Custom Intranet Development: How to Get Started
With the increasing need for efficient communication and collaboration within organizations, custom intranet development has become a popular choice. SharePoint, a powerful platform developed by Microsoft, offers a wide range of features and functionalities to create a customized intranet solution tailored to the specific needs of an organization.
The Benefits of SharePoint Intranet
Before diving into the process of custom intranet development, it is important to understand the benefits of using SharePoint as the platform for your intranet solution.
1. Centralized Information
SharePoint allows you to centralize all your organization’s information in one place. This makes it easier for employees to access and share important documents, files, and resources.
2. Improved Collaboration
SharePoint provides a collaborative environment where employees can work together on projects, share ideas, and communicate effectively. Features like document co-authoring, version control, and real-time editing enhance collaboration within teams.
3. Customizable Design
SharePoint offers a wide range of customization options, allowing you to create a visually appealing and user-friendly intranet design. You can customize the layout, colors, branding, and navigation to match your organization’s branding and style.
4. Integration with Other Microsoft Tools
SharePoint seamlessly integrates with other Microsoft tools like Outlook, Teams, and Office 365. This integration enhances productivity and streamlines workflows by providing a unified platform for all your organization’s tools and applications.
5. Security and Permissions
SharePoint provides robust security features to protect your organization’s sensitive data. You can set permissions and access controls to ensure that only authorized users have access to specific documents and information.
Choosing the Right SharePoint Development Agency
When embarking on a custom intranet development project, it is crucial to choose the right SharePoint development agency. Here are some factors to consider:
1. Experience and Expertise
Look for a SharePoint development agency with a proven track record and extensive experience in developing intranet solutions. They should have a deep understanding of SharePoint’s capabilities and be able to provide innovative solutions to meet your organization’s unique requirements.
2. Portfolio and References
Review the agency’s portfolio and ask for references from their previous clients. This will give you an idea of their past projects and the quality of their work. Reach out to their references to get feedback on their experience working with the agency.
3. Collaboration and Communication
Effective collaboration and communication are essential for the success of your custom intranet development project. Choose an agency that values open communication, understands your goals, and keeps you involved throughout the development process.
4. Support and Maintenance
Ensure that the SharePoint development agency offers ongoing support and maintenance services. This will ensure that your intranet solution remains up-to-date, secure, and optimized for performance even after the initial development phase.
5. Cost and Timeline
Discuss the cost and timeline of the project with the SharePoint development agency. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the pricing structure and the estimated timeline for the development and deployment of your custom intranet solution.
The Process of Custom Intranet Development
Once you have chosen the right SharePoint development agency, it’s time to kickstart the custom intranet development process. Here are the key steps involved:
1. Requirement Gathering
The first step is to gather the requirements for your custom intranet solution. Work closely with the SharePoint development agency to define your organization’s goals, objectives, and specific needs. This will help the agency understand your requirements and propose the best solution.
2. Design and Wireframing
Based on the requirements gathered, the SharePoint development agency will create a design and wireframe for your intranet solution. This will give you a visual representation of how the intranet will look and function. Provide feedback and collaborate with the agency to refine the design.
3. Development and Customization
Once the design is finalized, the SharePoint development agency will start the development and customization process. They will configure SharePoint, create custom features and functionalities, and integrate third-party tools if required. Regular communication and feedback will be crucial during this phase.
4. Testing and Quality Assurance
Before deploying the custom intranet solution, thorough testing and quality assurance should be conducted. This ensures that the solution is free from any bugs or errors and functions as intended. The SharePoint development agency will perform various tests and address any issues that arise.
5. Deployment and Training
Once the custom intranet solution is tested and approved, it can be deployed to your organization’s SharePoint environment. The SharePoint development agency will assist with the deployment process and provide training to your employees on how to use the intranet effectively.
6. Ongoing Support and Maintenance
After the deployment, the SharePoint development agency should provide ongoing support and maintenance services. This includes monitoring the performance of the intranet, addressing any issues or bugs that arise, and keeping the solution up-to-date with the latest SharePoint updates and security patches.
Outsourcing SharePoint Development vs. In-House Development
When considering custom intranet development, organizations often face the decision of whether to outsource the development to a SharePoint development agency or handle it in-house. Here are some factors to consider:
1. Expertise and Resources
Outsourcing SharePoint development allows you to leverage the expertise and resources of a specialized agency. They have the necessary skills, experience, and tools to develop a high-quality intranet solution. In-house development requires hiring and training resources, which can be time-consuming and costly.
2. Time and Cost
Outsourcing SharePoint development can often be more cost-effective and time-efficient compared to in-house development. SharePoint development agencies have streamlined processes and can deliver the project within a defined timeline and budget. In-house development may involve unexpected delays and additional costs.
3. Focus on Core Competencies
By outsourcing SharePoint development, your organization can focus on its core competencies and strategic initiatives. You can leave the technical aspects of intranet development to the experts while your internal teams concentrate on their primary responsibilities.
4. Ongoing Support and Maintenance
SharePoint development agencies typically offer ongoing support and maintenance services, ensuring that your intranet solution remains optimized and up-to-date. In-house development may require allocating resources for ongoing support, which can be challenging for organizations with limited IT resources.
Custom intranet development using SharePoint offers numerous benefits for organizations looking to improve communication, collaboration, and productivity. By choosing the right SharePoint development agency and following a structured development process, you can create a customized intranet solution that meets your organization’s unique requirements. Whether you decide to outsource the development or handle it in-house, the key is to prioritize effective communication, collaboration, and ongoing support to ensure the success of your custom intranet solution.