Vendor Profile: Papyrs

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.

Today, we showcase Papyrs

In a brief paragraph, who are you?

We’re a startup from the Netherlands, and we are passionate about making intuitive, simple, and friendly software for businesses. Papyrs is our hosted intranet solution, which companies around the world use to build their own intranet platform to work better together.

Briefly describe your product’s history? Why did you start it, where does it come from?

papyrs_q2The original idea for Papyrs came in 2010.  We were looking for a modern solution to organize our information, conversations and workflows, and we heard the frustration from some of our clients who were also searching for a better solution. Most of them were already used to software in the cloud, and so they didn’t want to spend time or money on hosting products themselves or hiring IT consultants to set it up or maintain it. We decided to create a hosted intranet platform which had to be flexible, but simple enough so that people who use it daily can customize it themselves.  After running a beta program in 2011, we got a lot of positive press and feedback, and we launched Papyrs to the public in early 2012.

Describe your typical customer – what kind of company, what size, what are the kinds of problems they need to solve?

We have customers in many different countries and industries, from finance to health care to education and design. What they have in common is they’re typically looking for a central location to share all their information and workflows. An important aspect is that the software appeals to non-technical staff, so everybody can starting using Papyrs and feel at home after a few minutes of use. Papyrs also saves time and and costs associated with having a system set up and maintained by IT consultants. They want to set up an intranet in mere hours, rather than weeks. As many of our customers also use other software in the cloud, we integrate with Google Apps (Single Sign On, Calendar & Docs) and many other 3rd parties. Papyrs is used by small teams of 20 and by companies with hundreds of employees.

What do you see as your product and company’s USP?

papyrs_q4Everything in our product is drag & drop, and we focus heavily on usability. This makes things very flexible but also easy to use.
People can create pages with information, files and discussions, but also add social media widgets and even build custom forms to process requests and collect data. We offer all this functionality in a user friendly interface that people can get started with right away.

Which feature(s) of your product do your customers rave about most?

Customers really like how easy it is to create complex pages, and how much freedom you have to build anything from order forms to social profile pages. They also love the speed with which they can set up and deploy the intranet, and how quickly they can get their colleagues to start using it also. Finally, we always personally answer any questions and feedback, and we’re glad our users really like the fast and personal support.

Which feature(s) of your product do you feel are most under-used?

Search. Although people use it a lot, we’re always surprised that they don’t expect it to be powerful. Papyrs has find-as-you-type search, and even searches within Office documents and PDFs (if you have permission to access them of course). People are used to shared drives or old search technology from a previous intranet and they don’t expect search to just work.

How much customisation does your product typically need / how much to you recommend your customers make?

From the moment you sign up, Papyrs is ready to go. As it’s already possible to change the lay out and contents of the pages, it really depends on how much customization a company wants. Most companies theme Papyrs to use the colors and logo of their business. Frequently they also create a dashboard page that’s tailored specifically to their needs.

What advice would you give a company planning to invest in a new intranet platform? / what are the most important factors to consider

papyrs_q8(1). Have clear goals
Probably the most important point is to determine what the intranet will be used for. Do you want a central repository for all your documents? A social intranet where people can catch up with each other? An intranet to plan projects and milestones? Do you need an extranet to share information with clients? Think about what you really need in an intranet and don’t fall into the trap where you make a list of a thousand requirements and end up paying for an expensive and incomprehensible system that nobody uses.

(2). User Adoption
An intranet is useless if people won’t actively use it. If it’s too complicated, too slow, or too frustrating to work with, people simply won’t log on to your new intranet. They’ll simply try it once and then ignore it. Understandable, because business software is often so unappealing and unfriendly. In contrast, people are used to modern and user-friendly apps in their personal life and on their phone. They’ll find it much easier to work with an intranet that can deliver a similar modern experience.

(3). Costs and return-on-investment
Think about which factors contribute to the total costs of the intranet. Depending on the type of system, this can include license fees, set up costs, maintenance, hosting, IT consultants, etc.

What’s your cost model? Free; one-off; per seat per month charging; something else?

We charge $5 per seat per month. This includes plenty storage space.
Individual pages can be shared with customers and clients for free.
There’s a free trial, and no set up, maintenance or hosting costs at all.

Who are your main competitors?

Our main competitors are both enterprise solutions like SharePoint (Microsoft) and Confluence (Atlassian), and also other SaaS apps like Huddle and Backpack (37Signals).

What do you need from *your* customers to deliver intranet success?

We notice that in many cases companies have a general idea of what they want from an intranet but no clear-cut list of requirements. Once a company signs up for a free trial and explores Papyrs for an hour or so it becomes clear very quickly if Papyrs is going to be a good fit.

What does the future have in store for your product?

We’re working on improvements and new functionality every day, so we have some big features in the pipeline. For instance we’re going to make it easier to build custom applications on top of Papyrs. We also have a prototype API we plan to extend to offer more integration with other services.

What does intranet 2015 look like?

We think traditional intranets will make way for a new generation of more user-friendly and democratic (i.e “everyone can contribute”) intranets, built on today’s technology, with more emphasis on social and mobile features, and it’s going to stay accessible from anywhere.

For most people it’s easier to find something on the web with Google than to find it in their internal systems. By 2015 that will no longer be the case.

Who should Intranetizen readers speak with to find out more about your product?

They can talk directly to the founders, Wim & Diederik. Just shoot us an email at, we’d be happy to talk to you. They can also go to and sign up for a free trial.

What question should we have asked? And if we had, what would the answer have been?

Which features are more popular than you expected? As one of our customers wanted to get a nice overview of other people already on the intranet we added an employee directory in which people can add profile pages. As many people already have (professional) profile pages on other platforms we didn’t expect it would be used a lot, but it seems everyone likes to make his or her intranet a bit more personal by filling out the profiles.


The full set of Intranetizen vendor profiles can be found here.