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.
Today, we showcase EasySharePoint
In a brief paragraph, who are you?
EasySharePoint is a London based product company that offers three fully brandable and fully extendable SharePoint based intranet solutions across 2010, 2013 and Online. The team have been working with SharePoint since 2001 and our products as a concentration of everything we have learnt about best practice user experience and development over the years.
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
EasyShare clients range from global banks and technology companies to local authorities, law firms, insurers and media agencies. Typically our clients want to roll out SharePoint in order to facilitate better internal communications and collaborative working but are either IT people that don’t understand user experience or Communications people that don’t understand the technology.
EasyShare works for clients because they can see the user experience and the technology working before they invest. Furthermore, adopting a pre-built solution means they can focus on driving better engagement and adoption with employees.
EasyShare is also fully brandable and extendable by any SharePoint developer so our clients also have a solution that can be tailored to their business, whichever sector they sit in.
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?
Clients tend to use all of the components made available with the product as they are the basis of any quality intranet – news, discussions, polls, video – and so on. We have just this week introduced some really cool features which are under used because they are so new. The current office favourite is a digital sticky note to keep our ‘to do’ lists on that have been built to follow you around the site. Brilliant as normally they’re stuck on our desks!
How much customisation does your product typically need / how much to you recommend your customers make?
All of our clients brand EasyShare to reflect their corporate identity. With our online product we have made that a non-technical task so that product updates can be run without any issues.
Beyond that our clients tend not to customise the product at all, rather they develop additional features for SharePoint that are not intranet related (such as records management tools or complex workflow solutions) and plug them in to EasyShare to extend what SharePoint offers to the business.
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, and 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? (We provide a checklist for vendors to choose from)
Fixed price, unlimited use, one time payment.
What are your hosting options
On Premise, Public cloud, Private cloud, Hybrid
Who are your main competitors?
We were the first Microsoft Partner to offer 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”. Competing products have now emerged but they are neither as mature nor as feature rich as the EasyShare solution which is now in its third major release.
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 continue to work on refining the feature set and user experience of our intranet products. Our overall focus is now on taking the other service elements of an intranet roll out like the branding, navigation and content and making them as simple and quick to deliver as the technology.
What does intranet 2015 look like?
Call me and our R&D team will show it to you
Who should intranetizen readers speak with to find out more about your product?
E-mail Leo Mullane, Sales Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
What question should we have asked? And if we had, what would the answer have been?
Q: Now that at least three other Microsoft partners have copied you and built intranet in a box type solutions, what makes EasyShare so special?
A: EasyShare is a mature product that is much richer than other offerings on the market in terms of feature capability and mobile experience. After four years and more than 40 deployments not only is the product in a great place but the experience we offer to clients is second to none; our support model, documentation and training resources really are world class.