An intranet is a great way to improve communication, collaboration, and knowledge sharing within your organization.
A modern SharePoint intranet takes it a step further. By leveraging SharePoint and incorporating efficient Office 365 applications – including OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, Power BI, Yammer, Flow and PowerApps – you can dramatically improve internal communications and increase employee efficiency.
Before your team can fully realize the benefits of a modern SharePoint intranet though, you need to build it properly. We put together some tips to help you get started.
1. Identify The Purpose For Building A SharePoint Intranet
Before you start building your SharePoint intranet, it’s important to identify the key business use cases for which it will be used. Ask these questions as you start the project:
- What are some of the outcomes your organization aims to achieve once the intranet is in use?
- Which kind of intranet is best for your use cases — a hub site? Communicate site? Or team site?
- Which departments will be using it? HR? Finance? Internal Comms/PR? Everyone?
- What information and applications do users access on a regular basis? Calendars? Tasks? Reporting?
It’s imperative that the use of the SharePoint intranet is aligned with the needs of the business. IT can no longer stand-alone. An intranet should be driven by the user community with input from all key departments (Marketing, HR, Legal, Finance, C-Level, and Communications).
A solid commitment to business and IT alignment, where you include all your IT and business stakeholders, is critical for success and user adoption.
Before building your intranet, set meetings for planning and discussions to pinpoint the purpose then to align all parties involved in the process. By understanding your stakeholders’ specific requirements and clearly communicating why an intranet will benefit them, you will be on the right path to better collaboration and buy-in.
2. Focus On Functionality And Usability
One of the strengths of a SharePoint intranet is how visually pleasing you can make the site. It can look like an actual website that people want to visit every day!
However, a ‘Build it and they will come’ perspective doesn’t work with this type of solution.
While you’re in the planning stage of your project, consider the various use cases of your employees who will be using the SharePoint intranet. What content and applications will they access? How can the intranet be personalized to each employee?
That’s why it’s critical to speak with stakeholders and employees who will be using the tool daily. Think about the type of content you will be presenting and make sure you have the stakeholders in place to ensure your content will remain fresh with constant ongoing updates.
How will the pages be structured? How will users navigate? How can we make it easier to find information?
Gathering answers and mapping your project plan to these use cases should be your top priorities. Focus more on the functionality at the beginning of the intranet build project and incorporate visual branding elements later.
Intranets vary by customer, but consider if/how you may want to use some of these components:
- Quick links
- Social Features
- People Search
- Social Features
- Calendars and Events
- Company Classifieds
- Employee Directory / Organization Chart
- Business Process Automation (Expenses, Vacations/ time off, Onboarding, etc.)
3. Nail Your Information Architecture
It’s not the most exciting aspect of building a SharePoint intranet, but ensuring you have a well-defined information architecture (IA) and site structure is crucial to success.
When applied intelligently, the right IA combined with structured metadata helps your employees find documents faster using SharePoint’s powerful search engine. However, if it’s overly complicated to add metadata, or your chosen terms are too vague, then employees will give up on their search and will revert to their old habits of using the wrong tools to find information or to collaborate.
Our team mapped four more best practices for you to follow and implement when building a SharePoint intranet. Get access to them here in this free guide.
Bottom Line On Building An Intranet
With a solid plan in place, building your modern SharePoint intranet can be an easy and seamless process, and you’re on the road to improved communications, collaboration, and operations.
Download the full, free guide of best practices for building a modern SharePoint intranet for your organization.
And let us know if you have any questions or need any help.