Unily, the one and only

2016 is the first year an as-a-Service product has won the Best Intranet Design award, bucking the trend of long custom builds.

For the last fifteen years, research firm the Nielsen Norman Group has been producing their Intranet Design Annual review looking at the 10 best intranets of the year. For nearly the entire fifteen-year history, it has been dominated by long custom intranet builds. And rightly so as an expert look at the industry, it is truly reflective of the technology at the time.

This year we’ve seen some remarkable changes in the intranet market. Build time was at an all-time high in 2011 with an average of a whopping 6.2 years. This year we’ve seen it fall to 1.3 years. BrightStarr’s winning intranet project for dorma+kaba was completed in just 60 days. How were we able to build and implement a brand new intranet so quickly?

The key to this success was Unily, our as-a-Service solution. 2016 is the first year an as-a-Service product has won the prestigious award, bucking the trend of long custom builds. As-a-Service solutions are a trend we’ve seen rapidly expand into the market over the last year.

With 80% of organizations having the same core requirements for their intranet, it’s not hard to see why. Many industry experts are expecting to see this out-of-the-box approach continue to grow exponentially.


Out-of-the-box, or as-a-Service, doesn’t mean all the same. While taking the same basic structure and applications, each intranet is still personalized and customized to individual company’s requirements. dorma+kaba’s intranet included a responsive web design as well as a native mobile app for iOS, Android and Windows phones.

Rather than being a restrictive ‘one size fits all approach’, as-a-Service is allowing technology firms to create dynamic and enhanced intranets in a fraction of the time. And even with the incredible growth of as-a-Service, don’t expect the best custom intranet builds to disappear. 20% of the market will still have specific requirements that don’t fit into the as-a-Service model, a sizeable chunk of the intranet market.

dorma+kaba’s winning intranet was also the only one built on Office 365 to feature on Nielsen Norman’s annual list.


As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Office 365 sits at the core of our Unily Intranets and is a key component to their success, with its apps and tools that employees are already familiar with helping to increase adoption and consumption.

As we’ve seen in the past, SharePoint continues to dominate the intranet scene with 9/10 of the winning intranets built either solely on SharePoint 2013 or with an accompanying platform. dorma+kaba’s was built as an integration of SharePoint Online and Office 365, utilizing the cloud computing platform Azure and Enterprise Social Network Yammer. With all the applications sitting seamlessly within the platform, their 16,000 employees are benefiting from the same easy user experience.

Could your organization benefit from as-a-Service?

Will Saville Co-Founder

A serial entrepreneur since his early twenties, Will co-founded BrightStarr in 2006 with Rich. Will was previously a professional chef which allowed him to express his visual creativity and aesthetics. Rich, on the other hand, was a physicist with an incredible curiosity to discover how things worked and how to make them even better. After working together at a previous company, they soon discovered that when they brought their talents together, they were able to generate remarkably engaging and disruptive solutions.

During the next 5 years, Will helped grow the company to become a globally recognized brand in the SharePoint market. Will thrives on creating exceptional user experiences that are unrivalled across the SharePoint industry and is obsessed pushing the limits of technology and innovating. Will is still heavily involved with the business 10 years since launch and spends most of his time working on the Unily products, ensuring they’re the most innovative, usable and consumed SharePoint products out there.

In 2009 Will was recognized for his achievements and selected as one of the UK’s top 30 Young Entrepreneurs winning the coveted Young Guns award.

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