Cost to build a SharePoint manufacturing intranet: How much?

By Staff

Manufacturing intranets help companies manage manufacturing content, knowledge, and applications. Manufacturing intranets allow manufacturing professionals to come together in a centralized, digital workplace destination from all corners of the world also integrate with apps and tools to save manufacturing project teams and organizations valuable time and money.

According to Global Market Insights, the size of the collaboration market (software) will grow by 13 percent CAGR from 2016 to 2024 is estimated to exceed $8.5 billion by 2024.

In addition to ways corona virus is impacting manufacturing supply chains, much of this growth driving the big picture for work OS, web-based intranet platforms is the growing importance of manufacturing collaboration tools attributed primarily to Industry 4.0 and digital transformation with shifting workplace environments and the way teams and remote professionals work.

How EMS manufacturing quote complexity impacts OEM Industry 4.0 decisions

Organizations like Diebold, GE, United Technologies, Lutron, Embraer, UTC Aerospace Systems, Denon, Ingram Micro, Volvo, Emerson and many others can spend millions of dollars to identify project scope and build configurations, implementation, and administration to encourage collaboration in their SharePoint hardware and equipment manufacturing hubs.

Detailed costs for creating and implementing a manufacturing portal for social business collaboration can be broken down into known vs hidden costs and will vary depending whether your SharePoint server is on-premise or cloud-based. The majority of SharePoint users are cloud-based.

Known SharePoint costs

Known costs can typically be determined beforehand, and can be defined in a statement of work (SOW) for the project and, may not be considered open-ended when allocating budgets.

Intranet consultancy

Many equipment organizations seem to go this route, signing external, third-parties with SharePoint knowledge. From boutique consulting firms to large, global consultancies, proposal fees vary widely depending on project scope, SOW, contractual terms…


This might seem unimportant but creating a consistent look and feel to build a sense of community and convey your corporate culture (or to be more able to create the type of corporate culture you desire), is important.


(On-premise deployments) Computing power drives SharePoint, especially in organizations with a large user base, so your company may require new or upgraded hardware: from equipment servers supporting the database, as well as user desktop PCs and notebooks – all on adequate networking infrastructure.

But even if your SharePoint is cloud-based, you still may need to upgrade your servers for backup or you may require additional broadband connectivity, redundant internet connections, and so on.

Software licensing

Subscription vs perpetual licenses.

Annual subscriptions can be reduced if multiple years are agreed to beforehand or, some payment is made upfront. The risk to taking an annual subscription model is the trend by vendors to possibly deploy aggressive price increases once your contract expires.

Licensing for on-premise systems are also not immune to pricing changes because adding new modules and/or increasing the number of users as your manufacturing organization grows, as the value for a centralized and digitized workplace becomes more apparent, can also contribute to additional costs.

Data migration

Costs for moving data from spreadsheets and paper documents to your SharePoint system can vary based on data format and volume. Time and money invested to scrub duplicate (and obsoleted) data will also likely come into play. Hopefully, while this can be a one-time cost, this can also greatly impact organization productivity and create various other lost opportunity costs – so beware.


Vendor contracts defining support are usually annual, changing after one year ends and, include some maintenance, usually. You want to make sure software updates and bug patches are included and, be sure users are adequately trained to become familiar with ticketing issues for tracking root-cause to resolution of problems as they’re identified. If no record of problems exists, they’re not likely to be resolved.

On-premise SharePoint typically requires an annual maintenance contract, which includes support, ongoing updates, and patches for bugs and issues. On-premise or cloud, staffing IT is also required.


Training users for any software-as-a-service (SaaS) system is important. This could involve online webinars, employee travel to training centers, hosting trainers in-house, customized courses and documents, and more. Add to this the direct and indirect costs of training new employees. SharePoint, while ubiquitous in the market, is not known for being intuitive so having a good training and education budget is critical. Holding trainers to task is equally important, as is creating super users who can further offer support to your organization.

Hidden SharePoint costs

Like most tech projects, there can often be an additional amount of work needed for the project that was not anticipated. With SharePoint, this can be massive – the unseen portion of the iceberg below the water’s surface. And like the unseen portion of an iceberg, organizations can get carried away with SharePoint project scope creep and further, and further development as a clearer understanding of the sheer capabilities of a SharePoint intranet becomes more clear.

Unique tailoring and customization

Rule of thumb: On-premise SharePoint will be more customizable. While SharePoint can be clunky to work with, there are many developer tools available. Companies with SharePoint on-premise usually spend more on maintenance and major upgrades due to a higher level of customization and integrations.

SharePoint and manufacturing industry-specific consultants

SharePoint earning capability for consultants depends on market and industry expertise and, is different from SharePoint consulting project fees — which can also be dependent on industry expertise.

Specialists, for example, with digital workplaces experience focused on contract electronics manufacturing supply chains will be more expensive than consultants with general manufacturing operations experience, which will, in turn, be more expensive than a consultant with general supply chain experience, and so on. Depending on the length of experience, scope and depth of expertise SharePoint consultants working with project teams can earn low to high six figure incomes.

For project fees, depending on size of the customer organization, project scope, whether or not training and maintenance is included plus various other features and add-ons, specs or requirements SharePoint consulting projects can range from low six figures to tens of millions of dollars.

SharePoint third-party integrators

Finding suitable SharePoint integrators is key to taking logical first steps toward a centralized manufacturing digital workplace if you want to bring in outside help. More qualified SharePoint integrators will have experience with CRM systems, ERP systems, centralized content repositories and so on.

Vendors with staff consultants holding Microsoft Gold competency for collaboration and content is always a good start. Same goes with staffed Microsoft SharePoint-certified experts.

From an ERP perspective, visualizing supply chain flows and potentially critical gaps that can signal and result in slowdowns and mistakes cannot be overlooked. Enabling users to maintain collaboration with colleagues and team members even when unable to access ERP system is also important as is experience integrating SharePoint with ERP vendors like SAP, Oracle plus, other platform-based or custom ERPs.

In addition to SharePoint integration experience with CRM and ERP systems, other important integration experience to look for includes SharePoint integrators who executed successful projects where SharePoint integrators worked with coordination use of enterprise content management (ECM) systems, document management systems (DMS), email integrations and, many, many other project integrations.

The broader the depth and deeper scope of experience of the SharePoint third-party integrator, the more expensive their fees will be.

Software function and ongoing functionality add-on costs

SharePoint functionality add-ons can typically be priced based on per client access license and can be dependent on the number of devices the license is for.

Some additional SharePoint functionality that can add valuable features and functionality, but can also add up costs quickly, include:

  • Creating and maintaining an easy-to-search library of images, videos, and audio files
  • Create internal webs and sub-directories using SharePoint Site Provisioning and Governance Assistant (SPGA). Keep in mind this can make it more difficult to maintain a consistent look and feel across your organization’s digital workplace.
  • Podcasting capabilities as a way to further message colleagues, document changes, train and educate in an efficient way using SharePoint’s Podcasting Kit
  • In follow up to the above training mention, SharePoint also offers a Learning Kit, SCORM. This e-learning functionality lets super users and instructors manage SharePoint libraries and workflows for didactic environments while making it easy to create and track assignments.
  • …plus, many other tools for manufacturing sales, marketing, and customer service business objectives, and other non-sales functional groups.

While some of the features and functions are available at no cost, implementing and customizing will require thoughtful planning and execution – with hard and soft costs – whether performed internally, or through using a third-party SharePoint integrator.

SharePoint platform development

Platform development can include everything from code management and community participation to governance and quality management, the latter can help to minimize inconsistent use of SharePoint. The point being, SharePoint’s simplicity and ease-of-use means protocols for design and standards for governance are important to have in place.

Internal SharePoint super and power users and specialists

Creating SharePoint power users can help your intranet gain broader acceptance and usage across your organization. Essentially, you multiply internal advocates for using your SharePoint install and, minimize the requirements for singling out a central role for training other users.

Becoming a site administrator, usually defined as becoming an Microsoft Office 365 power user is a good step. Being able to administer internal SharePoint training is also helpful. Volunteering for SharePoint project management roles in addition to building relationships with initial SharePoint installers and integrators can also be helpful.

Saying ‘yes’ to challenges you’re confronted and presented with will likely move your training and SharePoint capabilities further along than shying away from addressing SharePoint related challenges.

Manufacturing community engagement

Once your SharePoint workspace is up and running, getting the right types of people to participate helps shape and develop depth and scope of value for your users. For example, the domain is a leading top-down, thematic, contract electronics knowledge and content center with an esoteric approach to industry problem-solving.

OEM best practices for managing EMS manufacturing RFQ quotes
OEM checklist for sourcing EMS manufacturing services

Our site is a knowledge resource designed specifically for electronics OEM equipment manufacturing decision makers sourcing and managing EMS and ODM services with helpful articles on understanding EMS costing and EMS quote pricing of services, tools, a vetted online OEM Community second to none, and more. In fact, we publish more top quality content relevant to outsourcing electronics manufacturing supply chain strategy than any other resource or industry subscription newsletter online or in print, research firms or intelligence databases.

Building an online, manufacturing networking community conveying useful value to users and encourages users to exchange interactions takes focus and time.

Manufacturing companies seeking consultants with experience in SharePoint and digital workplaces for manufacturers and their supply chains and contract electronics sourcing can get more information from some of these top consulting firms.

Come for the knowledge, stay for the network

As you move forward with planning and implementing your digital manufacturing intranet keep in mind the manufacturing community on the domain is a network of similarly-minded OEM manufacturing supply chain professionals tasked with formulating plans of action, buying and, managing contract electronics solutions. This focus helps maintain and build on the culture the domain intended on when we set out years ago.

OEM equipment manufacturing professionals who visit our site, or leverage our contract manufacturing cost models and various other EMS sourcing projecs, want to build relations with, and speak with, other manufacturing professionals who have been there, done that. This desire was the driving force behind creating our OEM Community.

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