Choosing a new intranet platform takes a lot of work.
First, you conduct a thorough intranet needs analysis to figure out what you’re looking for. You’ll distill these into a list of priorities, and start comparing the different platforms available within your budget. Eventually — if you’ve done things right — you’ll land on the solution that best matches the needs of your organization. Phew.
But here’s the thing: organizations change. And the intranet you choose needs to be able to adapt to those changes — otherwise, you’ll be right back where you started in just a few years’ time.
In this post, we’ll discuss 8 key considerations to keep in mind when you’re looking for a scalable intranet solution, so you can ensure your intranet will still be working for you years from now.
What do we mean by scalability?
When your intranet is scalable, it will be able to quickly adapt to the changing needs of your business. Need to add an extra feature? No problem. Just onboarded another 100 employees and need to set up intranet access? A scalable intranet solution makes this easy.
Put simply, a truly scalable intranet should flex and grow as your organization does. It should work just as well for a small, early-stage startup as for a large, multinational business with thousands of employees.
Why is intranet scalability important?
We constantly hear stories of the world’s biggest companies getting off the ground in their founders’ garages. But imagine if they were still working out of these spaces — tripping over paint cans and avoiding the damp patch in the corner — as their headcount approached triple figures.
Your company intranet is no different. The solution you chose as a small startup with just a handful of employees simply won’t work as your organization grows — unless it’s built to be scalable.
Sure, you could start the whole process of choosing and launching an intranet again once you outgrow your current one — but why would you want to? By choosing a scalable intranet solution from the get-go, you can ensure it will still meet your needs years from now — even when your organization looks very different.
Key considerations for a scalable intranet
So, what does a scalable intranet actually look like? Here are 8 considerations to keep in mind when you’re choosing a solution:
Many providers price their products on a per-user basis, which means that larger organizations may pay less for each employee. However, depending on the provider you choose, you could be stung by a higher overall cost if the number of employees you have falls at the top end of a price bracket. When you’re costing up your intranet, be sure to check out what the price will look like at different headcounts.
The physical infrastructure that your intranet sits on will also need to be capable of scaling — which looks different depending on whether you’re using a self-hosted, on-premise intranet or a cloud-based one.
With an on-prem intranet, scaling your infrastructure will likely mean adding new hardware and increasing tech support. This can be expensive and could result in downtime while your solution is upgraded.
Cloud-based solutions, on the other hand, are built to be scalable. This means it’s much easier to add more server space, users, and functionality as your organization needs them.
In a small organization, it might be no problem to give everyone the same intranet access and allow them to post content, share files, and distribute information as they see fit. But this can quickly get out of hand in a larger company.
A scalable intranet should come with the access controls and permissions that you need to keep everything running smoothly in a large organization — while avoiding intranet clutter.
Flexible feature set
As your organization grows, the intranet features you need will probably change — and the best solutions will allow you to add new features as you need them. Here are some features you might want to think about as your company grows:
As an organization scales, the amount of information it needs to keep track of grows too. Proper knowledge management features like secure storage and lifecycle management can help you keep things in order.
One of the most important features for a scaling company is a search engine that allows you to search multiple applications simultaneously. Otherwise, your team will just end up wasting time.
In a small organization, everyone knows everyone — but that gets much harder as the company grows. An employee directory can help your employees to keep track of who their colleagues are, and how everyone fits together.
Manually setting permissions and access rights can become a headache as your business grows. A scalable intranet will allow you to automate these processes.
Your intranet should allow you to adapt your internal comms for your new, larger workforce, through features like departmental channels and targeted news and announcements that get through to the right people.
The workplace tools your employees use now might not necessarily be the ones they’ll be using in the future. You should ensure your intranet supports integrations with as many of the most popular workplace tools as possible, not just the ones you’re using right now.
A good place to start is to find a solution that integrates with Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace since most organizations use one or the other.
The most scalable intranets are the most customizable. Solutions that grant you access to their API are the best choice because this allows you to build your own integrations when they don’t already exist. This way, you can ensure your internet works with every tool your employees need.
You need to be sure that your intranet security won’t be compromised even as its infrastructure expands and more people have access to it. This means ensuring that your data is securely stored and that permissions are stringently controlled.
Another important consideration is avoiding “shadow IT”, which is when employees use tools that aren’t approved by the company. This can represent a security risk — but it’s one that a lot of employees will take if the tools you provide aren’t up to scratch. You can avoid this situation by ensuring that your intranet scales with your company and continues to provide the functionality your employees need.
As your intranet gets bigger, there’ll be more people using the platform, more integrations to manage, more features, and more things to go wrong.
But if you chose your intranet provider when your company was much smaller, they might not have the capacity to provide the technical support you need as you grow. It’s important to verify that your provider also supports larger companies so that you know they’ll be equipped to help you in the future.
It’s also important to remember that the bigger your company is, the more you stand to lose if your intranet goes down — even just for a few minutes. Look for companies (like Happeo) with high uptime SLAs to guarantee that your intranet will always be available.
Scale confidently with Happeo
Times of rapid growth are exciting — but they can also be stressful. Don’t let an old and unsuitable intranet add to your anxiety.
Happeo is a scalable intranet solution that works for anything from small startups to global enterprises with headcounts in the thousands. Happeo’s cloud-based solution is easy to scale without requiring extra server room or tech support. And you can always adjust your solution by adding extra integrations, features, and add-ons, as and when you need them.
Want to learn more about Happeo’s scalable intranet platform? Request a free demo to get started.