to build customized,
branded intranet for clients
sites built in just
How ShortPoint helped CMI stand
out in a crowded
I had no idea intranet consultancy would become so big for us! And none of it would have been possible without ShortPoint’s incredible software and support team.
Head of Modern Workplace, CMI
Operating from offices in Belfast, London, and Thames Valley, CMI is one of the UK’s largest and most trusted names in IT.
CMI was eager to support clients with intranet consultancy, but was discouraged by the time and costs it involved.
As a customer-focused Managed Service Provider (MSP) in an ultra-competitive marketplace, CMI is always on the lookout for new opportunities to make a positive impact on their clients’ businesses.
The IT experts knew that the modern workplace is evolving at an exponential rate. Many clients were increasingly embracing tools such as Microsoft Teams and SharePoint to improve collaboration as they integrate remote work into their culture. CMI was eager to support clients as they adjust to this new reality by adding intranet consulting and development to their product mix.
Just like our customers, we were keen to streamline access to key information for our own staff and improve engagement and collaboration. So I took on the task of manually building a modern intranet and workspace for CMI. If we could make it work for our own business, then we’d have confidence it was a service we could also sell to our clients to benefit their businesses.
“In a new age of digital collaboration, our clients were increasingly finding that the information, documents and knowledge employees needed to do their jobs were scattered around and not easy to find,” says CMI’s Head of Modern Workplace, Johan Venables.
“To support better collaboration and communication, we started looking into how we could develop intranet sites for them to consolidate important data and tools, make everything easy to find, improve productivity, and improve business outcomes," he further explained.
As CMI contemplated selling intranet development to clients, they also saw a strong case to develop their own.
Unfortunately, turning their intranet vision into reality was far from straightforward. While Johan was an expert in SharePoint, he admits he didn’t have a huge amount of web development background. As a result, when he tried to manually build and code CMI’s internal site, it proved frustrating and time-consuming.
“I spent a lot of time online trying to find the right CSS codes and also spoke to several people in and out of the business before I could even start coding the site,” says Johan. “After six months of development, alongside my other responsibilities, I’d developed three pages and even those weren’t perfect. It felt like a waste of my time and I was so frustrated towards the end that I almost gave up."
Johan also realized that if manually coding sites was this complex and time-consuming, it wouldn’t be the viable new product for clients that he’d hoped.
Despite the evident challenges, CMI wasn’t ready to let the idea go. And Johan had an epiphany!
I Googled to see if there was anything else out there that could help make my life easier - and then I found ShortPoint. Suddenly we saw a way to make intranet development a viable business proposition and create a point of difference that enabled us to stand out from other MSPs.
Without expertise in-house to do intranet development - which is the case for most MSPs - the only way to roll out the service would have been to outsource the work. However, typical costs were around £70-100k.
Head of Modern Workplace, CMI
CMI searched for a tool that will make it easy for them to build beautiful intranets and give them the opportunity to create more value for their clients' businesses
Before CMI discovered ShortPoint, they briefly considered one other competitor.
“It just didn’t have the flexibility or customization that we needed,” says Johan. “You only got to choose from a limited number of standard templates, which you couldn’t customize or brand beyond uploading your logo. This wasn’t anywhere near what we needed to develop the advanced branding and design we and our clients were looking for.”
ShortPoint, on the other hand, felt like it was the ideal solution from the get-go. It had all the tools and functions to enable CMI to design, brand and build intranets with zero coding. It allowed them to transform the task of developing intranets from frustrating and costly to fast and profitable.
“With ShortPoint, I immediately appreciated the large number of templates they have available and the fact that you can copy just an element of that page,” he says. “So you can grab certain sections and bring it all nicely together in a truly custom way, which really makes ShortPoint stand out for me.”
After purchasing a license, which was flexible to their specific design and user needs, Johan put ShortPoint straight to the test to design CMI’s own intranet. The platform was so simple and intuitive, he couldn’t believe how fast it all came together.
ShortPoint has led to a more streamlined process, refined our workflow, and enabled us to bring more money in.
First, he used ShortPoint’s Theme Builder to create overarching colors, branding, and design for the site. He changed fonts, layout, and branding with absolutely no coding and in just a few clicks.
Next, he created individual site pages with ShortPoint's Page Builder. He had over 60 design elements to choose from to match his content and the overall page layout and design he wanted to achieve. This included backgrounds, buttons, accordions, pull quotes, images and more.
Another function he appreciated was the ability to copy and paste sections from professionally designed templates, giving him the best of both worlds: advanced design and customization all rolled into one.
The customization tools that come with ShortPoint allow you to quickly apply branding, upload fonts, and other design elements, so it’s such a customizable tool to build an intranet site.
All these were completed without laborious backend work or coding.
“Within a week, I’d created a really detailed workspace for all CMI’s information sharing. It includes a landing page, information on our products and services, ISO information, news feeds from top security companies, and department pages that make it easy to identify the right people to collaborate with. Where it had all been so frustrating before, suddenly I was able to build sites that looked fantastic and took up so much less of my time.”
Another feature that Johan appreciated was the number of integrations that come with ShortPoint.
“We have so many third-party Cloud applications that we needed to get into the same pages, and ShortPoint’s integrations made it easy,” he says. “You can embed PowerApps, incorporate a Yammer feed, and because ShortPoint supports REST APIs, you can plug into any other system that's available online.”
Johan knew he’d struck gold. He built CMI’s internal website so beautifully and so quickly that he now felt confident about rolling out the same service to CMI’s customers. After a period of research and discussion, CMI launched two new intranet development and consultancy options for its clients.
CMI provides intranet development, using ShortPoint, as a fully managed service. The team first provides consultancy hours to determine the information clients want to include, then delivers a full site build using ShortPoint, and manages any changes or page updates moving forward.
Clients purchase a ShortPoint license through CMI. Then they provide comprehensive training on the platform before the client starts to develop and manage their sites.
ShortPoint's design extensions and functions don't just make Johan's life easier, they add clear value to CMI's clients and their businesses.
“One of my favorite features, as well as many of our clients, is the user buckets where you can sync your team members. It’s really useful for getting to know your team and it brings people together. Every time I present it to our clients, they just love that idea,” says Johan. “Another massive plus point is ShortPoint’s integration with PowerBI. The majority of our clients use PowerBI, and need us to incorporate different data points and reports in their intranet pages. With ShortPoint’s integrations we just select the data source we want from a drop-down menu and it’s done! It’s so easy and straightforward to implement.”
As soon as I realized ShortPoint enables you to build intranets without any knowledge of coding or CSS and that onboarding was so simple and required little training I knew it was going to work really, really well for our business and our customers.
Head of Modern Workplace, CMI
In just a week, CMI was able to create sites for their clients, resulting in new revenue streams and more satisfied customers!
ShortPoint enabled CMI to integrate a brand new service into its portfolio, a feat that just wasn’t financially viable before.
ShortPoint created new revenue streams for CMI, helping them ensure client satisfaction and win more business opportunities.
ShortPoint has really benefited us as a business. We’ve already built 60 intranets for our clients and that number grows all the time. I had no idea intranet consultancy would become so big for us! And none of it would have been possible without ShortPoint’s incredible software and support team.
ShortPoint made the job of building intranets more efficient. Before ShortPoint, it took Johan six months to develop a site. With ShortPoint, CMI builds a full site in just one week!
“It’s so fast to develop sites for our clients with ShortPoint,” he says. “All we need to do is some consultancy around understanding our client’s requirements and the challenges that they have, and then guide them on what sort of information they should share on an intranet page. Doing the actual development work in ShortPoint from that point on is so straight forward.”
“It's just putting all those pieces together and making sure the client's happy with the branding, the way the site is going to look like, and the information that they’re going to present. And ShortPoint makes all of that easy.”
When you reach out to ShortPoint, they get on it straightaway. Often, we think something’s going to be a massive job and ShortPoint turns it into an easy fix.
Head of Modern Workplace, CMI
Johan says that by offering intranet consultancy as a service, CMI has an important competitive edge.
“It's definitely helped us stand out from other MSPs, because intranet development has never really been a service MSPs have looked at providing,” he says. “We've learned so much throughout this whole experience by using ShortPoint.”
In addition to ShortPoint’s fantastic software, Johan hugely appreciates the responsive support CMI receives from ShortPoint’s team. It’s been another critical aspect in helping CMI go from zero to hero on intranet development.
This dedicated and reliable support gives us confidence to sell the service to our customers. We rely heavily on ShortPoint to help and support us with any teething issues we may have. So that helps boost the confidence in resellingShortPoint to our customers.
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