The best intranet platforms: 2024 guide

Best Intranet Platform: 2024 Guide
If you're searching for the best intranet platform, you don't want to base your investment on a handful of anecdotes. You want a comprehensive review of the market that includes robust, independent research methodologies.

This article offers precisely that, broken down into the following sections:

An overview: Understanding intranet platforms

Let’s start by setting some parameters — what an intranet platform is (and isn’t), and why these platforms are so important in modern business operations. We’ll also explain the two main types of intranet software and some of the key features that define a modern intranet platform.

What is an intranet? Definition of intranet software

Intranet software is an application that drives a private network system (an intranet) used within a company or organization. It’s designed to serve as a centralized portal for employees to share information, collaborate on projects, and increase productivity. Much like the internet, the intranet enables users to share and view files, but with a higher level of security and privacy. Only employees and other organizational stakeholders can access the intranet, and each user is assigned specific permissions.

What are intranet platforms?

Intranet platforms are intranet software solutions that can deploy an intranet for an organization. The terms intranet platform, intranet software and intranet solution are used interchangeably throughout this article.

The advantages of using an intranet

An intranet offers many organizational advantages — starting with efficient communication, secure information exchange and improved collaboration. An intranet can also be a great tool for onboarding, training, shaping corporate culture, and sharing resources.

Ultimately, the right intranet enhances productivity and can contribute significantly to an organization’s success.

And for a distributed workforce, an effective intranet is critical for keeping employees connected, informed and aligned — no matter where they work.

Why choose the best platform for your intranet?

There are three intranet software differentiators that can significantly impact your organization’s return on investment (ROI):

  • The type of intranet software (building vs. buying)
  • The features it offers (from basic to advanced)
  • Design and integrations (for widespread adoption)

The following sections walk through each differentiator.

The two main types of intranet software

Modern intranet platforms integrate with myriad solutions for communications, collaboration, project management, HR management, document sharing and much more. They can even offer AI interfaces that let employees handle routine tasks like scheduling vacation time or uploading expenses by speaking or chatting naturally on their phone — in over 130 languages.

Given the extreme specialization of today’s best intranet platforms — and the resources required to build and maintain them — most companies see a far better ROI from partnering with a dedicated third-party intranet provider.

 

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Learn more about employee intranet software: Features that matter

employee intranet software features that matter

Employee intranet software features

Traditional intranets are associated as being communications or productivity solutions, such as internal messaging or project management.

In fact, intranets today are built to address broader employee experience challenges.

The best intranet platforms will connect your employees to (and integrate with) all the essential tools they need in a single communications portal:

  • Company news and communications
  • Internal messaging
  • Video management
  • Information management
  • Project management
  • Document management
  • Human resources software
  • Data collection, storage and analysis

Additional employee intranet features

When it comes to modern intranet platforms, the list above represents “table stakes” — the bare minimum required to be considered an effective intranet platform. The following additional features take an intranet platform further, distinguishing it from competitors:

  • Auto-Governance Engine: An intranet should be able to monitor for out-of-date content so its usefulness doesn’t diminish over time.
  • Federated Search: Search functionality should be personalized and powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to help users find exactly what they need quickly and easily.
  • Employee Listening: Your intranet should leverage AI to unearth key insights in real time, keeping your finger on the pulse of employee sentiment.
  • Native Video: Given the importance of video in news, onboarding, training and more, a top intranet platform should offer integrated video capabilities.
  • Personalized Feeds: Like today’s most engaging social media, your intranet should surface content that’s uniquely interesting to each individual employee.
  • AI Virtual Assistant: At the cutting edge of AI, your intranet should let users talk to or chat with it in their own native language (over 133 and counting).

How do I get employees to use an intranet?

To maximize the ROI of your intranet implementation, user adoption is everything.

No matter how great your intranet looks on paper, it can’t improve your teams’ efficiency and productivity if they aren’t using it. And a poor user experience is one of the top 10 reasons intranets fail.

That’s why we can’t overstate the importance of user-friendly features and an easy-to-use, mobile-friendly design. The ideal intranet includes an app that works natively on the devices your employees carry around in their pockets.

Employee intranet user satisfaction

The other thing you can’t overlook is the list of plug-and-play integrations. A successful intranet rollout depends on your intranet software integrating with the popular solutions your employees already use — Slack, Zoom, Google Drive, Dropbox, Workday, Google Analytics, LinkedIn and more.

 

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Choosing the best intranet platform: Analyst reports approach

Next, let’s drill into review methodology — we used authoritative analyst reports to compare the best intranet platforms. The reports include:

  • 2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Intranet Packaged Solutions
  • Forrester Wave™: Intranet platforms, Q1 2022
  • G2 Grid® Report for Employee Intranet | Winter 2024

Understanding analyst reports

Analyst reports are independent, in-depth evaluations of industry-leading solutions — in this case, for intranet software. The strength of these reports lies in clear metrics and methodologies.

The Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ is a research methodology and graphical representation that provides an analysis of a market’s direction, maturity, and participants on completeness of vision and the ability to execute that vision. It is published by Gartner, Inc., a global research and advisory firm that specializes in providing insights and analysis for various technology-related markets. The Forrester Wave offers a consistent methodology and transparent scoring across two axes: strategy and strength of current offering. G2 uses a proprietary scoring algorithm based on structured, user-generated ratings across a variety of variables as well as open commentary and reviews.

Intranet platform selection: Key criteria and requirements

The Gartner Magic Quadrant report is very specific regarding key criteria and requirements. It considered intranet packaged solutions that are “delivered as an integrated assembly of capabilities geared specifically for intranet use cases.” Those that did not include content services, a common UI framework, security and access management (at a bare minimum) were disqualified.

The Forrester Wave report targets serious contenders by including only cloud-first intranet platforms with a minimum annual product revenue of $10M, deployments that can scale to 5,000+ employees, and active interest among Forrester clients.

The G2 report differs in that it is based on customer-based reviews (vs. reviews based on analyst research). It allows software to be included in multiple categories, and (as of the time of this writing) includes 201 “employee intranet” software products. That includes software that’s designed for building intranets along with packaged solutions, as well as software that merely touches on the category rather than being holistic intranet solutions.

Guidelines to select the ideal intranet software

The best intranet software should be considered a leader by both independent evaluators with strict methodologies and G2, which gathers real-world user ratings.

 

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Top intranet platforms and solution providers reviewed: The best of the best

Leveraging data from these industry-leading reports, here’s an in-depth analysis of the seven top intranet platforms. Based on the independent analyst reports, the best intranet platform providers include Simpplr, Unily, Workvivo, LumApps, Staffbase, Interact and Igloo.

Simpplr: The only named leader across all three reports

According to the Gartner report, Simpplr leads the pack along both axes — completeness of vision and ability to execute — making it the best intranet platform. Its particular strengths include:

  • Delivering a cohesive, personalized employee experience regardless of where employees work
  • Incorporating technology innovation rapidly, in a controlled, deliberate way
  • Being “simple” to acquire, deploy and use
  • Showing greater user awareness and adoption of product capabilities
  • Adopted more frequently than most other providers across both office and frontline worker use cases

Best Intranet Platforms Gartner Magic Quadrant

Read the full Gartner report

 

In a companion report also released by Gartner regarding critical capabilities across six use cases, Simpplr edged out all competitors in five of the six use cases reported:

  • 1st place: Employee communications and engagement
  • 1st place: Employee services
  • 1st place: Knowledge services
  • 1st place: Work management
  • 1st place: Frontline worker support

Simpplr ranked fourth for the one remaining use case — application portals.

2023 Gartner® Critical Capabilities for Intranet Packaged Solutions Use Cases

Read the full Gartner Critical Capabilities report

 

In the Forrester report as well, Simpplr is a leader along both axes, with the strongest strategy and the strongest current offering.

Notably, Simpplr received perfect scores for its AI and analytics, product vision, execution roadmap and delivery model.

Its score of 4.8 for architecture and administration was also the best across the board. Its lowest scores were for market presence — number of customers and revenue, both of which are expected to rise as more companies discover Simpplr’s industry leadership.

According to the Forrester report, “Simpplr’s current offering strengths include its metadata, search, governance, internal communication and integration capabilities. Areas for improvement include collaboration and templating capabilities.”

The bottom line? “Organizations with more than 1,000 employees that must serve remote, desk or mobile employees should consider Simpplr. It is a fit for internal communication pros who particularly want EX insights and embedded AI for automated governance, language translation and smart recommendations.”
Best Intranet Platforms Forrester Wave

Read the full Forrester Wave report

 

In G2, only eight of the 200+ contenders appear in the top quadrant, meaning they’re strong in both user satisfaction and market presence. Of these eight, Simpplr’s position in the grid leads them all in “satisfaction” except Microsoft’s SharePoint — which is for building an intranet, not buying one. In the individual list, however, Simpplr’s ratings lead SharePoint’s by quite a bit across all four of the user satisfaction categories reported. Simpplr received overall user ratings of:

  • 9.4: Quality of support
  • 9.4: Ease of use
  • 9.5: Being a good partner in doing business
  • 9.0: Ease of administration

SharePoint, by comparison, received scores of 7.9 for quality of support, 7.7 for ease of use, 8.2 for being a good business partner, and 7.5 for ease of admin.
Best Intranet Platforms G2 Grid

See the full G2 grid and report

Unily

According to Gartner, UK-based Unily offers several strengths despite ranking behind Simpplr in both completeness of vision and ability to execute:

  • Wide-ranging components, from templates to preconfigured integrations
  • Applying real-life, emerging concerns for enterprises and their customers
  • An external knowledge and community platform, called Universe, that can be extended in combination with customers’ intranet

Gartner cautions, however, that work and task management is not as comprehensive as some competitors, especially for frontline and hybrid workers. It also reports that customer support is sometimes slower than expected.

In the Gartner use-case report, Unily also performed well:

  • 2nd place: Employee communications and engagement
  • 2nd place: Employee services
  • 1st place: Application portals
  • 2nd place: Knowledge services
  • 4th place: Work management
  • 4th place: Frontline worker support

In the Forrester report, Unily was ranked second to Simpplr on current offering but fourth on strategy. Launched initially as a SharePoint add-on, Unily garnered specific praise for its features that are designed for internal communication and content specialists. According to Forrester, “product strengths include integration with other enterprise apps, along with its collaboration, communication and repository capabilities. Its weaknesses include depth of AI/ML use, design tool limitations and default reports/dashboards.” Reference customers also reported “some dissatisfaction with its professional services and the robustness of its APIs.”

Among G2 reviewers, Unily did not rank in the top quadrant. In G2’s four user satisfaction categories, Unily’s overall user ratings were below Simpplr’s ratings across the board, although Unily was only slightly behind Simpplr in ease of use:

  • 8.7: Quality of support
  • 9.2: Ease of use
  • 8.1: Being a good partner in doing business
  • 8.5: Ease of administration

Workvivo

According to Gartner, Workvivo focuses primarily on community and communications. Acquired by Zoom in April 2023, Workvivo received “a significant boost in overall viability and market awareness.” However, it was not in the top three for any of Gartner’s intranet critical capabilities:

  • 4th place: Employee communications and engagement
  • 9th place: Employee services
  • 8th place: Application portals
  • 5th place: Knowledge services
  • 8th place: Work management
  • 8th place: Frontline worker support

Workvivo was not included in the Forrester report, presumably because it did not meet the inclusion criteria listed above in the section titled “Intranet platform selection: Key criteria and requirements.” Nor was it in the top quadrant of the G2 report. It did, however, perform well on G2 for user satisfaction:

  • 9.6: Quality of support
  • 9.6: Ease of use
  • 9.8: Being a good partner in doing business
  • 9.6: Ease of administration

Notably, Workvivo appears to be behind when it comes to AI. It has announced plans to release an AI assistant in 2024, but the announcement suggests that the AI will be limited to generative writing capabilities, such as those already available across numerous inexpensive AI applications, rather than being able to perform actual tasks for employees.

LumApps

LumApps was included as a top intranet platform in the Gartner report, with particular strengths in the end-user experience. Cautions, however, included “greater-than-expected development, deployment and design effort” as well as potential redundancy with “those on Microsoft 365 or Microsoft’s roadmap,” which could create additional work for customers in defining which products and vendors to use for what purposes.

For Gartner’s critical intranet capabilities, LumApps ranked 3rd in five of the six:

  • 6th place: Employee communications and engagement
  • 3rd place: Employee services
  • 3rd place: Application portals
  • 3rd place: Knowledge services
  • 3rd place: Work management
  • 3rd place: Frontline worker support

In Forrester, LumApps was ranked close to Simpplr in overall strategy (4.04 for LumApps compared to 4.16 for Simpplr), but it fell significantly behind in its current offering (3.14 for LumApps vs 4.17 for Simpplr). In both rankings, Simpplr led the field.

In G2, LumApps did not make the top quadrant, and its user ratings fell below industry averages in every category:

  • 7.9: Quality of support
  • 8.2: Ease of use
  • 8.8: Being a good partner in doing business
  • 8.1: Ease of administration

Staffbase

Gartner reports particular intranet platform strengths for Staffbase in its “integration with Microsoft applications and development tools,” suggesting that it may be complementary for a Microsoft environment. Staffbase is also reported to be “well-equipped to support organizations with employee segments across office, plant, retail and other frontline environments.” However, it did not rank especially well across Gartner’s specific use cases:

  • 7th place: Employee communications and engagement
  • 6th place: Employee services
  • 6th place: Application portals
  • 10th place: Knowledge services
  • 7th place: Work management
  • 6th place: Frontline worker support

Staffbase was not included in the Forrester report. It did appear in the top quadrant of the G2 report with strong user satisfaction ratings:

  • 9.4: Quality of support
  • 9.3: Ease of use
  • 9.6: Being a good partner in doing business
  • 9.2: Ease of administration

Interact

In the primary Gartner report, Interact received strong notes for understanding the goals and requirements of its customers during the sales and deployment stages, with noted specialties in the financial services, retail, healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. Its overall scores on Gartner’s critical intranet capabilities, however, were not as strong:

  • 9th place: Employee communications and engagement
  • 7th place: Employee services
  • 7th place: Application portals
  • 8th place: Knowledge services
  • 9th place: Work management
  • 9th place: Frontline worker support

In the Forrester report, Interact came in 4th overall, as a “strong performer” but not an industry leader. Forrester noted the company’s dedication to meeting “the stringent security, privacy and accessibility needs of public sector, life sciences and healthcare clients.” Forrester also reported strengths in “its metadata support, dynamic personalization capabilities, and robust design tools,” but noted that “Interact’s support for content analytics and employee advocacy features lags others in this evaluation.” Customers were highly satisfied with its search, internal comms and content authoring, but were “less satisfied with its current reporting and dashboard tools and existing AI capabilities.”

Interact appeared in the bottom quadrant of G2 despite decent ratings in the four user-satisfaction categories (albeit from only 33 total reviewers):

  • 8.9: Quality of support
  • 9.0: Ease of use
  • 9.1: Being a good partner in doing business
  • 8.3: Ease of administration

Igloo

Igloo is a “niche player” in the Gartner report, ranked in the bottom quadrant as relatively low on both completeness of vision and ability to execute. Although customers are satisfied with support and relationship building, Gartner also reported that some customers “have raised concerns over the lack of innovation in the platform and its limited mobile offering. Key features, such as enterprise search and integration with collaboration and productivity suites, are lacking compared to competitors.” In Gartner’s critical intranet use cases, Igloo ranked either last or second to last in every category:

  • 14th place: Employee communications and engagement
  • 14th place: Employee services
  • 15th place (last): Application portals
  • 14th place: Knowledge services
  • 14th place: Work management
  • 15th place (last): Frontline worker support

Igloo was included in the Forrester report but was not an industry leader. Like Gartner, Forrester reported that Igloo “must increase its pace of innovation.” Forrester also lauded its services strategy, calling it “stellar,” but said that its roadmap “has lagged behind competitors.” Specific gaps include “minimal use of AI or knowledge/social graphs to drive automation and smart recommendations.”

The solution appears in the bottom quadrant of G2, with user satisfaction ratings that are all below industry averages:

  • 8.6: Quality of support
  • 8.4: Ease of use
  • 8.3: Being a good partner in doing business
  • 8.0: Ease of administration

 

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Final verdict: Trade-offs and top picks

Best intranet platforms

The results are clear — Simpplr is the only intranet software that was consistently named a leader across all three reports. If your organization needs a complete, industry-leading intranet solution, both experts and customers strongly recommend Simpplr’s platform. Get a live demo of Simpplr.

Trade-offs: What you should consider

Despite these results, not every business needs a complete intranet solution. For smaller businesses that simply need better communications, a messaging system like Slack might serve your purposes well as you grow. The following trade-offs are important to consider as you weigh your options.

Cost vs. value: How much does intranet software cost?

At the end of the day, every business decision comes down to ROI. What return or benefit will your organization see from its investment?

A Forrester study designed specifically to weigh the economic impact of implementing Simpplr calculated the following:

  • A total three-year ROI of 283% for the composite organization
  • $2.1 million in recaptured productivity from helping employees find resources faster
  • $1.2 million in productivity gains from reducing the volume of emails
  • A 70% reduction in IT bandwidth used toward administering the intranet and supporting the internal comms team

Read the full Forrester economic impact report

Business needs vs. platform features

To make sure you’re maximizing your ROI, start by evaluating your internal needs. If your organization is still relatively small, it might just need a messaging platform or a product management tool. You might not need a fully integrated intranet solution. Significant ROIs from intranet software are more likely in both hard and soft returns for midsize to enterprise organizations.

Learning curve vs. intuitive use

One of the most important aspects of intranet platform implementation is that ROI follows adoption. If your intranet ROI is expected to flow from gains in efficiency and productivity, then your maximum gain requires widespread usage. The longer your intranet takes for employees to learn, the less likely it is that they’ll use it. So be sure to compare adoption rates across any platforms you consider.

Stay connected and aligned with a modern intranet

A modern intranet is the nerve center of your organization, driving productivity and efficiency.

Keep your teams aligned and connected with a modern intranet platform that’s powered by AI, as easy to use as talking, and accessible through a phone app that can fit in every employee’s pocket.

Most importantly, make sure you’re signing up with an industry leader that’s known for smart, fast innovation — one that can keep up with the speed of technology and keep you ahead of the curve, both today and tomorrow.

Get a live demo and see what Simpplr’s intranet could accomplish for you.

Employee intranet software review snippets about Simpplr

“Future State’s highly distributed workforce requires effective communication across our team. Simpplr’s easy-to-use and visual digital workplace platform has enabled us to significantly increase our communications efficiency and empower our employees to connect with each other.” ~ Kathy Krumpe, COO, Future State

“When testing the platform, we found a 50% increase in efficiency when individuals searched for onboarding materials. Such time savings can quickly add up across our entire team and, I believe, will make the difference between just surviving, or thriving during challenging times.” ~ Wendy M. Pfeifer, CIO, Nutanix

“The Simpplr solution enabled Bay Federal Credit Union to create an intranet that engages, empowers, and improves the employee experience. By having an intranet that offers robust search capabilities, a user-friendly interface, and the ability to keep content fresh and engaging, we give our team members the tools and resources they need to work more effectively and efficiently.” Carrie L. Birkhofer, President and CEO, Bay Federal Credit Union

Simpplr Intranet Platform Demo 10 mIn

 

 

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Employee intranet software FAQs

Employee intranet software FAQs for enterprise companies

Why do you need an enterprise intranet?

When evaluating intranets for enterprise use, it’s important to consider various factors. The needs of enterprises can vary, but here are important considerations:

  1. User experience: How intuitive is the user interface? Is it flexible to meet the specific needs of different departments, teams, and employee segments?
  2. Collaboration and communication: Does the intranet facilitate seamless collaboration among team members? What communications tools are integrated? Can users share documents and projects within the intranet?
  3. Integrations with existing systems: How well does the intranet integrate with existing enterprise applications (e.g., HR software, CRM, IT, knowledge management)
  4. Content management: How easy is it to create, edit, manage, and update content on the intranet? Is there automation to streamline processes?
  5. Security and compliance: What security measures are in place to protect sensitive data and ensure user privacy? Are there audit trails and access controls to monitor and manage user permissions?
  6. Scalability and performance: Can the intranet scale to accommodate organizational changes? What is the performance track record?
  7. Analytics and reporting: Does the intranet provide analytics and reporting features to track user engagement and content effectiveness? What insights can it provide to analyze the employee experience?
  8. Training and support: What training resources and documentation are provided?
  9. Cost and ROI: What is the total cost of ownership? How quickly can my organization expect to see a return?
  10. User adoption: Have other organizations of similar size and industry successfully adopted the solution? What is recent user feedback from current users?
  11. Future roadmap and innovation: What does the roadmap look like for future updates and improvements? How often are vendor release updates and what is the process for implementation?

Read our Intranet Buyer Guide for a roadmap to help guide you through the intranet buying process.

Should we build an intranet or buy an out-of-the-box solution?

Building means building from scratch an IT-configured solution for your enterprise needs and maintaining it through internal resources. This takes time and resources. On the other hand, an out-of-the-box intranet solution like Simpplr is designed to require minimal IT involvement. This means quick implementation and easy administration by your Internal Comms team. Explore the full benefits and drawbacks of buying vs building an intranet.

Employee intranet software FAQs for IT professionals

This section answers commonly asked questions about employee intranet software by IT. It covers a broad range of topics from installation and operation to troubleshooting and productivity enhancement tips, offering valuable information for industry professionals.

Is Simpplr’s intranet SOC 2 and SOC 3 compliant?

Yes and yes! Learn more about Simpplr’s security compliance.

How much lift from IT is needed to implement and manage Simpplr’s intranet?

Minimal. Simpplr research has found that delayed deployments are a top reason that intranets fail. Thus, Simpplr was developed to be easy and fast to deploy and requires no IT management after deployment. Ask these questions when considering new intranet software:

  1. How well does the intranet integrate with existing enterprise applications (e.g., HR software, CRM, IT, knowledge management)?
  2. Scalability and performance: Can the intranet scale to accommodate organizational changes? What is the performance track record?
  3. Analytics and reporting: Does the intranet provide analytics and reporting features to track user engagement and content effectiveness? What insights can it provide to analyze the employee experience?
  4. Training and support: What training resources and documentation are provided?
  5. User adoption: Have other organizations of similar size and industry successfully adopted the solution? What is recent user feedback from current users?

Solutions other than an intranet to consider, for small businesses

Choosing the right solution depends on the specific needs of your business. There are several alternatives to a complete intranet solution that smaller businesses might want to consider. These include collaboration tools and internal communications tools

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