Should My Law Firm Build a Custom Intranet or Start with Infodash?

law firm custom intranet


Over the past few months, we’ve met with a few law firms that have been weighing the option of starting with a platform like Infodash or deciding to build a custom intranet on SharePoint Online.  The thought behind going full custom on SharePoint Online is that this would allow the firm to build exactly what they want from the start.  This sounds enticing, but when you compare the time and cost associated with starting from ground zero to what you would get out of the box with Infodash, there’s really no contest.  To use a football analogy, starting with Infodash puts the firm on the other team’s 20-yard line out of the box, while going full custom puts the law firm 2 yards deep in their own endzone.  It would take a firm thousands of hours and significantly more money to get anywhere near what Infodash provides out of the box.  For firms embarking on intranet upgrade projects, there are several reasons to start with Infodash rather than go full custom in SharePoint Online, and this post outlines four primary considerations in making this decision.

Speed and Cost

Undertaking an intranet upgrade project can feel daunting.  And rightly so if you decide to go full custom.  Building your intranet from the ground up on SharePoint Online will likely take thousands of hours depending on the firms’ needs.  On the other hand, firms that use the Infodash platform as a starting point can get the first version of their new intranet up and running within a matter of days.  Including planning, initial configuration, implementation, and training, the typical Infodash implementation takes 80 hours or less.  Once planning is complete, the actual implementation of Infodash takes less than 2 hours.  This gives your firm a powerful starting point to start customization work in just a couple of weeks as opposed to months or longer.  With Infodash, out of the box, you immediately have access to components and tools that have taken thousands of hours to build.  And everything in Infodash was built from working with more than 50 firms over the past several years, so the use cases of those firms will likely be relevant to your firm.  We’ve found that, upon implementing Infodash for firms, the out of the box tools and components meet up to 90% of firm’s requirements.  This puts you closer to your goal state in dramatically less time.

What does a six-plus month project cost your firm vs. a three-month project? If time is money, the cost of starting from ground zero vs. starting with Infodash is polarizing.  Infodash pricing is simple, fair and the economically smart decision when you understand how much you get versus what it would take to build out the same functionality yourself.

Infodash API

Connecting to your business data to deliver relevant, actionable, and informative data is the cornerstone of any intranet. Without it your intranet will not generate the adoption you desire.  Creating an API layer for a single data source can be a time-consuming process, let alone creating connectivity to multiple applications. The Infodash API has built-in knowledge from years of integrations with legal specific systems and customer use cases. Infodash delivers a dynamic and scalable architecture that allows you to connect to your DMS and as many line-of-business systems you need, all under a single license. You don’t have to worry about how many connections you have. If the data exists, we can get you connected.

Once of the main advantages of the Infodash API is the dynamic entity model used to deliver data. The dynamic entity model allows administrators to quickly and easily connect to data sources in a secure way. Administrators can define the data structure, required inputs, caching, and security for every endpoint and the changes are reflected in the application immediately.

Combine the Infodash API with the Infodash Connection Manager and you’ve unleashed the power of data to your content managers. These two technologies simplify access to data and the ability to display the data on screen. Any of the 40+ components can be used to display your Infodash API data on a SharePoint page, all via an easy-to-use connection wizard.

The Infodash API can also act as the gateway to your business data using other M365 services.  Maybe you need access to your business data to make a decision via Power Automate, or you are looking to sync/aggregate data into SharePoint via sync. The Infodash API is available to all other M365 apps because of the tight integration with Azure AD (Microsoft Identity Provider).

The Infodash API uses modern authentication and adheres to all of your organizational security policies out of the box. Do you have MFA enabled for your tenant? No problem, the Infodash API sits behind the Microsoft Identity Platform and uses Azure AD to authenticate and verify all users. Do you need to securely connect to business data on-premise? The Infodash API works with Azure Hybrid Connections to connect to data inside (or outside) your firewall without having to create a DMZ, firewall rules, VIPs or the alike.

Using the Infodash API you can go from concept to solution in days (or less) rather than months. Built with simplicity and security in mind, the Infodash API will supercharge your intranet implementation and provide your users with data they need to connect, collaborate and be productive.

Out of the Box Component Library

Out of the box, Infodash Core comes with over 40 pre-built components (and growing!) to help your firm build custom experiences that improve connection, collaboration and productivity.  And almost every component has several look and feel option variations that can be leveraged to personalize those experiences.  Components like Custom Navigation, People, Cards, Celebrations, Events, Charts, and Search Hub are just a few examples of components that could easily take weeks, if not months, to build from scratch.  With Infodash, you get these components on day one. 

Another benefit of using the Infodash component library is that every component can leverage persona targeting.  For example, maybe your attorneys should see an “Attorney Toolkit” link in their navigation, but non-attorneys shouldn’t.  Or maybe timekeepers get billing KPI dashboards that provide reports on their personal client and matter stats, where non-timekeepers don’t.   Are you in the New York Office?  You probably don’t need to see that maintenance is happening in the Atlanta office today.  Persona targeting lets you provide personalized experiences and the ability to personalize experiences to each user that accesses the intranet so that they are getting value every time they visit.

But what if there’s not a component that matches our firms’ requirements?  Infodash has two components to address this – first is Infodash Canvas.  With Infodash Canvas, you can write your own HTML, JavaScript, and CSS to develop a custom webpart.  Second is Infodash Dynamic Components (or as we like to call it, Bring Your Own Code – BYOC).  With BYOC, your team can write full stack components using React, or any code you want, and import it into your Infodash component library.  The real benefit is that, with both Infodash Canvas and Infodash Dynamic Components, once imported into your Infodash library, it gets wrapped with our Infodash API, so you can use our Connection Manager to pull in data from every firm system you’ve already connected to Infodash, and persona target components or data as needed.

Continuous Upgrades

If you are building a custom intranet for your law firm on SharePoint Online, every update and upgrade requires more time and more money.  On the flip side, upgrades to Infodash Core are made available to all subscribers every four to six weeks.  This means if another Infodash subscriber firm requests a custom component, once we’ve built the component, it is released to all current subscribers.  This crowdsourced approach to new feature and functionality development means two things for your firm: 1) you to get access to new features and functionality on a regular cadence at no additional cost and 2) new features and functionality introduced to the platform are built from real firm requirements, not just our guess at what you might like.  Innovation and continuous improvement of the Infodash platform is extremely important for our clients and this approach ensures your firm always has access to the latest features and functionalities required by the industry.


When you weigh the variables involved in going full custom intranet vs. starting with Infodash for your law firm intranet upgrade, there’s really no question as to the better path.  Whether it’s from a time, cost or feature/functionality perspective, leveraging Infodash for your firm intranet is the smart decision.  To learn more about Infodash and what you get out of the box, please contact us to schedule a demo.

Comments are closed.