Digital Workplace Insights

What does an Intranet cost?

So, you’ve been informed that ‘we have this much to spend’ on a new Intranet. At first it might sound like a lot, or maybe it sounds like nothing will happen for that budget. Alternatively, no one knows what is the appropriate amount to spend to get what we want. So, what does an Intranet cost?

It’s a bit like asking ‘how much will an all-expenses paid vacation cost?’ So, where are you going on vacation? Can you drive there, or do you have to fly there? How long are you staying? Are you sleeping in a tent on a beach, or in a pampered resort in the mountains? The cost of an Intranet can feel like an unplanned vacation.

There’s no universal Intranet pricing standard that vendors follow. Each product has its own unique functions and vendors will price their solutions accordingly. Perhaps the only pricing dimension you’ll be able to find in common is the ‘per seat’ or ‘per author’ cost.

Most software is licensed on how many people will use it. For example, if you can communicate to a vendor that you have ‘200 users’, then you’ll quickly get a firm price for what it costs to license the Intranet for your organization.

Services

Some Intranet products are offered as an out-of-the-box solution, thus minimizing the necessity for procuring services to establish the Intranet. Other Intranet products are just platforms that require a lot of heavy lifting in the form of services to get the platform to do anything meaningful. There are also platforms that offer a hybrid model where the out-of-the-box offering can be extended or customized to meet your bespoke business requirements.

The services cost of the typical Intranet can result in the most expensive part of the proposal. Most organizations will select a provider who will propose an off-the-shelf solution. There will be licensing costs and services costs. Some providers will take a margin of the licensing cost as an incentive for them to offer the off-the-shelf solution. Their services costs will cover deliverables like software implementation, template configuration, content population, security configuration and training. This is not a comprehensive list of services, but will give you an insight into some of the aspects that come with deploying an Intranet.

The most expensive part of an Intranet project can be the content itself. An Intranet is an empty vessel. It requires your content to become valuable. Who will create the content for the new Intranet? Will you be migrating large volumes of content from an existing Intranet into the new Intranet? Who will define the content map, sourcing of all the content, organizing all of it into a single location and then passing the content through a cleansing process? Only you will know your own content, so you’ll need to determine how much time will be required to perform this task and what time that will cost your organization.

There’s no universal Intranet pricing standard that vendors follow. Each product has its own unique functions and vendors will price their solutions accordingly. Perhaps the only pricing dimension you’ll be able to find in common is the ‘per seat’ or ‘per author’ cost.

SaaS versus On-premise

Intranet solutions are delivered in two distinct ways. One is Software as a Service (SaaS), or as a traditional on premise installation. The SaaS delivery, or Cloud based approach, will mean you will rent the Intranet software from the vendor through a monthly or annual subscription.

The more traditional on premise model will require your organization to provide server infrastructure for the vendor to install their Intranet software onto a server within your environment. In most cases, you’ll purchase the solution on an annual basis under this arrangement.

Both models are common, but one choice over the other can change your cost of acquisition. Generally, a SaaS based Intranet provides the most cost efficient approach, but comes with some flexibility drawbacks. An on-premise deployment provides the most flexibility, but isn’t as efficient as a SaaS offering due to the maintenance costs of managing your own internal server.

Your personal choice will be based on a combination of price, flexibility and features. There is no wrong solution if budget drives your decision.

Support

The cost of support will be relative to the size of your organization, and how many end users may require support in their use of the new Intranet.

Most vendors will offer a baseline support arrangement. If something major happens, they’ll work with you to resolve it as quickly as possible. From that point there is usually a sliding scale in how close a vendor will make themselves available. Naturally the lighter the support fee, the greater the time a vendor will take to respond to your requests for help and solve issues.

It goes without saying that the larger the organization, the more important support becomes and that a healthy investment in a dedicated support plan will define the continuity of service for the enterprise.

An Intranet pricing calculator

The following is aimed to provide you with a high-level guide in understanding Intranet software pricing dimensions, based on the size of your organization. This is far from a comprehensive pricing matrix, but will assist you in considering the different pricing levels when engaging with Intranet vendors.

Micro to Small

In this example, the size of a micro to small organization is typically less than one hundred people. Typically, an Intranet project budget will range between $8,000 and $20,000 with an ongoing per annum fee being a percentage of the project cost.

Small to Medium

A small to medium organization supports between one hundred and one thousand people, and project budgets will range anywhere from between $15,000 to $50,000 depending on the licensing fees, personalized services, dedicated support and variations in how the solution will be hosted and maintained.

Medium to Enterprise

The medium to enterprise organization operates with between one thousand and five thousand people and budgets quickly range from $50,000 to $250,000+ with the licensing fees being a primary component of the pricing structure. Many vendors offer a ‘per seat’ licensing model. As an example, if you have two thousand people in your company, and the Intranet licensing is $5 per user, per month, then the licensing fee will be 2,000 x 5 x 12 = $120,000 per annum.

Enterprise

With more than five thousand people, most Intranet projects require investigation and scoping and result in custom pricing proposals. The primary difference between fifty people and five thousand people is the security and delivery of data and content. Projects at this scale require more comprehensive planning and implementation and typically result in implementation timeframes of months through to even years.

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