Guest Post: A Far Better Alternative to SharePoint Intranets

At first glance, SharePoint Online could be an attractive intranet solution for organizations using Microsoft 365. But its functionalities only go so far, making a SharePoint intranet alternative worth a serious look for internal comms, HR, and IT leaders.

While SharePoint isn’t purpose-built to function as an intranet, numerous organizations running Microsoft 365 find that it offers just enough functionality to suit their intranet needs:

  • Storing and sharing files for collaboration
  • Building web pages for internal communication

But Internal Communications, HR, and IT teams may have some questions: 

  • Will our current SharePoint intranet be enough for us in the future? 
  • Are there better solutions we don’t know about? 
  • Can we create a SharePoint site that employees and IT will love? 
  • Can the new Modern Experience and Viva Connections fill enough of the gaps?

A SharePoint intranet alternative that fills those gaps

Analysts including GartnerForrester, or Clearbox agree that, for most organization, SharePoint and Viva don’t have the capabilities to create a true, complete intranet solution that answers the demands of the modern workplace. A SharePoint intranet falls short in several critical areas:

  • ease of content management
  • ease of publishing
  • ease of updating site architecture
  • user profiling
  • employee engagement.

Custom third-party solution development is an option. But the costs can be high, the coding complex, and the maintenance riskier as time passes.

But more than 400 organizations globally (comprising nearly 2 million users) have found their SharePoint intranet alternative: Powell Intranet. Now let’s compare Powell Intranet and SharePoint intranets and see why.

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Why does Powell Intranet work better for Internal Communications?

Branding and customization

I think it is completely fair to expect your intranet platform to easily and faithfully “wear your brand.” But that’s a costly and complicated proposition with a SharePoint intranet (and every time you update, you have to start from scratch).

With Powell Intranet you can change your intranet theme in a few clicks. Go custom, choose a theme from the Powell catalog. So you can fine-tune (or make over) your intranet as often as you like.

Targeted communications

Internal comms must ensure that every employee reads what they publish. Ideally, your people should only get relevant communications, and that requires tight targeting (employee title, location, interests, etc.). Native SharePoint doesn’t make it easy.

Powell Intranet, on the other other hand, enables internal comms to set up multi-criteria targeting with ease, to reach the right audience in the right place — and not swamp people in irrelevant messages. (It’s also easier to create a multi-lingual intranet.)


A modern intranet welcomes contributions (moderated, of course), from across the organization. But it’s a challenge to ensure that that content adheres to established formatting. (Otherwise, your internet becomes a visual hodgepodge that repels users.) Uniform formatting, image text, and functionality are expensive to maintain and implement in a SharePoint-only environment. But Powell Intranet’s powerful engine makes it possible — again, without start-from-scratch recoding.

IT and Internal Communications teams using Powell Intranet report an average 80% reduction in time spent constructing and maintaining their intranet.

Why does Powell Intranet work better for HR leaders?

It’s hybrid work-ready.

Managers of hybrid teams have a special set of needs for their intranet, such as:

  • The ability for team members to reserve desks for in-office days
  • “Kudos” to reward and recognize “above and beyond” work
  • Gamification and fun to boost engagement in company life
  • Virtual coffee breaks, where everyone can push away from work and “hang” for a few minutes
  • Personal classified ads, because this one might need a roommate and that one may have a futon they no longer need.

SharePoint can’t help with any of these, but they’re standard equipment with Powell Intranet — because your company culture must embrace ALL your workers — in-office, remote, hybrid, and in the field. Speaking of which…

It’s accessible for everyone, even field workers.

Powell Intranet mobile app brings sharepoint internet alternative to ALL workers.

In organizations with staff in the field, HR leaders have a special set of concerns:

  • How can we ensure that messages reach frontline workers?
  • How can our employee engagement initiatives involve everyone?
  • How can we include employees who don’t have a computer or Microsoft 365 license?

I mention that last concern because, while Microsoft does offers a solution for field workers, most organizations using it would pay a premium price for a feature set they won’t come close to fully using.

However, Powell Intranet offers a mobile app that delivers a tailored intranet experience for field workers. They can access company news, the staff directory, a search tool, and key company documents. With the Powell Intranet app, all employees, regardless of their role, are part of the company and its culture.

On average, Powell Intranet customers double their intranet adoption rate from 40% to 80%.

Why does Powell Intranet work better for IT Teams?

Its functional code is always up-to-date.

Again, the custom IT dev work require to build a modern SharePoint intranet is a high-cost, high-risk proposition:

  • IT needs to write the custom code to make it happen.
  • Then, IT must ensure their code keeps pace with Microsoft’s regular updates.
  • AND in parallel, IT will be called upon to deploy the evolutions that various departments will assuredly request.

With a third-party solution like Powell Intranet, your code is continuously updated. There’s never a need for your IT team (who have quite enough on their “to do” list as it is) to get involved.

IT can demonstrate better ROI to the C-suite.

Here’s how:

  • It takes on average 8 hours to build, deploy, and update a SharePoint intranet site collection.
  • It only takes an hour to do the same work with Powell Intranet and its powerful engine.
  • Now multiply that by the forty SharePoint sites in our average customer intranet (several hundred for large companies).
  • Then consider that each site is updated 2-3 times annually on average.

It all adds up to demonstrably significant ROI.

Your organization’s data is secure.

Organizations entrust their IT teams with data security. With Powell Intranet, all employee identities and intranet content remain hosted in your Microsoft 365 tenant.

Powell Intranet is Microsoft-recognized.

Microsoft 365 is a hefty investment for any company, so IT teams want to get the most out of it.

A little more ROI: Microsoft recognizes Powell Intranet as one of the best integrations of Microsoft’s productivity services, citing Powell’s use of the Graph API and all the latest features such as Viva Connections maps. As a SharePoint intranet alternative, it’s a lower-cost, lower-risk way of extracting more value from your company’s Microsoft 365 investment.

Which intranet solution is best for you?

Microsoft 365 and all its cloud services, including SharePoint, are essential tools for employee productivity. But SharePoint alone doesn’t meet the needs of Internal Comms, HR, and IT teams — or of all your employees.

Our customers choose Powell Intranet to make the most of their Microsoft investment. Together with implementation partners like StitchDX we discern an organization’s needs, translate them into technical requirements, and create user-friendly, collaborative, and modern intranets, built on SharePoint and packed with Powell Intranet’s innovative features.

A better intranet for your people, even better value from your Microsoft 365 investment.

Our partners at StitchDX can take you deeper into the Powell Intranet experience. Reach out to them or click the orange chat button at bottom right of this page.