, connected, and collaborative workplace. Using Google intranet software will boost your employees' engagement and organization's productivity.
Option 3: Free and open-source software intranet
Some organizations decide to build their own intranet solution, because these are free intranet options, by using open-source software as a foundation. Open-source software is mostly developed as a public collaboration and made freely available. Organizations value the quality, freedom to make changes, and durability. However, it also comes with high costs of ownership and it requires a lot of support and many services.
Option 4: Custom-built intranet
A custom-built intranet is tailor-made just for a particular organization – from coding, testing, validating, training, and deploying to implementing. Because the intranet is made by order, the price is very high. Custom built intranets are no intranet options for small businesses but are only recommended for very big organizations.
Choosing the best Google Workspace intranet option
If you decide on a cloud-based intranet and continue your research, you will read about Google Workspace and Google intranet. If you already are one of the Google Workspace users and want to make the best out of it, then you know very soon that a Google intranet is your best option. There are plenty of Google intranet providers you can choose from that seamlessly integrate with Google. Google intranets are built to improve communication, collaboration, and productivity. But your intranet needs to not only enable the team collaboration native to Google apps for business but also to support your Internal Communications employee engagement and culture-building strategy. To help you in the decision-making process to find your best intranet option for Google Workspace, we summarized 8 helpful questions that you should consider.
8 questions to ask when choosing the best intranet for Google Workspace
Consider: the mechanics and infrastructure of a Google intranet software
Question 1: Does your preferred intranet option integrate with Google Workspace?
Yes, OK, this is a really obvious first question – but it’s essential nonetheless. Your company runs on Google apps for business, so the most important question to ask first up is whether an intranet software can work with that. You want to ensure your intranet provider enables collaboration from within the portal itself, not forcing employees to leave the ecosystem to open up other tools.
Communication doesn’t and shouldn’t happen in a silo. When colleagues are discussing projects in a channel or with instant messaging software, you want them to be able to open up the file and work on it natively, in the intranet software itself. You want the intranet to not just be the home page, but to be the frame around every task. Only a Google intranet software that's deeply integrated with Google Workspace can achieve this.
Question 2: Do you want an intranet, a social intranet, or a digital workplace?
Another important factor to settle early on. Your intranet software isn’t there for its own sake; it’s there to solve challenges and problems, like poor communication or working in silos. But there is no one intranet software to rule them all, so consider if you need:
A traditional intranet – a home for static information like a single blog post or an embedded image of an organization chart.
An Enterprise Social Network (ESN) – like the social networks you know and love, but accessible only by your company and its employees.
A digital workspace – all of the above, plus a productivity suite, usually through an all-encompassing tool with integrations; some Google intranet software falls here too.
More and more companies are opting for the latter two and bringing the digital workplace and social intranet into reality. This works especially well where there are a lot of remote workers, or where teams are dispersed across geographies and timezones.
Question 3: How mobile and responsive is your preferred intranet option?
Your intranet software is essential to getting your employees talking and collaborating, so why would you force them to do that only while deskbound? When looking for the best intranet for Google Workspace organizations, you need to consider how your workforce will be accessing it. At the very least, you want to ensure they can access the intranet when out of the office; more than that, though, think about the devices on which they’ll access the intranet. Your Google intranet should be responsive – it should be so easy to use that it adapts to the size of the screen it’s viewed on.
Question 4: Will it be cloud-based intranet or on-premises intranet?
And herein lies the IT team’s purview: in times of old, any intranet software would’ve been housed on company premises, somewhere in a dark, cold room full of servers that only IT was allowed to go into. But the advent of cloud-based intranets and integrations has negated the need for all that infrastructure; instead, the CTO can save money and office space by opting to put the company in the cloud.
That said, not all companies have moved to the cloud, with some CTOs citing security and data protection as the reason for kicking it old school. If your CTO is one of them, a Google intranet won’t work for you. That said, if they’ve already introduced the company to Google Workspace, then they’re already on board with a cloud-based Google intranet. No-brainer, huh?
Question 5: How future-proof is your preferred intranet option?
The final, no less important infrastructure question relates to updates and budget: make sure you choose an intranet software that doesn’t just work for today. When working with Software as a Service (SaaS), which is the case with Google Workspace and its accompanying intranet options, you’ll likely be tied into a multi-year contract. This means you want to not just analyze current needs, but also what updates you may need in the next five to 10 years. Try to anticipate future challenges, consider the best intranet for Google, and find a vendor that is willing to work with you in a partnership to address those needs yet to come.
Consider: the use case for the best intranet for Google Workspace
Question 6: How will your employees use your intranet?
No one likes a white elephant, and technology that doesn’t get used can be some of the loneliest white elephants ever spotted in the wild. While there are plenty of ways you can encourage and drive greater intranet adoption and usage of your Google intranet, if people don’t like using it there’s no way you can move the needle significantly.
Ask yourself how your employees will be using Google Workspace intranet: what tasks will they need to perform? How will they log on and access it? What will be the essential areas you want them accessing regularly? Then ask yourself how user-friendly your preferred intranet option is: how easy is it to navigate? Are important tools hidden behind multiple clicks? How will they access their productivity and collaboration tools? It’s the users that matter at the end of the day, so make sure they remain top of mind when analyzing intranet options.
Question 7: What analytics are available?
You’re opting for Google intranet software because you want to improve employee engagement in your workforce, maybe even boost morale and invest in the company culture. All of these things are measurable with Google Workspace. Question whether your preferred option has a solid analytics dashboard that grants meaningful insight into your company’s levels of engagement, and how easy it will be to report on those insights. Only when you can spot trends and drill down into employee engagement and usage rates will you know if you choose the best intranet for Google Workspace and your workforce.
Question 8: How noisy do you anticipate communications will get?
If all things go according to plan, your Google intranet software will be so popular you could get lost in all the conversation and collaboration. That’s a great thing – sort of. In reality, if everyone talks at once it gets very noisy, and very hard to identify what is important to you as an individual.
The best Google intranet will enable channeled Internal Communications, a way to denote a space for discussion about specific topics – from the latest bid work to Friday drinks sessions – and let them grow organically. Channeling conversation isn’t stifling it; rather, it will enable the conversation to flourish in relevant and meaningful ways.
Consider Happeo: The best intranet software provider
Naturally, this is where we tell you Happeo’s social intranet software and unified digital workplace is the best intranet for Google Workspace. Yes, we’re biased, but we really believe it, too.
We know that a modern organization relies on many tools to stay productive, and so we built an intranet software, enterprise social network, and collaboration platform in one to help you to engage employees and inform and connect your global workforce.
Everything we’ve said you should ask about the best intranet for Google Workspace is something we do natively or through a cloud-based integration. We’re all about adding simplicity to the digital workplace, connecting the unconnectable, and building collaborative and innovative company cultures.
One reviewer on Capterra says: “We're using Happeo to bring departments closer together, align them and establish a knowledge exchange throughout the whole company. It's our internal community platform, but without the noise that other platforms may have.”
Schedule a free demo and bring your questions about a Google intranet; we’ll show you why Happeo is the best intranet for Google Workspace organizations.