24 days of collaboration celebrations – No. 2
Next gen intranet?
❌✔️❔Somebody said some years back that intranet is dead. Now it is all about fast messaging and such, and only to use Slack, Zoom and Microsoft Teams type of communication tools for intranet.
⏳Still, the years have passed, and even after a pandemic where “everybody” discovered these fast communication tools, intranet still prevails. At the same time, what exactly is intranet today?
📰💡As I see it, intranet is where you go to find company information, templates, guides and guidelines and news about what is going in our company. In our new world of digital communication and collaboration, the intranet is not necessarily just one tool. Intranet can comprise of several tools, e.g. a Teams channel called “Announcement” in a department team in Teams, it can be news articles either on the SharePoint Online (hereafter SPO) Team site associated with Teams, on a SPO Communication site, an article or newsletter on Microsoft Sway, a video embedded on a SPO site (which can be either of the above mentioned SharePoint sites), it can be a Yammer post, and it can be all of these, or none.
What if my intranet is not in SharePoint Online or Microsoft 356?
You have started using Microsoft Teams for meetings, have you also seen what the SPO Communication site or SPO Team sites can do? Perhaps you are using Episerver, SharePoint on-prem or other solutions for your intranet, or you just use file share and is happy about that, or perhaps you are using a combination of all of these.
To really bring your intranet to the next level using the Microsoft 365 platform you are already paying for, I would recommend you to explore the possibilities for how to really build an interesting, engaging, relevant and up to date intranet using SPO Communication site.
There are many great templates in the SharePoint Lookbook. In my first of the 24 Collaboration celebrations blogs I wrote a little about Microsoft Learning Pathway, which is great for creating a learning and knowledge portal. In addition there is a great HR and new resources onboarding template, and many more.
PS! Not familiar with SharePoint? I’ll write about the different “SharePoints” in another blog and will link to that when it is ready. 😉
Move or migrate from Episerver, SharePoint on-prem, or other solution?
Moving over from existing solutions to SPO Communication site is not necessarily a one to one move. Depending on what solution(-s) you have currently and what type of content it consists of, there are different options.
🚚Sometimes it can be a good idea to do a migration bringing all the content on to SPO Communication site, or a combination of SPO communication site or SPO Team site. There are great migration tools like ShareGate and AvePoint and more. Check them out or ask a partner to help you.
Other times it might be better to “archive” your current solution, and start new, and only move over items that should stay alive. Think of it like moving house. You might not want to bring everything from the old house into the new, some things can be recycled, some things are thrown or given away, or sold, some things moved to a storage, and the rest you’ll keep and you might buy a new sofa. Considering that you are moving into a new digital world. Your intranet is not only one tool, and it is a combination of several tools, such as illustrated above. It can be wise to look at what you have got, what you want to keep, and restructure how and where you want to store, share and publish information.
- 📜Instead of all department leaders collecting info from their teams, writing long newsletters to their teams (honestly, they don’t have time for that!), instead will use the “Announcement” channel in the department team in Teams or Yammer for regular information sharing and news, it can also be a videoblog every Friday morning, shared in respective channels. Information about the department can be presented on a page, or a whole site, on SPO Communication site, where everybody in the organization can read about what they are doing.
- 🧑🏼🚒The HSE templates can be shared from a common document library on the SPO Communication site, which is the main intranet portal, and from each department team in Teams one of the tabs in a relevant channel can link to these HSE templates.
Build a team:
There are many options and no correct or wrong answers. My recommendation is to explore what these new tools in Microsoft 365 can do and decide on how you want to use them and structure your content and information. If this new territory, get help from someone to help you. Do remember it is not a one-person show, involve those responsible for the content, and make a joint force group that will manage and run this moving forward.
Use Microsoft Teams as intranet?
It’s possible to use Microsoft Teams as intranet. You can create channels and use these for your communication channels. However, if you are more than 8-10 people in the company it can be worthwhile exploring using the SPO Team site that is associated with Teams and utilize the functionalities you have there. You can make great pages with information and news articles, with embedded videos and content.
SharePoint Online Communication site
SPO Communication site is a great tool to use as a company portal, as it has nice design and it is possible to add images, text, news articles, and much more, such as Yammer and Twitter feeds to bring forth the latest and greatest.
For bigger organizations it can be a good idea to create hub sites where you connect several related SPO Communication sites together. E.g. each department can have their own SPO Communication site that they are responsible for. These are then connected to the main portal, and all news articles from respective departments are aggregated on to the main portal.
Read about SharePoint hub sites here.
Who can set up SPO Communication sites?
The SPO Communication sites are easy and pretty straightforward to work with. Still, to be able to make a good one, some basic understand and knowledge of SharePoint is a prerequisite. There are a lot of good material to learn from in the sources mentioned above, as well as You tube channels and blogs.
✨This video demo by Cathy Dew and Katie Swanson is great inspiration for how to build a nice SPO site.💡
I believe anyone can make great SPO communication sites. Still, understand the principles of how to work with SharePoint, and keep yourself updated on new functionalities, and you’ll get the hang of it in no time. Some experience and understanding of communication and how to bring messages to people can be a good help. Usually I ask for the communication responsible when I am helping a new customer to set up their SharePoint. They can provide you with branding handbook, which guides you in which type of pictures to use, and color scheme to think about, etc. and not the least support you the creating and making communication content.
Make sure to define roles and responsibilities for content production and who decides what. At a bare minimum the editor responsibility must be in place. The intranet is a live creature, and it should be treated as such.
First of all; always focus on the user of your site; what would I need or want to do when I visit your site? It is a real estate fight and a too crowded site will be hard for people to navigate. Bring forth what is most important for the user (not necessarily those wanting to share things there) and remember less is more. And do keep it alive, make sure there is always something new. Remove empty and irrelevant pages and content. When I visit your site, I either need something or want something. Figure out what that is, and structure the site accordingly.
🎉✨Microsoft Viva Connection ✨🎉
You may have heard the buzz (pun intended) about the Microsoft Viva Connection?
I think this is so exciting I don’t know which foot to stand on!🤩 So what’s the fuzz and buzz about you ask?
The Microsoft Viva Connection is merging your intranet into your teams in Microsoft Teams! 😍
Currently you can copy the link to your SPO communication site into a tab in Teams, so what’s the difference you might think.
Viva Connection can do so much more than that! It is an integrated part of Teams. This means that when I click the company logo in the top left corner of my Teams I will see:
- Top navigation under the header to different areas on my intranet
- In the left menu:
- Overview over other resources on the intranet
- Overview of SharePoint sites relevant for me
- Adaptive cards with links to information and tasks to be done
and all of this just as easily available from my laptop, pad or mobile phone.
It will bring news, critical tasks and actions and helps connect people, straight into Teams.
Read more about Microsoft Viva Connection here and step by step guide how to set it up here. Have you got any questions?
😍Check out my colleague Lesley Crook’s, the Viva Visionary, blog about Microsoft Viva Connection: Viva vision #1 Connections – MVP, Lesley Crook is a Viva Visionary
If you have any questions, scroll down and you know what to do! You can also contact me directly either via SoMe and/or via my employers contact form on our web page: Workshops – Cloudway. We are running great workshops covering these topics. We can help you, and your partners, to remove blockers on your way to the cloud! We love to share what we know – to help everyone having secure productivity in the cloud!
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