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Sustainable intranet strategies

Intranets help organizations achieve their highest potential by aligning business goals and insight with employee know-how. To bridge the communication gap, organizations must provide a coherent and fluid intranet experience that can be deployed, managed and extended easily.

Microsoft gives you the right tools for the job - SharePoint, One Drive, Teams – to build a sustainable intranet featuring:

  • A web-like backbone for your organization (SharePoint sites)
  • A set of common resources grouped by business logic (SharePoint libraries, One Drive repositories)
  • A communication channel which enables meetings and keeps the team assets connected and synchronized (Microsoft Teams)
  1. The challenge: Intranets are not supporting their organizations and businesses as they were intended to.

    Intranets are meant to bring structure and clarity to your organization. However, in practice, intranets have proven to be an opaque set of files, bundled randomly or inconsistently, hard to access, hard to maintain, hard to deploy. So how can we manage a complete intranet roundtrip for our organizations the easy way without sacrificing complexity?

  2. The solution: Manage your intranet’s lifecycle with an integrated tool kit.

    Good technology makes our lives easier and our business more productive without making us go through a painful learning process. Microsoft’s suite is intuitive, integrated, and intelligent giving you an out-of-the-box solution for your sustainable intranet.

    Your intranet must be your trustworthy business companion, an enabler for your highest business potential. To make the most out of your intranet, build a dynamic space with the Microsoft tools that work together organically for you.

  3. The strategies: Build a modern, scalable, portable Intranet with SharePoint.
  • Create a web-like backbone with SharePoint sites.
  • Organize your common resources by business logic, purpose, audience and store them in SharePoint libraries or OneDrive.
  • Communicate by enabling dedicated channels and building team infrastructure with Teams.
  1. Use an infrastructure that withstands the test of time.

    SharePoint saves you the trouble of:

    • Building your intranet from scratch.
    • Buying and maintaining a separate intranet domain.
    • Acquiring expertise knowledge in creating intranet sites.
    • Hiring specialized staff for deploying intranet sites.

    The SharePoint infrastructure is handled by Microsoft on an ongoing basis, so you do not need to worry about downtime, updates, compatibility. If you are already working with the Microsoft 365 suite, you already have your infrastructure in place and you can start using it.

  2. Create an intranet that grows as you grow.

    SharePoint enables all users to build sites which make up the web experience of your organization’s intranet. Site creation is a self-service process:

    • Choose a site type: communication, team, document center, enterprise wiki, publishing portal, project web app site.
    • Use the provided templates and craft your site with predefined web parts and options from lists, libraries, drag&drop repositories.
    • Brand it and make it compliant with your style guide.
    • Add your content by editing it inline, by copy-pasting it from Word or elsewhere, by linking it.
    • Publish and deploy as often as needed with a click.
    • Associate the site with its content owners straight from your corporate directory.
    • Scale it with new sites and site pages.
    • Enforce cross-site navigation with links.

    You created your intranet, but your technical requirements have grown in complexity? Do you have to erase everything and start fresh? Not at all! Once you have a Microsoft-based intranet in place you can build more structure and custom complexity into it, not on top of it. How? Microsoft gives your developers a series of standards and frameworks to work with: Office UI Fabrics, Framework (SPFx), PnP Starter Kit.

  3. Keep you content centralized and secure.

    SharePoint sites are virtual workspaces where content is:

    • Retrieved securely - Populate your site with content from your corporate repositories or One Drive to enforce single-sourcing.
    • Stored securely - The site content cannot be accessed by anyone outside your organization unless given explicit permissions.
    • Shared securely - Intranets are built for internal staff. Keep some site assets private with more granular permissions.

    As site creators, check the embedded site analytics (unique users, page views, most viewed items) and adapt your high visibility content.

  4. Build your site with purpose in mind, learn from its analytics and adapt on that basis.

    SharePoint sites are always built with the target audience in mind.

    • Create a communication site to present and share one-way information.
    • Create a team site to facilitate interaction with a 365 group corresponding to a Teams channel where notes, documents, tasks, calendar are shared and where collaboration is key.

    As site creators, check the embedded site analytics (unique users, page views, most viewed items) and adapt your high visibility content.

  5. Automate processes and avoid offline roundtrips.

    Automating processes means that you no longer need to wonder whether the information you are reading is unreliable (because it is not the latest), whether the information you manage is prone to waste (because of hundreds of local copies or versions), whether you use a single-point of reference information (instead of duplicates).

    Here are some available automation levels:

    • Set notifications and alerts to be triggered when content is added or updated, when a workflow step needs your input, when a new aggregate of news and links is ready.
    • Configure workflows to automate processes and keep the relevant people in the loop without them or you ever leaving the intranet. The content that makes the object of a workflow is kept in situ at all times, is never copy-pasted, is never downloaded and attached to an email, but rather simply shared. Stakeholders are sent emails automatically and their input is collected via quick responses embedded in the email. To reconcile latency and collaboration, use:
      • Publish approval workflows for tightly controlled content releases
      • Approval workflows for decision-making processes which require tiered consent
      • Three-state workflows for monitoring the status of an asset, a task or a project over a period of time
      • Collect signature workflows for speeding up the sign-off of important documents (Word, Excel, InfoPath forms)
      • Collect feedback workflows for centralizing review

    Do you need more advanced automation? Ask technical staff to work on a content organizer, an engine which distributes the documents you upload in a bulk repository to their rightful place or in between sites.

  6. Adapt to any device.

    Your intranet, powered with sites, connected teams, document hubs, collaborative sharing, is your digital office which can be accessed anywhere, anytime, from any device. When you build your intranet with SharePoint, you build responsive sites without even knowing it.

    Access you assets from your phone or tablet to keep up to speed with the latest developments, check things quickly, preview files, approve a process, hit a publish button. Access your assets from your laptop or desktop to perform more difficult tasks, analyses, and prepare reports.

    Balance your workload per device while you are on the move, working from home or from the office.

  7. Empower knowledge curation and sharing.

    Microsoft Office is a popular suite of products enabling users to create and engage with a form of content, making its edit features and capabilities common knowledge.

    As SharePoint site creators content editing is relatable because it is so similar to the staple rules of Office editing, making the entire experience smooth, relatable, repeatable. Let other people in your organization shadow your work and become site authors in less than a day because the underlying principles are already very familiar.

    As SharePoint site consumers, build customized feeds, most popular lists, consult or collaborate on content, navigate the site via links. Personalize your experience to know faster, share easier, contribute better.

In a nutshell: With Microsoft SharePoint, your intranet will work for you and with you, not against you.

SharePoint, OneDrive and Teams offer you a connected way of managing a future-proof intranet where:

  • Content is always accurate because you always access the latest version.
  • Knowledge can always be extended, classified, and shared with the intended audience.
  • Team collaboration is done in one place (a 365 group, a communication channel, a common set of documents, a calendar, and a meeting feature).
  • Communication assets are centralized and can be accessed from any device at any time.
  • Security is built-in and permission-based.
  • Intranet editing is straightforward and no more difficult than classic Word editing, but enabling you to drag & drop, rearrange and upload the components of your choice.
  • Intranet updates are deployed with a single click.