Custom SharePoint Intranet vs Off-the-Shelf Intranet


What’s The Difference & Which One Is the Best for Your Business?

The strong configurable possibilities of SharePoint have already made it the most preferred platform when it comes to building a corporate intranet. SharePoint is primarily used for document management and storage, but it has matured to the point where it can be used as a full-fledged corporate portal for businesses. SharePoint may now be used by colleagues as a central location to communicate, share documents, and collaborate.

Custom SharePoint intranets have been out for a long time and are used by many medium and big enterprises. However, with the rise of cloud technology, a new player has emerged i.e., the ready-to-use or off-the-shelf intranet solution. The advantages and disadvantages of both systems will be discussed in this blog post. Both the intranet types are compared on the basis of 5 major factors which include Cost, Deployment Speed, Productivity & Performance, Flexibility, and last but not least Maintenance & Updates. We hope that the following comparison will help you find the best solution for your enterprise.

1. Deployment Speed

Let’s start with deployment speed. And we must say that a ready-made intranet solution is a clear winner here. Installing a ready-made intranet solution takes less time to install and requires less maintenance as well. A custom SharePoint intranet, on the other hand, could take up to 6-9 months to set up if you want all of the functionalities, tools, and features, but this time period certainly pays you off, because every single function of the intranet tool precisely meets your business requirements. Since a ready-to-go intranet has fewer custom elements, it takes much less time. In terms of deployment speed, the ready-to-use intranet comes out on top. This is definitely your best option if you need to quickly deploy your intranet so that you may start using it right away.

2. Cost

A pre-configured intranet solution is often less expensive. Formerly, building an intranet required important organizational resources and a workforce. You can buy the software as a service with a monthly subscription or as a one-time purchase if you choose a ready-to-go intranet solution. This implies you’ll save a lot of money upfront. Although you would have avoided ongoing licensing expenses if you had paid for the customization because this fee is variable and solely depends upon the number of users. You’ll save time and money on system maintenance too because you won’t have to update or fix any software glitches and bugs yourself. Another factor to consider is how much time each option will take. For a rough estimate, a company with 700 employees would take about 20 days for Analysis, 10 days for the Workshops, 50 days in Development, 2-3 days in Testing & Feedback, 20 days in Redevelopment & Adjustments, 2-3 days in Testing Retrials, 5-10 days in Employee Training and finally comes the official launching event. Depending on this estimate a customized intranet solution would cost you around US $ 65,000 to the US $110,000.

3. Productivity

Increased productivity and efficiency are the apparent reasons for picking any intranet solution. You want your employees to securely and quickly access all the data shared with them so that they perform their routine work without any interruption. You expect your employees to adopt the new technology and take full advantage of everything the intranet solution has to offer.

When you choose a ready-to-use solution, you will be receiving a product that’s been designed to meet the specifications and requirements of a variety of other businesses at the same time. Packaged or ready-made intranet solutions offer the advantage of having been tested and validated by thousands of users. One of the needs that every firm has is the speed of user adoption and friendliness. You can save both money and time by using a ready-to-use intranet.

You can focus on your main business instead of wasting time adapting to and learning new technology if you choose a ready-to-use intranet. Employees will accept technology more quickly, requiring less time for advanced training.

Custom SharePoint intranet solutions, on the other hand, are not necessarily as user-friendly as they appear. They must be evolved over time to meet the unique requirements of your company and require specialized SharePoint Development Companies to develop, deploy and maintain solutions.

While a well-designed customized SharePoint intranet can be incredibly useful, it must be tested extensively before its efficacy can be guaranteed. And though Microsoft is now in a good place (considering the dreadful user experience of SharePoint which has vastly improved with the release of MS Office 365 and SharePoint 2016), the corporate entities prefer to focus on new technologies over improving existing ones. That is why, for example, modern communication sites will not soon replace the ready-to-use intranet.

4. Flexibility

This is one of the areas where a custom SharePoint intranet excels. Intranet solutions that are ready-to-use are tried and true tools that work for most enterprises. Obviously, they weren’t created with your unique needs in mind. For example, you can modify the color schemes and add your company logo to the design, however, the basic layout, feel, interface and look are hard to modify.

A completely customizable intranet has its advantages, but you must keep in mind that it will take more time, effort, and money to ensure that your platform can keep pace with the challenges of changing industries and rapidly evolving technologies.

5. Maintenance & Updates

Choosing a prepackaged intranet is the same as selecting an intranet as a service. It implies that you are paying for the entire bundle. Your intranet will be (mainly) hosted in the cloud and will be automatically maintained and updated. Custom SharePoint intranets, on the other hand, must be maintained and edited by on-site workers, which means your employees or hired specialists will be responsible for updates and maintenance. We frequently observe out-of-date systems as a result of a lack of innovation. Upgrades to newer SharePoint versions should be approached with caution because they may break all customizations.


You have an option. As a business owner, you must select the appropriate solution to meet your specific requirements. You must weigh the benefits and drawbacks in terms of system efficiency and time/money spent. A ready-to-use intranet can provide your company with a number of benefits, including improved speed, better employee engagement, lower expenses, and less time and money spent on maintenance. As a result, it is the best option for many organizations.

As a result, experts anticipate that during the next 1-2 years, the focus will shift from primarily bespoke solutions to out-of-the-box solutions, which will be adopted by 80-90 percent of enterprises. Why? Because out-of-the-box solutions still meet 80-100 percent of corporate business demands, they are still in their infancy.