Creating an Intranet for your Law Firm or Business – Top Recommendations

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We were recently asked to do some research into an intranet. We have created custom intranets in the past for our clients, assisted in buying out of the box intranets, and recommended hosted models. We thought it would be a good time to update our research files.

As it stands now, we are recommending that we create WordPress intranets. We fell in love with WordPress awhile ago and it still is a very cost effective way to creating a content platform, whether it is a blog, a web site, an e-commerce store, or even an intranet.

You can install WP in 15 minutes and install about 5 to 10 plugins in another hour. From there, it just needs to be styled to match the firm identity. You can have a working intranet running, yours to keep, in less than a day; pretty easy and cost-efficient for most businesses.

If you don’t want to go the WordPress route, then there are good resources too. Other vendors include Sharepoint, ThoughtFarmer, Backpack, Vialect, Google Apps, and Intranet Dashboard.

For instance, if you don’t have time to setup WordPress, then there are a variety of hosted models ready to go. For hosted models, check out Backpack. For a one-time model that does offer ongoing support additional, then checkout ThoughtFarmer.com (nice design of a site).

I am biased against ongoing support though for software, so you will see that listed as a general con in the article. I am also biased against services that cost above $1,500 for an intranet, as we can probably get an entire WP installed, customized, and trained for that cost.

The info below is our quick notes, pricing and other info.

Intranet Software

  • WordPresshttp://www.wordpress.org
    • Costs – WordPress is free, open source software. Your cost is the time to hire a team to install, modify, theme and train.
    • Pros – Open Source, Free, Flexible, Tons of features.
    • Cons – None, other than WP has to be upgraded from time to time.
  • Sharepoint (Leased) – http://www.getsharepoint.com
    • Costs – 1 to 10 users is $240 / 11 to 50 users is $390
    • Pros – Sharepoint leased service. Setup for you and has tons of features.
    • Cons – Ongoing subscription based service.
  • ThoughtFarmer.com – http://www.thoughtfarmer.com
    • Costs -”  $109 per user
    • Pros – Many features. Web 2.0. Style. Support in year 2 is separate, but not required.
    • Cons – Non
  • Internet Dashboard – http://www.intranetdashboard.com
    • Costs – ” $1,200 to $1,600 (getting official number from company email)
    • Pros – Single install with lots of tools.
    • Cons – None, other than costs, which are not confirmed yet.
  • Google – https://apps.google.com/ 
    • Costs – ” Free
    • Pros – Free, lots of features and applications
    • Cons – Different applications, no central area to manage all information. Requires ability to use / install all features.

Typical Requirements from our Clienst

  • Announcements
  • News
  • Search
  • File Upload, Documents and Organization.
  • Frequently asked questions.
  • Links to Resources
  • How-to manuals, software help articles and/or end user training information
  • Staff directory with pictures, cell phone and other contact information
  • Employee manual” and policies and procedure manual
  • Ability to” access this from any location
  • Staff profiles/bios
  • Firm wide calendar with marketing events, birthdays, etc.
  • Firm newsletter
  • Press Releases
  • Local lunch and catering menus
  • Birthdays
  • Secure Directory

Final Notes

If you know of a good Intranet, feel free to leave a comment. We are always on the look-out for good solutions to offer to our clients.

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