Pivoting the Intranets

by Shaji Sethu |

I recently came across an interesting article from James Robertson at Step 2 design titled “The SharePoint marketplace is undergoing a huge pivot (and its great news for intranets)”. Thank you James for mentioning Oakton’s Digital Workplace as a Service in the article.

Oakton has been in the game of designing and implementing intranets and portals for nearly 25 years and we have done this successfully on multiple platforms ranging from Microsoft SharePoint, Oracle Web Centre, IBM WebSphere, Sitecore and so on. Historically, the bulk of our work has been on custom development of intranets. Over time we noticed that customers had started asking for a different experience. They wanted pre-built solutions that could be tailored to their organisation’s need. They wanted solutions that do not require an army of internal support people to maintain. As our clients are not in the business of software development and support; they just want it as a predictable consumption based service.

Seeing this need we developed a cloud based product called Digital Workplace as a Service which is based on Microsoft’s SharePoint platform. This is exactly the pivot James talks about in his article. Needless to say we agree with James assertion that “Within 1-2 years, the #SharePoint #intranet marketplace will shift from 90% custom-coded solutions, to 80-90% out-of-the-box intranet products running on SharePoint as a platform.” We are seeing a similar trend with vendors such as Microsoft who are asking partners to bring “First party IP” to their cloud platform such as Azure and Office 365 to drive take-up.

Having said this there is a small difference of opinion with James’s article mainly around the role of the intranet. We are seeing that role of intranets are changing rapidly from a Corporate Communication tool to an employee engagement platform. In this model organisations are looking for more rounded capability from the platform and a seamless experience. These thoughts are elegantly capture in Dion Hinchcliffe of ZDNet titled “Social intranets: Enterprises grapple with internal change”. Dion’s maturity model is outlined in the picture.


The other factor outside of cost which is driving the adoption of ‘out of the box’ intranet products over custom intranet builds is speed. Recently Nielsen Norman group published 10 best intranets of 2016 awards globally. The report showed it still takes organisations on an average 1.3 years to create good intranets. This is a long time in any business and in today’s rapidly changing market place business is demanding a rapid turnaround. This only further emphasises the benefits that can be realized by adopting an out-of-box intranet solution which provides quicker time-to-value for Sharepoint based collaboration solutions.


Our whole emphasis around Digital Workplace as a services is “in weeks not months or years” and consumptive service that scales up or down based on our customer’s needs.

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