Is SharePoint Alone Enough for Effective Internal Communications?

Microsoft's SharePoint intranet didn't evolve as a communication tool, so is it the best choice for today’s mobile-first communication? Let's find out. 

For over 20 years, Microsoft SharePoint has been a giant in the intranet world, boasting over 190 million users. It's clearly a leader. But in the workplaces of today and the future, where dispersed  workforces and mobile access to work related information are key, is SharePoint still the top choice for internal communication? While it offers collaboration tools within the Microsoft 365 suite alongside Teams and Yammer, SharePoint still falls short in driving employee engagement.

In this blog, we’ll explore why relying solely on SharePoint for internal communications might not be the best approach and what alternatives you can consider.

The situation: “We have SharePoint, why would we need an employee app? Isn’t that just extra cost"

Every dollar counts, and businesses are closely examining their budgets to find potential savings. Unfortunately, HR and internal communications budgets often face cuts, especially regarding tech stack costs. Decision-makers, aiming to save money, are always looking at which tools to cut or avoid. This seems logical at first—why not stick to just the essentials? 

This often leads to questions like: "We already have SharePoint, so why do we need an employee communications app?" or "Isn't an employee app just an unnecessary expense since we have SharePoint?"

The reality: SharePoint alone is not enough for effective internal communications & here’s why

While SharePoint offers robust features, relying solely on it for your organization’s internal communications could limit your ability to engage effectively with your entire workforce. SharePoint is the platform often chosen by IT for internal communications, but given the choice few internal comms teams would choose SharePoint for themselves. Already back in 2013, a Forrester survey of business leaders using SharePoint found that:

  • 67% felt the system offered inadequate user training.
  • 66% found the system hard to use.
  • 64% lack of senior management support internally, making it hard to implement.
  • 55% struggled to engage users to manage and share content.

7 reasons why SharePoint alone is not be sufficient for your internal communications needs

  • Internal comms is more than just document sharing. Despite the argument that SharePoint is an intranet, it isn’t. Its fundamental role is to store files, not to connect dispersed workplaces through multichannel communications. Dedicated tools like Speakap are crucial as they are specially designed to facilitate these dynamic interactions, which are beyond the scope of SharePoint’s primary functions.
  • SharePoint sites and infrastructure can be quite complicated. As a result, the responsibility for managing such “intranet” systems is often placed in the hands of IT administrators rather than intranet authors or communicators. This can pose a challenge for teams of intranet managers or internal communicators as they continuously strive to develop and customize their intranet to meet the needs of users. 
  • Creating an intranet with SharePoint can be a daunting task. It’s not just about the platform; it's also about the time and money involved. When there's a rush to deliver the project, things get even trickier. You'll need a lot of resources and skilled SharePoint developers to get it done. Despite all this investment, there's always a risk that the final product might not match your expectations or deliver the value you hoped for.
  • No segmentation and personalized messaging. To effectively reach and engage your diverse workforce, you need the ability to tailor communications to various groups within your organization.  SharePoint’s capabilities for segmentation and personalized messaging are not as sophisticated, potentially leading to generic communications that could disengage rather than appeal to your employees.
  • Not mobile-first: Many of today’s employees are non-desk workers who don’t have regular access to desktops. This makes mobile access to internal communication tools more important than ever (according to McKinsey). If you’re depending only on SharePoint, these employees might often be left in the dark, missing out on crucial updates.
  • Poor engagement tracking and analytics: SharePoint’s basic analytics just don’t cut it when you need detailed insights. Specialized communication tools like Speakap offer comprehensive engagement metrics. These insights help you fine-tune your strategies based on real employee interactions, making your communication more effective.
  • Poor integration with non-microsoft products: SharePoint doesn’t always play nice with non-Microsoft software. This can lead to inefficiencies and lower productivity. If your team relies on a variety of tools, this can be a significant hurdle, causing more frustration than it solves.

If these arguments don’t build a compelling case for why relying solely on SharePoint for internal communications can be limiting, maybe the meme below will string a chord 😉

Want to get the best out of SharePoint while ensuring employee engagement and effective internal communications?

We all know that a SharePoint intranet is popular, but let's be honest – it requires a lot of time and resources. It's not the perfect solution for large organizations that want to create a digital workplace fostering employee engagement and effective communication, especially with a frontline workforce. 

That's where Speakap comes in. It’s an employee experience platform that goes beyond what SharePoint can do. Here’s why you should consider it:

  1. Mobile-First Communication: With Speakap, your employees get timely and relevant updates right on their mobile devices, keeping everyone in the loop and feeling included, no matter where they are.
  2. Deep Engagement Insights: SharePoint has basic analytics, but Speakap gives you detailed insights into employee engagement. These insights are crucial for tweaking and improving your communication strategies based on what’s really working.
  3. Smooth Integration: Speakap integrates seamlessly with SharePoint and other systems. This means all your communication flows effortlessly across platforms, making your job easier and your team's interactions more efficient.
  4. Easy Setup: Speakap is designed to be easy to implement. You won’t have to deal with extensive downtime or complicated setups. It’s hassle-free, so you can start enhancing your internal communications right away.

The bottom line

While SharePoint serves specific business functionalities with excellence, integrating SharePoint within Speakap is your best bet.  This way you’re creating a more effective and cost-efficient modern intranet that leverages SharePoint’s strengths while filling in its gaps. It’s a smart move for any organization serious about improving communication and engagement. Get in touch with us and we'd love to tell you more about it.