Build or buy an intranet? Which is a better choice?

by Yvonne Harris

Should you build or buy your intranet? Which is the most cost-effective choice? Which is the better choice for your organization? In this article, we will help you answer those exact questions.

Intranet: Definition and purpose

An intranet is a private network that allows employees within an organization to access information and communicate with each other through a web-based platform. Its purpose is to provide employees a centralized and secure platform to access the resources they need, streamline communication and collaboration, and improve productivity.

Build or buy: Key decisions for intranet implementation

When implementing an intranet for your organization, you have two options: build it in-house or buy a ready-made solution from a vendor. Both options have advantages and disadvantages; the decision will depend on your organization’s needs and resources.

Building an intranet: Advantages and challenges


One of the main advantages of building an intranet in-house is customization. You have complete control over your intranet’s design, functionality, and content, so you can tailor it to meet your organization’s needs. If you choose this option, you’ll need to be sure you have the right people internally with the skills and time necessary to build the intranet.

Data & security

Another advantage is that you control the data stored on the intranet, ensuring its security and privacy.


Integrating the intranet with your existing systems can be easier when building in-house.

However, building an intranet also comes with several challenges.

Time & resources

Building a custom intranet requires significant time and technical expertise to design, develop, and implement. In addition, you will need to allocate ongoing resources for maintenance and updates to ensure the intranet remains secure and functional.

EN - Report : ClearBox Intranet and Employee Experience 2023


Buying an intranet solution from a software vendor can save time for organizations by eliminating the need for in-house development and deployment. A vendor-supplied intranet comes pre-configured with all the necessary components, including hardware, software, and support services, making it a one-stop shop for all your intranet needs. This eliminates the need for technical expertise and reduces the time required for implementation and deployment. Furthermore, a vendor-supplied intranet is usually faster to implement than building one in-house, allowing organizations to start using it and realizing its benefits sooner. As a result, buying an intranet from a software vendor is an ideal solution for organizations that want to save time and focus on other critical business initiatives.

Implementation & maintenance

When you buy an intranet, the vendor and implementation partner look after the technical aspects of the implementation, making it a more hassle-free process. The vendor manages maintenance and updates as a SaaS solution, freeing up in-house resources. Additionally, a vendor-supplied intranet is supported by experts with extensive knowledge and experience in the field, providing organizations with access to the latest features and functionality. Buying an intranet is best for organizations that want to simplify the implementation and maintenance process and ensure a smooth and reliable digital workplace experience.

Security & Integrations

When buying an intranet, you’ll want to be sure your vendor offers top-level security and integrations.

If you buy an intranet built on SharePoint, like Powell Intranet, you benefit from Microsoft-level security and peace of mind knowing that data is stored in your Microsoft 365 tenant. Buying a SharePoint intranet also means you can easily integrate all the Microsoft 365 tools your employees use daily. It will leverage your M365 investment by making its applications more easily accessible.


However, buying an intranet platform can come with its challenges. The level of customization can be limited compared to building in-house, and you will depend on the vendor for support and updates.

This is where your choice of intranet vendor makes a big difference. Not all ‘intranets-in-a-box’ are created equal; some allow for more customization. With Powell Intranet, for example, you can fully customize the intranet for your organization and branding. You can use company colors and logos, or customize for a unique look and feel.


Buying an intranet can be prohibitive for small organizations with fewer than 100 employees. Building an intranet may be a more cost-effective solution for very small organizations.

However, for a large organization, an intranet solution like Powell Intranet can save money because it offers pre-made templates that organizations can use to create a customized intranet with minimal effort and cost. By leveraging these templates, organizations can reduce the time required to design, develop, and deploy an intranet, lowering the overall cost of ownership. Furthermore, Powell Intranet offers various cost-effective pricing options, making it an affordable solution for organizations of all sizes.

Key factors to consider

When deciding to build or buy an intranet, several key factors need to be considered, including the size and structure of your organization, your budget, technical expertise, integration with existing systems, speed of implementation, and future scalability.

It’s essential to weigh these factors against your specific needs and resources carefully.

Company size & structure

Building an intranet from scratch is better suited to small organizations requiring a simple intranet with basic features like document storage. If you have a large, complex organization with various departments and functions, you may need a more sophisticated intranet solution that SaaS intranet providers can offer.


Your budget is another important factor, as building an intranet from scratch can be costly. Buying an intranet can be more cost-effective, especially if you choose a vendor that offers a flexible pricing model.

Technical expertise

Technical expertise is also an influential consideration. If you have the in-house technical expertise to build an intranet from scratch, you may prefer this option, but if you do not have the necessary technical expertise, buying an intranet from a software vendor may be the better choice.

Integration with existing systems

Integrating existing systems is another key factor to consider, as an intranet that integrates seamlessly with your existing systems will increase efficiency and reduce complexity.

Speed of implementation

The speed of implementation is also a significant factor, as buying an intranet can speed up implementation, while building an intranet from scratch can take months or even years to complete.

Future scalability

Finally, it is essential to consider future scalability. You must ensure your chosen intranet solution can grow and evolve to meet your organization’s changing needs.

In summary, building an intranet from scratch is a good option for small organizations with simple intranet needs, while buying an intranet is the better option for large organizations that want to maximize its value and impact.


Implementing an intranet for your organization is a significant investment that substantially benefits communication, collaboration, and productivity. Whether you build or buy your intranet, it’s crucial to consider all the key factors to make the right decision for your organization. Choosing between building or buying depends on your needs, resources, and goals.

Need help finding the right intranet vendor for our project? Download the free ClearBox Consulting Intranet & Employee Experience Platforms report and compare 30 intranet providers.

EN - Report : ClearBox Intranet and Employee Experience 2023

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