In the past, only large companies had an intranet. Nowadays, in the era of hybrid and remote work models, more and more small and medium-sized companies are using such tools to communicate with their employees worldwide and at any time. In this article, we will show you what an intranet is, what types of intranets there are and what are the 4 best corporate or social intranet software solutions on the market. And most importantly, what benefits you can get from an Intranet for your company.
What is an intranet?
Corporate intranets are private, internal networks within the company. With such software solutions, you can communicate and collaborate - tailored to the needs of individual departments, teams, or the entire company. In times when open communication and flat hierarchies are becoming the norm, the intranet (inter-software) is becoming increasingly important. In the past, an intranet was primarily used for announcing information from management positions. In other words, there is a difference between traditional intranet software and social intranet software.
The focus is on social
Modern intranet solutions therefore focus on social functions and include elements of social media platforms. In addition to classic top-down communication, all employees can communicate with each other on the social intranet, publish contributions and comments, network and share files. In this sense, a corporate social intranet is basically like LinkedIn or Facebook.
The basic idea behind an intranet is that employees always have direct contact with your company, thus establishing a deeper sense of belonging.
One of the most important aspects is communication and the provision of important information. Of course, every employee should also be made aware of the intranet during onboarding, create a profile, and network within the company.
Requirements and purpose
What the intranet is ultimately used for depends on what your company's requirements are. Simply put, should it only be used to communicate important information or to strengthen a sense of belonging?
In any case, an intranet has not only positive internal effects, but also external ones. Consistent branding and targeted communication convey a common set of values and thus strengthen the entire corporate image, both internally and externally.
Corporate and Social Intranet offers you these functions and features
Social intranets offer a wide range of functions, features, and customization options. And they can be tailored to your company's specific needs. Before you decide which provider to go with, make sure you've determined exactly what you want your intranet to be able to do and what you don't want it to be able to do. Below you will find a list of common features of corporate intranet solutions.
- Single sign-on with Google (or similar) to other tools used.
- Accounts and personal profile for all employees.
- Encrypted permissions and access management (a plus for your IT & Compliance department).
- Chat function and Integrations to Slack, Microsoft Teams and co.
- The division into business units and departments. Even Spaces for individual teams are configurable.
- Newsfeed with all relevant information of the C-Suite or Executive level.
- Newsfeed from and for all employees.
- Social media features like a comment function, like and share button.
- Provision of important information for and by teams: For the sustainable provision, of know-how/knowledge (More about this in our Webinar) via a Knowledge database in the form of wikis and blogs.
- Sharing documents and other files.
- Access to an employee database that allows anyone to find the right expert or contact person.
- Access for external employees and customers in the form of an extranet (closed area on the intranet).
- Interfaces to other, external tools such as Slack, HubSpot (CRM), or Google Workspace (+ many others). This makes your intranet the digital hub of your company.
- Time tracking for projects or employees.
SaaS, on-premise or in the cloud?
You're spoilt for choice; that's how it is when you're looking for intranet solutions. But that's not all, the requirements of your company determine which type of infrastructure is suitable for you.
You can choose between SaaS (Software as a Service), on-premise (on your own server - in-house), or in the cloud at AWS and Azure.
The last two are more complex in terms of configuration, administration, and maintenance. Often, the costs here can even be higher than for modern intranet SaaS solutions. Here, you have to reckon with costs in terms of hosting, server infrastructure, and personnel. The big advantage: Your data stays with you in the company and does not end up on unknown servers. DSGVO and data protection and compliance regulations are more easily achieved here. But even here there are exceptions (Confluence Intranet with Linchpin).
If you choose SaaS solutions, on the other hand, the provider usually takes care of everything. However, you should first make sure that the security regulations are adhered to. Not all providers are DSGVO-compliant here.
The 4 best social and corporate intranet software solutions on the market
Remember, there are many intranet software solutions on the market. In the end, your company's requirements determine which solution is the right one. So it's important to know what your company's goals are. In our corporate intranet comparison, you will find a detailed list of social and corporate intranet solutions.
Confluence Intranet from Linchpin and Atlassian
Confluence is actually more of a collaboration and wiki platform than an intranet. But with the Linchpin app, the software becomes a true all-rounder. This bundle is already used by a large number of customers worldwide. It doesn't matter if your company has "only" 100 or 50,000 employees and is distributed worldwide.
Linchpin and Confluence have the advantage of being modularly tailored to a wide variety of requirements and cover pretty much all of the functions and features mentioned above.
In addition, this type of solution is available for both the data center and cloud solutions. This means you always have full control over your company data and meet current compliance and security regulations.
The intranet solution can also be easily adapted to your brand and therefore offers the option of communicating your company's identity continuously. Through a sophisticated authorization and access management, individual intranet areas can be made accessible only to certain user groups.
Furthermore, the solution includes an app for all common mobile operating systems such as iOS or Android.
A big plus point with Confluence is the Atlassian Marketplacewhere you can find countless integrations, extensions, and apps that extend your system with important functions. The Atlassian Community also helps you with all your questions.
The costs for Confluence and Linchpin depend on the number of active users. Only the basic version with 10 users is free in the cloud version (hosted by Atlassian via AWS). Linchpin is currently only available for data centers. A cloud version is in the works.
Confluence is divided into the Cloud and Data Center variants. Where the Cloud is already available for teams of 10 - 30,000 users, Confluence Data Center is suitable for companies with 500 or more employees. Costs for Confluence Data Center start at 27,000 USD. However, this does not include the necessary server infrastructure. The cloud, on the other hand, is free for 10 users and increases depending on the user tier. For 500 employees, the costs range between 20,000 USD and 36,000 USD.
In addition to the actual system costs, you will also have to pay for Linchpin.
Success Story - Social Intranet B/S/H/
With Staffbase you can bring all your employees together - anywhere, anytime, and on any device. With their cloud solution, your intranet can be accessed from smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers. The advantage: a consistent user experience across all devices!
The design of the app and intranet is fully customizable. So you can easily set up multiple sections and distribute them to different audiences - or work locations - within your organization.
Staffbase, the German company that is developing an online intranet solution with the name "Staffbase", is already working with well-known companies like Aldi Süd, Viessmann, and DHL. The company provides personalized service for each of its partners. This means that each company is offered a special offer based on their individual needs and requirements. Staffbase also offers support services, such as training and consulting, to help businesses improve their internal communication flows.
Everyone has probably come into contact with SharePoint. The software helps companies share information and collaborate seamlessly on the go. It enables teams not only to exchange information but also to share files and other documents and to get the latest information about the company via top-down communication.
SharePoint also offers the option to create separate areas for each team and customize them according to your needs. With the help of apps and extensions, you can also expand the range of functions. As one of the first corporate intranet solutions ever, there is also a strong community that helps you get the most out of the solution.
If your company already uses Office 365 in the Business or Enterprise variant, you can use SharePoint free of charge. For all other interested parties, the lowest rate starts at EUR 4.20 for Plan 1 or EUR 8.40 for Plan 2 per user. As a complete package with Office 365, you will pay 22.60 EUR per user.
Jive's social intranet software is designed to increase the productivity of your employees with the help of a knowledge base and real-time communication. The software works both as a desktop version and as an app. You also have an integrated collaborative CRM and can create and send newsletters internally. So that you don't have to constantly switch between different programs, Jive integrates numerous applications.
The best thing about Jive, however, is its ease of use. The software makes it easy for your employees to collaborate by, among other things, allowing them to create their own internal blogs where they can write about their current projects or exchange ideas with their colleagues. You can also share information on a central platform and keep track of all important data in real-time.
This way, your employees always have access to all relevant information to make decisions faster, solve problems more efficiently and thus increase the productivity of your company.
Similar to Staffbase, you have to send a request to Jive to get a quote.
Learn more here: Jive.
One factor you need to consider with almost all social or corporate intranet solutions is the necessary configuration. Depending on the infrastructure you end up using, maintenance and technical support are also not to be neglected. External support is necessary in most cases. As an intranet solution partner, we take care of the configuration and maintenance of your Confluence intranet. Get to know us.