Vendor Profile: EasyShare
The Intranetizen team are often asked advice about intranet vendors that supply software and hardware solutions to run your intranet. Whilst we have nearly 40 years of blue-chip intranet experience between us, in common with many intranet practitioners, we have relatively limited experience of the 200+ software systems that companies use.
Last year we profiled five intranet software solutions with the aim to help you, to help us and to help the vendors themselves. Over the next week we’re running our second series of posts. We’ve again supplied them with the same set of questions and will publish their answers in their own words to ensure equity! All the images have been supplied by the company themselves and are reproduced with permission.
In a brief paragraph, who are you?
ClerksWell (formerly cScape) is a London based agency that have been designing and building SharePoint based intranets for more than 10 years. We set out to develop a brandable, fixed cost and instantly deliverable intranet because we realised 85% of our clients requirements were the same – everybody wanted a communication, collaboration and social platform that works across mobile and tablet devices.
Briefly describe your product’s history? Why did you start it, where does it come from?
We set out to make SharePoint easy. The bespoke model was a real headache for clients from buy in, through development to Live. After 2008 our clients struggled to get funding from their CFO for an intranet project and needed something at a low fixed cost. Our non-technical project stakeholders wanted us to specify their build and manage their requirements on the basis that we should know better than them. Our clients wanted to be less involved in the development so that they could focus on governance, change management and launch planning. We sought to change the way we worked so that we could meet these client expectations.
Describe your typical customer – what kind of company, what size, what are the kinds of problems they need to solve
Our EasyShare clients range from global banks and global technology companies to local authorities and property management firms. We are able to service clients across a range of sectors because we are offering what is generic to any quality intranet with the ambition of driving better engagement with employees – with the option of adding on features that are unique to a business.
What do you see as your product and company’s USP?
EasyShare has taken the pain out of development and significantly lowered the risk profile of an intranet project. Clients can play with EasyShare before they buy and their IT teams review the code, the cost is fixed and the delivery instant. We are also able to support EasyShare with ClerksWell’s services. Our creative team will work on a design for a client’s EasyShare, our UX team will help plan content and launch, while our development team will build in any features that a client needs which are not part of the EasyShare feature set.
Which feature(s) of your product do your customers rave about most?
The MySites feature set is truly amazing (MySites is like a Facebook page with your colleague activities, documents, tasks, groups and much much more). I think the popularity of this is down to the fact that we created an opportunity to replicate what we are used to doing on Facebook and LinkedIn and brought it into the business to underpin better communication and knowledge-sharing. We did a lot of work to create a really intuitive and beautiful experience.
Which feature(s) of your product do you feel are most under-used?
I do not think the collaboration features are used properly, though they are often well used. The reason for this is that where good change management is key to a successful intranet project it is sometimes overlooked. It is assumed that if great discussions forums and team sites are available employees will just ‘get’ the value and start to use them whereas in reality people need to firstly know what these features can do, the value in changing their current behaviour to start using them, then become part of the conversation on how and when they should be used.
How much customisation does your product typically need / how much to you recommend your customers make?
Nobody has ever made more than a handful of enhancements and most of our clients opt to make none at all. We are not precious about people wanting to extend the solution, I think the reason most do not is because it already does so much that they want to make sure the business gets value out of what’s there before introducing them to anything else!
What advice would you give a company planning to invest in a new intranet platform? / what are the three most important factors to consider?
A. Plan around meeting your business objectives rather than ‘building an intranet’. It will keep your project focused on delivering value to the business.
B. Think of the project as being far bigger than simply design and build – because it is. Do not forget about governance, content planning, change management, training, launch planning which are all the things that actually determine whether or not your project will be a success. The people based activities are more important than the technology.
C. Ongoing metrics reviews and iterative enhancements will keep your site fresh and in-step with what is going on. Without continuous review your site will become out of date and end up yet another system that the business does not use.
What’s your cost model? Free; one-off; per seat per month charging; something else?
Pay once based on your number of employees. Simple!
Who are your main competitors?
We are the only Microsoft partner offering a fully pre-built intranet solution that’s mobile and tablet compatible. I think that is because we have always taken user experience and design very seriously, so we are confident saying to clients “we can brand this any way you like but the interaction design is based on 10 years experience and hundreds of implementations, so you may want to try it out with your business before you change anything”.
What do you need from *your* customers to deliver intranet success?
Our clients need to have a business requirement to communicate better with employees, facilitate and encourage better collaboration and want to make the best of social to underpin these objectives. The project cannot be a success if there isn’t a desire to improve these things.
What does the future have in store for your product?
We are working on our SharePoint 2013 version which is great fun as we are testing out all the new features with clients and working through useful additions.
What does intranet 2015 look like?
Call me and I will show it to you
Who should intranetizen readers speak with to find out more about your product?
Email myself-Suzy Dean, SharePoint Sales Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Call 0207689 8800
You can visit the EasyShare website at www.easysharepoint.com
Visit the ClerksWell site at www.clerkswell.com
For more developments in the world of SharePoint and EasyShare news please follow us on Twitter @easysharepoint
What question should we have asked? And if we had, what would the answer have been?
Is there any customer resistance to buying a pre-built intranet, rather than starting one from scratch which is tailored to their specific business requirements?
Initially, during market testing, we were met with a certain amount of incredulity. However, once clients understand that they are getting exactly what they would have got from a bespoke build, only cheaper and faster, the doubts melt away!