Over the years of implementing various SharePoint intranet designs, the conversation with a customer typically started with "what's important to you/what do you need"?
What I'll share here, are some of the most common modules a typical intranet needs to date to be successful and relevant in a medium sized organization. You can use those as intranet ideas in the design of your own intranet.
1. Workspaces and Teams: Document Management
If you think of your intranet as a city, Workspaces or Teams are your residential neighborhoods.
Workspaces or Teams are places for groups and departments in your company to form a close working community to get something specific done. This can be a project, a task force, an internal document repository of a department or a team.
Here are some typical workspace sites:
- Project Sites
Workspaces usually have restricted access with select group of contributors managed by a site owner.
Essential functionality expected on these sites includes:
- Working together on documents and deliverables
- Easily search for documents and projects
- Track versions
- Track tasks and ownership
2. Employee Tools: Employee Engagement
Employee tools is part of your cultural neighborhood in the intranet city. This is where employees go to find tools to help them be productive and connect.
Typically this area of your intranet includes:
- New Member Orientation Site
- Ex: First Week
- Ex: Ordering Business Cards
- Ex: Equipment
- Benefits Information
- Staff Forms
- Policies and Handbooks
- Career Growth
- Staff Directory
- Employee News and Events
(where team members can post their content even if it's moderated)
This area is generally open for everyone to read with few select contributors. It's important to clearly identify content contributors and we often display their names on the site so that if some content is missing or inaccurate, everyone knows who to contact.
3. Tools/Resources for Business
Help employees quickly access tools they need to get their work done. This is the area where you keep all of the relevant business resources, links, and process information.
Here are some of the most common items we recommend in this section:
- Process and Methodology Knowledgebase
- Ex: Logo Usage Guidelines
- Ex: Supplier Procurement Process
- Templates and Sample Deliverables
- Ex: Project Status Report Template
- Ex: Project Plan Template
- Request Forms
- Ex: Marketing Collateral Ordering Form
- Links to:
Help your users find content by tailoring each sub-section to the type of content.
For example, if your company provides services you can help your staff to easily find a company published whitepapers or a case study. Case studies are easier to find when they're in an article format rather than a document.
Here is the example of how you could present your case studies on a Marketing Resources site.
Communication is a bread and butter of any intranet site. In fact, many intranet initiatives are started by communication department's need to effectively facilitate dialog between employees and the company. In the modern intranet, communication is not exclusively produced by the members of COMMs team, so what is this content?
Typically communication content goes right on the home page of the site with links to other sections of the intranet.
Here are the most common communication tools your intranet needs:
- Urgent Company Alerts
- Internal Company News & Events
- Public and External Company Announcements
- Employee Welcomes and Recognitions
Some other interesting elements include:
- Department News
(targeted to logged in user)
- Message from Executive
- Opinion Polls
As you can see, the modern intranet is dynamic and is all about what your team members need to get their work done. It doesn't duplicate information from other sources such as the public site content. It also doesn't try to be a replica for other specialized system such as CRM.
It provides quick access, it's relevant, responsive and helpful.
Hope this helps in your upcoming intranet design strategies. Post your comments below, would love to hear!
Yaroslav Pentsarskyy is the founder of OrigamiConnect, a rapidly growing service and product offering which enables organizations to get an intranet designed for them without starting from a blank page. He's also 8 time Microsoft MVP, speaker at many local and worldwide tech events, and a published author of several SharePoint related books.@spentsarsky