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Mastering Intranet Contracts: Essential Tips for Leaders to Secure the Right Solution


Nithya Rachel

Mastering Intranet Contracts: Essential Tips for Leaders to Secure the Right Solution

Intranets can help you increase employee engagement, build company culture, break down silos, and streamline workflows.  

When researching intranet options for your organization, however, it is important to consider factors beyond features and price — especially the contract. As a CXO, involve your legal and procurement teams to review the contract for red flags and restrictive terms.  

A favorable contract ensures you understand the costs (both upfront and recurring), the features that you are signing up for, and other key details. Conversely, a contract that leaves key questions unanswered can put organizations in a bind if they’re not careful, leading to unexpected costs and limitations.

Factors Influencing Intranet Cost

1. Licensing Model

Selecting a vendor with the right licensing model lays the foundation for a successful intranet that grows with your business, providing both immediate and long-term value. If you’re already using Microsoft 365, a SharePoint-based intranet eliminates the need for purchasing additional licenses.  

Users will be more comfortable with a system that interfaces with existing Microsoft tools, promoting adoption and minimizing training costs. Also, integrating with your Microsoft 365 infrastructure means less management overhead for your IT teams.

Here’s a look at our licensing model:

  • If you already have MS365 licenses, your users will retain existing access to SharePoint & OneDrive 
  • One-time platform setup fee (mobile app included) 
  • Pricing based on feature bundles (Essential, Standard, and Premium models) 
  • Marginal monthly rates based on number of users 

2. Deployment

Intranet deployment refers to the process of setting up and making your intranet software functional within your organization’s IT environment. You’ll decide whether to host the intranet on your own servers (on-premises) or leverage a cloud service provider’s infrastructure (cloud). The deployment method you choose (on-premises vs. cloud) has a significant impact on the overall cost of your intranet.

3. Safety and Security

If your organization relies on Microsoft products, a SharePoint-based intranet would be an ideal fit. A SharePoint-based intranet like PeopleOne allows you to take advantage of the robust security features Microsoft builds into its ecosystem. SharePoint uses Active Directory to confirm user identities and you manage who can access specific documents, folders, and sections within the intranet. Also, SharePoint’s compliance features can help your organization meet regulatory requirements.

4. Features and Functionalities

Comprehensive out-of-the-box features means less need to spend on customization. Be sure to evaluate the essential functionalities like communication tools, document management, and search capabilities. And if you need more customization, weigh the importance of the feature against its price tag.

5. Data Storage and Scalability

The amount of data you’ll need to store (documents, videos, images) determines storage costs. Cloud-based intranets often allow you to scale storage as needed, which influences pricing. If you anticipate significant employee growth or substantial increases in data, factor in the costs of scaling your intranet.

6. Support and Maintenance

As your business grows, you might need to integrate new workflows, gather insights from data, or even migrate to a different tenant because your company went through a merger. Choose a provider who offers reasonable support or maintenance costs for these eventualities.

5 Intranet Contract Red Flag Clauses to Look For

The role of intranet contracts in modern organizations is undeniable; a well-structured contract aligns vendor obligations with your company’s objectives.

1. Limitations on Customization

Why it’s a Red Flag: Understanding the line between “out-of-the-box” features and customization is crucial during your intranet selection process. Out-of-the-box features are the ready-made features that are included in the intranet, often including features like document sharing, option to publish corporate news. While the out-of-the-box intranet features may meet your current needs, you may require future modifications like integration with business applications as your company grows.

How to Mitigate: When looking for an intranet, prioritize vendors who offer a clear picture of what’s included and what’s considered customization. Carefully assess out-of-the-box features to see how well they align with your current and future needs. Discuss any anticipated customization requirements with potential vendors.

2. Change Management

Why it’s a Red Flag: Intranet deployment often involves significant changes for users – new workflows, processes, and potentially even a shift in company culture regarding collaboration and information sharing. Ensure the contract outlines strategies and costs for change management like user training, communication plans, and ongoing support during the initial adoption phase.

How to Mitigate: Prioritize vendors who demonstrate strong experience in change management. To do this, ask about their strategies including:

  • User Training: The types of training resources which will be offered (tutorials, webinars, etc.)
  • Phased Rollout: If they implement the intranet in stages or for specific departments first, easing the transition for your employees.

3. Exit Clauses

Why it’s a Red Flag: Your contract should offer a reasonable path for ending the partnership with the intranet provider should the solution cease to meet your needs in the long run.

How to Mitigate: Scrutinize the contract for clauses outlining early termination fees or other unexpected costs tied to ending the contract.

4. Long-Term Support Costs

Why it’s a Red Flag: Some intranet providers may offer attractive upfront pricing but charge you high for ongoing expenses. That’s why it is important to evaluate the contract to consider ongoing support costs.

How to Mitigate: To make an informed decision, evaluate:

  • The features and functionalities included in the base offering.
  • The availability and cost structure of various support packages.
  • Whether the support packages address your anticipated needs.

5. Vendor Lock-In

Why it’s a Red Flag: Vendor lock-in reduces your flexibility and leaves you with limited options if you become dissatisfied with the service. If your data is stored in a proprietary format, or there aren’t tools to easily export it, it can get difficult or expensive to switch intranet providers.

How to Mitigate: Discuss how data is stored and if you can easily export your intranet content into standard, widely used formats if needed. Enquire about your control over the data upfront discuss any fees the vendor might charge to retrieve your data if you decide to terminate your subscription.

Questions to Ask Before Signing an Intranet Contract

  • Primary type (off-the-shelf or customized) and model of the intranet (cloud or on-prem):  Understanding the foundational structure of the intranet helps you evaluate if it aligns with your security needs, IT infrastructure, and potential customization requirements.
  • A detailed breakdown of costs involved: Request a breakdown of pricing, going beyond initial setup costs to include recurring subscription fees, user-based pricing, potential storage costs, customization costs, and any tiered support packages. 
  • Termination Clauses : Scrutinize the contract clauses outlining early termination procedures, data retrieval processes, and any associated fees. 
  • Data Security, Storage and Ownership: Request a detailed outline of the vendor’s data security practices. Clarify where your data will be physically stored. Ensure the contract unequivocally states that your company retains full ownership of all your data, even if the subscription ends. It should also outline procedures for you to retrieve your data in usable formats. 
  • Industries’ Regulatory Requirements: Discuss any industry-specific compliance standards (HIPAA, PCI DSS, etc.) and ensure the vendor’s intranet solution meets these requirements or investigate if customization options are available to achieve compliance. 
  • Clauses that prevent from evaluating competing products: Be vigilant for restrictive clauses that limit your ability to evaluate alternative intranet solutions in the future, potentially locking you into a contract even if better options emerge. 
  • Uptime percentage, performance, vendor reputation and expertise, issue resolution times: Discuss the vendor’s track record of uptime guarantees, typical response and resolution times for technical issues, overall reputation, and relevant expertise in serving similar clients.


Choosing the right intranet and deciphering complex contracts shouldn’t be exhausting. At PeopleOne, we understand the importance of establishing clear guidelines with intranet contracts and agreements. We’re committed to keeping our licensing model simple and a contract that puts your organization first. Talk to our experts to see how PeopleOne can transform your business.

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