The best social intranet platform in a provider comparison

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(42 reviews)
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HUMANSTARSapp is a digital communication tool for employees. Features include news center, surveys, calendar, integration with existing systems, and more.
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Tixxt provides a digital hub for associations and corporate groups for collaboration and communication. Ideal for decision-making and bundling expertise.
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IK-up! is an employee app simplifying internal communication in firms with an intuitive interface, feedback collection, and file sharing. It's GDPR compliant.
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Haiilo is a platform for efficient internal communication and employee engagement. It enhances employee reach, improves feedback culture, and offers work-life flexibility.
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Staffbase is a customizable employee app and intranet platform focused on improving internal communication.


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More about Best Social Intranet Software & Tools

What is Social Intranet Software?

Social intranet software (social intranet app) enables the provision of a platform accessible exclusively within a company for communication, information exchange and collaboration for employees and other company associates. Users get, for example, the opportunities to discuss, ask questions, quickly disseminate important documents or appointments with pinpoint accuracy and exchange ideas within closed or even open (project) groups. These solutions are typically modeled after social networking capabilities and processes. The line between an intranet solution and social intranet software is often blurred today, as hardly anyone needs a classic top-down intranet anymore. Depending on the use case, social intranet tools sometimes go by names such as "collaboration software", "team software" or "agile project management software". Employee apps can also fit into this category.

Good social intranet providers or intranet software bring the following features or advantages, among others:

  • Creating a hub for communication and collaboration.
  • Central access to company documents and media files.
  • Fast, company-wide dissemination of information.
  • Integration with other business-critical software solutions for process optimization.
  • Increasing the efficiency of specific company processes and supporting team spirit and internal branding, or corporate identity.

These are popular social intranet software solutions

What sets social intranet software and employee apps apart from classic intranet software?

The term "intranet" initially describes an internal company network that is not publicly accessible. Today, the term is often used synonymously for a variety of internal applications when conveying crucial information, managing organizational procedures, or optimizing collaboration. The social intranet is based on an idea that diverges completely from the intention of the so-called classic intranet. In the latter, the top-down principle applies to all processes. This means that superiors typically disseminate content or initiate processes. The staff has no possibilities for interaction, for giving feedback, or even for generating their own content. The contents of such intranets are therefore rather static. The social intranet, on the other hand, uses concepts that are known from social networks. Everyone has the opportunity to contribute, i.e., to post, share, comment on contributions, etc. Additionally, direct communication and collaboration tools are typically provided. Employee apps also pursue a similar interactive approach. However, compared to social intranet software, employee apps are typically less extensive and more focused on optimizing communication.

How does social intranet software work?

Social intranet software, in its functions, is typically modeled after typical social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter. The significant difference from these open networks is that social intranet solutions generate closed networks, accessible only to employees and other company associates. Each participant is given an individual account with specific login data. Members then have the option - as is known from other social network environments - to log in and chat with colleagues, advance current projects, or simply like, request news, share important documents, work directly on team tasks, and do much more. The primary focus is on communication and collaboration. Important news, documents, appointments, etc., can be disseminated faster and more directly through a social intranet. Such a solution also provides a central platform where users can converge central project data and edit them directly. Companies that rely heavily on collaboration or teamwork typically reap significant benefits from social intranet software. For example, team rooms can be created in which the involved persons can develop ideas, solve problems, organize tasks, or advance projects.

What advantages do intranet solutions offer?

Several clear advantages have already been touched upon directly or indirectly. The following will now specifically address the benefits of social intranet software.

  • In addition to obvious cost advantages compared to physical media for employee information (elimination of printing costs for a company magazine, no efforts for notices, etc.), social intranet software also increases the speed of information dissemination. Messages can be quickly and very specifically played out to employees. This is particularly beneficial for companies operating in dynamic markets, which need to respond promptly to changes.
  • The pooling of knowledge reduces time losses often associated with the classic search for information and/or contacts. The often-lamented frictional losses can be significantly minimized.
  • Social intranet software can significantly help curb the flood of emails in companies by organizing questions, discussions, tasks, etc., straightforwardly in respective rooms of the social intranet. This ultimately saves a lot of time.
  • Team rooms enable efficient teamworking and collaboration in general. Companies can drive their agility and flexibly collaborate on projects from virtually any location.
  • Especially through the opportunities for employees within the social intranet to discuss ideas and suggestions for improvement and to provide input or interact freely in general, the innovation ability of a company increases. Furthermore, such opportunities and freedoms tend to have a positive effect on company culture, the sense of unity, and corporate identity.
  • The social intranet software also has advantages in terms of data protection. Everything discussed, edited, or organized there is inaccessible to the outside world. In addition, contents can be restricted by different user roles.

What are the central functions of social intranet software?

Social Intranet providers naturally provide many different components. But there are a few typical features that many social intranet solutions bring with themselves. These include, in particular, the standard functions of a social network, such as:

  • Individual accounts with profiles.
  • Live chat function.
  • Newsfeed.
  • Interaction possibilities, like liking, following, sharing.
  • File sharing.
  • Groups or team rooms.

Advanced features promote comprehensive knowledge and experience management. For example, wikis and blogs can reveal complex facts that are directly or indirectly relevant to a large part of the staff, and thus promote swarm intelligence. Employees are also given the opportunity to quickly identify the right experts for specific concerns through an expert search and expert exchange. Some social intranet software comes with functions that you'd ordinarily expect from a CRM tool (CRM - Customer Relationship Management) or an HRM tool (HRM - Human Resource Management). For instance, with such solutions, users have the ability to optimize external communication, such as with customers or partners, or to directly integrate them as guests into the intranet. The social intranet can also become a time recording system that includes a dynamic calendar and options for vacation planning.

What types of social intranet software are there?

Those interested in social intranet software generally have two types to choose from: They can use a system that runs on their own servers or a cloud intranet software as SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). In the former case, there are generally greater freedoms and companies always know where their data is stored. Ideally, the information never leaves the company, which is always a clear advantage in terms of data security and privacy. In the context of such solutions, we speak of on-premise software. However, these do not only have advantages: for hosting on your own servers, the necessary resources and sufficient know-how must be available in the first place. Furthermore, companies are largely responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of such systems. An external partner who creates these and other necessary prerequisites must of course be paid extra. Many interested parties ask in this context: Is there intranet software open source and on-premise? Yes, the market also offers social intranet open source software that can be used completely free of charge. However, companies still have to organize the administration themselves, and the functions of such applications are usually limited. In the cloud, or with a SaaS solution, the above-mentioned problems do not exist. The entire system, including data, then runs on the servers of the social intranet provider. However, care must be taken to ensure that all information is handled discreetly and in accordance with the GDPR.

What should one particularly pay attention to when choosing an intranet solution or social intranet app?

Consider integration Should the future social intranet be able to work with a CRM system, Google Drive, Microsoft Office, or other business-critical tools? Then it is important to ensure that the chosen software also brings the appropriate integrations. If very specific systems have to be connected, IT professionals can often also go the route via an appropriate API interface. With that, integrations can be added to almost any software afterward - naturally with the necessary know-how.

Think long-term In general, care should be taken to choose a system that receives regular and likely continuous updates in the future. Only then can it really be used purposefully in the long term. Finding out whether this condition is met is of course not easy. After all, all developers assure their customers of long-term support. However, whether a company can keep this promise can certainly be deduced from a look at the update history and generally at the existence of the respective software.

Consider security and data protection Even when acquiring social intranet software, one should think about the GDPR. With a provider from Germany, interested parties are usually on the safe side as far as data protection is concerned. Also, attention should be paid to the security-specific references of the social intranet provider.

Calculate ongoing and possibly hidden costs With interfaces for data synchronization, extensive administration surfaces, and service flat rates, the investment risk can be reduced. Before acquiring a solution, it is always worthwhile to take a close look at the fine print. Hidden costs for support, updates, and maintenance are quite possible.

Check support Not a few intranet providers happily provide their software but not really satisfactory support. Hence, interested parties should pay attention to direct customer service offers, personnel capacities, possible long-term experience with a support community, and general service references. Often, you can tell from a provider's website how strong the support is in everyday life. If chats and transparent information about customer service are offered, this reflects positively on the company. That support in the launch phase or a targeted and tailored service costs extra is quite normal. Such offers can be crucial for the long-term success of your own social intranet, which justifies an investment.