Why Modern Intranets like Haystack Aren't Competing with SharePoint

Every day, our solution consultants face a recurring question: why choose Haystack over SharePoint? This question is rooted in data; a significant number of intranets operate on SharePoint according to our recent Haystack Research survey. However, this often takes us away from the more pertinent conversation.

SharePoint can complement modern intranets like Haystack since both cater to different requirements. Rather than just contrasting platform features, companies need to identify their primary concerns and decide if they'd rather build or purchase their intranet software.

Understanding Intranet Use Cases

The term "intranet" varies in meaning, but there are two dominant perspectives that we hear most often when talking with companies interested in bringing on a modern intranet;

1. Intranets for IT Professionals: IT departments, being technology facilitators, lean toward early intranets designed around knowledge management and networking. They seek a unified resource for all documents and an integration-friendly platform that emphasizes employee ease in finding resources.

2. Intranets for Internal Communication: Those in Internal Communication roles focus on amplifying employee engagement and strategic alignment. They need an intranet that acts as a "virtual headquarters", prioritizing news over document storage and providing an engaging user experience without heavy IT dependency.

Knowledge Intranets vs. Engagement Intranets

While IT departments might gravitate toward knowledge intranets focused on management, Internal Communication leans toward platforms that emphasize company culture and news. SharePoint has historically been a knowledge intranet, but it often doesn't align with engagement objectives.

The Real Debate: Build vs. Buy

SharePoint, being a modular platform, contrasts with ready-to-use intranets like Haystack (often dubbed "Intranet as a Service"). The conversation extends beyond features, delving into the practicalities of building versus buying. Evidence suggests that tailoring SharePoint for engagement needs can be both expensive and less effective due to assembly requirements, lack of optimization for engagement, prolonged deployment, and complex, costly maintenance.

Harmonizing SharePoint and Modern Intranets

Modern intranets should synchronize with SharePoint and the broader Office 365 suite. Haystack's robust integration with Microsoft products underscores this belief. Features include seamless integration with OneDrive for online file storage, connectivity with SharePoint Sites and Microsoft Teams, smooth user identity management via Active Directory, and integrated Skype for easy peer connectivity.

In Conclusion: Haystack and SharePoint

Hopefully, this helps round out Haystack's role within the context of SharePoint. If it helps, take a look at our quick overview video and compare it to your experience with SharePoint. You’ll soon notice these are completely different beasts.

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