Cost Savings and Value | Microsoft 365 Intranet Advantages

Chief Technology Officer

Discover Microsoft 365 Intranet’s cost savings, innovation, and connectivity in this three-part mini-series.

There are many quantifiable benefits to running or powering your Intranet on Microsoft 365. Its solutions save you money by making your organization more efficient and providing several additional cost-savings, which deliver more value for your investment.

Quantifiable Microsoft 365 benefits as listed in Richard Harbridge's SharePoint Fest Workshop
Slide from SharePoint Fest Virtual Workshop titled “MICROSOFT 365 STRATEGY & SUCCESS: PRACTICAL TOOLS & TECHNIQUES FOR THE STRATEGIST, INFO ARCHITECT & ANALYST” by our CTO and Microsoft MVP Richard Harbridge.

This article will explore a few of the most significant reasons organizations cite Microsoft 365 Intranets as their choice solution, based on cost savings.

Infrastructure Microsoft 365 Intranet cost savings

Generally, having a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) Intranet will reduce infrastructural costs for your organization. However, it is even more pronounced with Microsoft 365 since it’s often a license many users already own for other integral investments that allow them to remain digitally competitive.  

Suppose you are using SharePoint Server to host your Intranet. In that case, there are significant costs associated with maintaining a highly available SharePoint farm for your Intranet on-premises, especially when hardware investments are necessary. It also requires a team with knowledge and specialized skills to support the infrastructure and application. This information applies to any scenario where you have legacy or on-premises hardware or a provider hosting your Intranet.   

No more upgrades

Once you are effectively leveraging Microsoft 365, or Office 365, and SharePoint Online, there are no significant upgrade costs, cycles, and no new version of Office to purchase. Your portal can use new features and updates as they are released. This will allow your company to save on costs while staying competitive. 

While you will save by not requiring any further upgrades, this doesn’t mean there isn’t a cost every few years associated with optimizing your Intranet, Digital Workplace, and Knowledge Management experiences across the organization. However, it does mean that your investment’s focus will be on activities that drive more value instead of infrastructure or technical upgrades.  

Here are some examples of how you might generate more value with additional resources or investments.    

  • Optimize and guide user adoption and engagement   
  • Improve employee engagement and productivity with training and education  
  • Enhance employee experiences and usability 
  • Automate or optimize business processes with forms, workflows, and apps   
  • Provide better document and records management 

Pay per user per month with Microsoft 365

Microsoft and Office 365 licensing plans are based on assigned active users. This pricing model enables you to pay based on usage of the platform and adjust your user count based on changes in your business. What’s more, Microsoft has many different licensing options and licensing packages so you can apply the right user licensing on a differentiated per user basis.   

Price bundling & pricing innovation

Microsoft 365 bundles the recommended capabilities you would leverage for a modern Intranet or Digital Hub with your Digital Workplace in-suite pricing, including additional capabilities your organization most likely already needs. 

Some of these additional capabilities include but are not limited to:  

  • Messaging & Calendaring with Exchange Online & Outlook 
  • Improve Communication through Microsoft Teams, Yammer & SharePoint News 
  • Work Management with Planner, Enterprise Video using Microsoft Stream  
  • Enterprise Workflow leveraging Power Automate 
  • Enterprise Apps and Forms with Microsoft Lists and PowerApps 
  • Enterprise Social with Yammer    

Microsoft’s commitment to digital innovation is incredible and was recently on display at Microsoft Ignite 2020, their video highlight of the event provides a glimpse at how far their solutions have come and are going.

More for your money    

Microsoft 365 and Office 365 continually provide additional capabilities as Microsoft innovates month after month. The image below is from their roadmap around the time of writing this article and represents two years of massive, continued innovation.

Microsoft 365 rate of innovation over the last 2 years
Microsoft’s rate of innovation over the last 2 years

Here are some of the possibilities that come to light with suite pricing and packages:   

  • Many new web parts and controls for your Intranet (quite a few of which integrate other services/systems that are popular)   
  • New and improved authoring tools/experiences with easy accessible templating 
  • Rich pre-integrated experiences allow you to bring your Intranet or Digital Hub to where users work (Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel) 
  • More ready-built integration templates and processes in Power Automate that you can easily leverage across your Intranet and Digital Workplace 
  • Advanced capabilities like automatic transcript creation, indexing of video and media assets with Microsoft Stream can improve the ways your organization’s videos can integrate within your Intranet.   
  • Improved and rich people cards that show up whenever you see someone’s name. These aren’t just showing profile data, but LinkedIn information, recent documents, or other useful insight across your digital workplace    
  • Topic cards, recommendations, and insights provided by artificial intelligence, user behavior, curated expertise, and a deep, dynamic, and connected knowledge network  
  • And much, much more   

The features and functionalities offered in Microsoft’s suite pricing continue to improve. Many new capabilities will continue to add value for your organization and can augment other costs. Excellent examples of features that get underestimated are Mobile Device Management, which it currently includes, and the considerable security, lifecycle management, retention, and information protection capabilities that can be leveraged with your Intranet. These improve security posture, compliance, and privacy protection.  

The ecosystem & industry adoption impact

There are an incredible number of other ways to measure and track the value Microsoft 365 provides with their Intranet software against your internal communication efforts. Users across the industry have exposure and have worked with SharePoint, Microsoft 365, and Microsoft Teams, which can significantly reduce the change management costs or the need to re-learn digital skills. This benefit applies to content authors of your Intranet or contributors across your organization.  

Microsoft 365, or SharePoint Online, is the platform used by many winners of the prestigious Nielsen Norman Intranet Award, including the awards our team has won over the years. In some years, 80% of the winners use SharePoint Intranets.  

Also, there is a vibrant and mature complimentary product ecosystem. The technical skillset for Microsoft development is widely available.

Also, the technology patterns for extending it are based on modern and common client-side development practices that are standard for front end developers today.  

The full picture for your new Intranet  

We hope this blog has been able to solidify that you are making the right decision or provides clarity on something you may not have realized. Whatever the case, we are always happy to provide aid in the form of a discussion or with one of our detailed whitepapers.   

Since you are now aware your digital workplace’s total cost will reduce thanks to the cost savings provided by Microsoft 365, you are ready to discover the full extent of their intranet’s benefits. Download our whitepaper to get all the information you need for a SharePoint Intranet.  

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