An intranet – an internal website that only company staff can see and use – is an important communication tool for any business. When used to its full potential, an intranet can be an indispensable tool for management to communicate a wide range of material with employees, as well as a central hub for collaboration and communication between staff members.
Companies who launch an intranet initiative often choose Microsoft SharePoint, as this platform provides two choices, each of which can be highly successful depending on the particular needs of the business at hand:
1) Stick closely with out of the box functionality.
2) Create a highly customised design.
Bespoke versus Out-of-the-Box
We have worked on many bespoke solutions that turned out to be truly inspired, innovative masterpieces. We have also worked on exceptional out-of-the-box solutions, which delivered well-designed, precise, and adept platforms for internal communication and collaboration.
Highly bespoke solutions can deliver impressive customised interfaces, user experiences, and features, and can be the perfect solution for companies who can afford to invest in ongoing support of their system. At the same time, sticking a little more closely to an out-of-the-box solution can sometimes be a less risky approach, particularly with SharePoint Online fast-moving upgrades that can impact customised solutions in unexpected ways.
So, what ingredients make a great SharePoint intranet?
Top 5 Must-Have Ingredients for a great Sharepoint Intranet
- The User Interface
The User Interface should reflect your brand, be engaging, and draw users in. Use of imagery and video can add vibrancy and enhance the communication experience. Users should be able to use the intranet and find the information they need without training: it should be intuitive!
- Search and Findability
Users need to be able to find what they are looking for. Logical navigation structures and a reliable search function ensure that users don’t become frustrated. The navigation structure should be relevant to employees. Search should be well-configured, enable users to use an advanced option, and provide narrow results. Consideration needs to be given to the type of content present, and it should be indexed accordingly.
Especially with larger intranets, personalising and targeting information becomes more beneficial. Having departmental news rolling up to the home page, and allowing users to select the types of information they are interested in helps engage your users and keep them coming back.
- Anywhere, Any Device
Responsive design is now imperative. With more companies providing the ability to access their systems from multiple devices, intranets need to not only operate well on desktops, but on tablets and phones as well. The design must also be functional across multiple browsers.
- Keep Content Relevant
In order to make the intranet your employee’s ‘go-to’ place to communicate—the default location they feel compelled to log into every day—the content should be pertinent, up-to-date, and fresh. The home page should have news and information that is continually updated, together with links to highly trafficked pages. You may need a team of content editors who are well trained and dedicated to keeping the content relevant and timely.
There are many benefits to having an intranet, it is a tool that can be used to share information, encourage collaboration, motivate staff, and increase productivity. Choosing SharePoint as a platform provides many options to fit the needs of any business, including highly customised solutions, out-of-the-box solutions, and some steps in between. Whichever choice a business makes, if they follow the five points outlined above, they will be heading in the right direction for a beneficial and successful intranet that will result in a more streamlined organisation.