SharePoint Intranet-in-a-Box Report from ClearBox

Every time I talk to a new client wanted to move from Jive to Microsoft 365 I have to point this out – Microsoft 365 (out of the box) is not a replacement for Jive.

Yes, there is plenty of overlap between the two products. And, yes, with recent updates from Microsoft 365/SharePoint online like Teams (much like Groups in Jive) and SharePoint Communication Sites (much like Spaces in Jive) the overlap grows with each day.

But, as it stands today, you need to either:

  1. Build a bespoke/custom Microsoft 365 Intranet or
  2. Buy/configure an “Intranet in a Box.”

I typically point this out to clients by describing two workloads when moving from Jive to Microsoft 365:

Workstream 1 – Jive Content Migration to Microsoft 365

  • Purpose is to retain corporate IP locked up in Jive and into appropriate location in Microsoft 365
  • Proof of Concept (migrate a few places) and Pilot (pick key department to migrate)
  • Production – typically done in waves and time for user acceptance and triaging/remediation of issues

Workstream 2 – Customization and User Experience

  • Decisions about making experience more Jive-like (Build vs Buy “Intranet in a Box”)
  • Implementation of either Build on Microsoft 365 or Buy and Configure “Intranet in a Box”

Enter ClearBox’s Intranet-in-a-Box Report

When prospects understand Workstream 2 they naturally ask for our recommendation for which product to buy (if they do want to buy). This is typically when I introduce them to Sam Marshall and his Intranet-in-a-Box report (use “twobb10” for 10% off).

With 34 products (and 8 “short listings”) in the latest version of the report, the first goal is to begin to shortlist which products to evaluate. This report is an essential resource to do this. Sam also describes the process of selecting a product (and as it should, it begins with your requirements as the focus and not the features of a product).

Sam and his team also added a section on which options stood out for different regions (Europe, North America, Multi-National) and different reasons (Value, User Experience). These “Intranet Choice” awards help make sure the products that should be on your short list are not overlooked.

My favorite section of the report is where Sam and his team point out the benefits of using in-a-box products vs. building on top of Microsoft 365. The table on page 11 of the report is very insightful and helpful for you and your team to make the decision about build vs buy.

On to the Product Evaluations

ClearBox focuses on these scenarios in the report: News publishing, User experience, Social and knowledge management, Search, Analytics, Employee services, Integration, and Wildcard. They provide screenshots for each of the products (typically with laptop and mobile views) for visual folks like me. They provide “price brands” for various numbers of users (500, 5,000, and 50,000).

Next, they cover details on the company and product, deployment, and support. This helps you find a fit to your company by answering questions like the location of the company and the typical client size for the product. For most of the products, you can also get a select list of customers.

The deployment section covers the versions of SharePoint / Microsoft 365 supported by the product and options for how the product is deployed. They also cover how product updates occur, mobile support, accessibility compliance and the set-up process for new clients.

Finally, in each of the product evaluations, they cover technical support, user community, and partners/resellers. This section was invaluable to me – as a service provider some of the companies work through a partner model and some companies go direct (and provide product and services).

Next, we get product highlights with plenty of visuals and insights from the ClearBox team. This includes suggested areas to improve and considerations. To wrap up the review, they share what’s next up on the roadmap for the product.

And then on to the next 33 products. Which is why this report is over 400 pages long.

The last section covers some new products for “newer and niche offerings.”

Some Personal Thoughts

Many of these offerings are from services companies like ThreeWill that decided to build a product.  We’ve decided to focus on Workload 1 and partner with companies – here’s an example.  We learned the lesson years ago that you need to focus on one or the other. If I have any advice from my experience, it is…make sure the company is committed to the product and will be investing in the product in upcoming years. There’s nothing worse than owning a product that is no longer supported and/or doesn’t have a roadmap because the company has reverted back to services.  This happens.  Trust me (I’ve had to “put down” several products because I ran out of runway).


I recommend purchasing this report for clients for the following reasons:

  1. You want to understand the current market ecosystem for “Intranet-in-a-Box” products for SharePoint and Microsoft 365.
  2. You are trying to decide whether to build vs buy.
  3. You need to do “due-diligence” around what products are in the market since this decision is one you will live with for years (chatting with Sam I found out that it took a team of 10 people over 700 hours of work to produce and that it saves buyers over 15 working days of effort to select a product…paying for itself in no time).
  4. You are a partner like ThreeWill and want to understand the opportunity in this market.

* We don’t make anything off of this – it just lets Sam know we referred you and how awesome we are as a partner.

Danny RyanSharePoint Intranet-in-a-Box Report from ClearBox

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