Intranet Design

13 Things You Should Move to Your SharePoint Intranet (apart from document collaboration)

 Use  SharePointNA Registration Discount Code : YARO

Summary: Using SharePoint Intranet for document management is the primary goal. As the organization grows, and various new or growing departments produce more content, SharePoint Intranet can help you expand while building engagement. Here are some of the most common things that should live on your SharePoint Intranet.

Whether you already have an existing intranet primarily used for document management or starting a new one, relevant content is what your users are after. Some content is pretty obvious to put on the intranet, but not all of it. Here are 17 great candidates to go onto your SharePoint intranet:

#1: News & Email Newsletters

… I read that somewhere, now I can’t find it

Print newsletters circulating on the bulletin boards in the kitchen are still alive. Smaller organizations rapidly growing can take advantage of having wider visibility of this content when it’s on your intranet.

For organizations using email newsletters, it’s another great opportunity to move those to the intranet. As a benefit, you will get measurable results on how many people engage with your content and ultimately write more relevant content.

If you’re using Intranet in-a-box, your product might already be coming with a variety of templates you can use to make your newsfeed look great without Photoshop.

#2 KPI’s

… How are we doing anyway?

Whether a public or private organization, you’re likely tracking KPI’s and communicating those goals to your employees. Those KPI’s are often hanging on the bulletin board or being disseminated via a “letter from executive“ email once every quarter or less.

By putting your KPI’s on the homepage or perhaps one of the sub pages, you will increase visibility, and simplify updating of the relevant targets.

#3 Memos and Corporate Communication

…oh, well, that’s good to know

Corporate memos are important messages for everyone to know, so how do you ensure it gets to where it needs to?

Employees don’t typically seek out information in memos but if the headline sounds interesting or applicable they will read it.

To improve readability of memos, we encourage not to isolate them into their own container. Instead use your news web part to increase visibility so that more people are going to pay attention to it.

#4 Templates & Samples

…where is this PowerPoint when you need it?

One of the most common complaints about any intranet out there is that employees are not able to find Templates & Samples.

Most have to start their work by downloading existing content such as PowerPoint stripping it and using it as a template. Some of this content your staff may be downloading might be dated, with old logos and branding standards. Now you have a new document circulating created from the old sample.

Create a space for Templates & Samples where your staff can find Proposal Templates, Communications Templates, Letterhead etc. Keep those up to date in one place. If you have a new type of template, add it here. We see this area rapidly growing as organization adds more corporate collateral.

#5 Knowledgebase

… how do I reset my voicemail password?

Most of the organization’s knowledge is stored in … your employees heads.

Sometimes those employees document their process for their own convenience. Things like how-to’s and tips & tricks. By creating a repository for a knowledge-base, these know-hows have a place to live and others can use them.

#6 Outages

… wish I knew it before calling helpdesk and waiting for an hour

Outages, when they happen cause confusion and flood of emails and calls to IT. By putting critical and important outages on your intranet you can reduce the flood of calls.

We recommend critical outages to have a place right at the top of the home page for greater visibility. For detailed system outage information, you can use a web part under specific area of the site.

#7 Employee Feedback & Idea Crowd-sourcing

… How come no one has suggested this before?

Your employees work with specific process and tasks on a daily basis and, in many cases, have a great insight how a particular area of their work can be improved.

Employee feedback is the most powerful when other can see the suggested feedback and vote on it. It doesn’t mean you have to action all of the feedback but will give you a great visibility into what’s trending.

#8 Project Sites

…Where do I keep this project plan?

Some organizations deal with projects on a regular basis, such as consulting firms; others produce continuous work product and don’t have the concept of a project, even though ad-hoc project do take place.

Projects are different because of their cross functional nature. Several departments and vendors collaborate on the project and it doesn’t make sense to store all of that information under a particular site. Having a project site isolates the collaboration to the specific participants with respective permissions.

#9 Onboarding Materials

… Oh, yes, I forgot to order your business cards

All the forms and checklists, contacts, and training related to onboarding a new employee has to live somewhere. SharePoint intranet is a great place to have a dedicated area to this type of content. It’s much better choice than having printed binders which are hard to update and keep fresh.

#10 Offsite and Special Event Materials

…wish someone took a photo of that

We see some great materials coming from offsite events. Some organizations brainstorm future vision on a sketch-board and some even invite a professional sketcher to help them build those.

Employees feel inspired after those events and the materials produced in those events shouldn’t go to waste. Have an area for your offline corporate Events. You can also promote the area by featuring a news on the intranet related to the latest event.

#11 Policies and Procedures

…what are all the stat holidays we get?

First off, how is this different from the knowledge-base talked about earlier?

Policies are not how-to’s and tips & tricks. These are specific to larger organizations but not only. Those are typically HR, Finance, and other policies related to the business. Common information to go here are things like vacation request policies, contractor on-boarding policy etc.

#12 External Updates

…”it should be in the email with 3 attachments”

Investor Updates, related PDFs, External Partner Updates, and other externally focused and targeted communication often goes out as an email. If you need to attach a collateral such as a PDF document or a Fact Sheet to the email, use SharePoint intranet as your repository. This will help you avoid bounced mailboxes and emails blocked by firewall or sent straight to spam.

Have a dedicated area for external communication and link to them in your communication. With SharePoint Online, you can allow guest link sharing which can expire in needed.

As a result, you will have access to all of the assets you sent over time and recipients’ mailboxes will be free of large attachments. It’s a win-win!

#13 Department Updates

…oh, the product team is growing?

News related to departments and areas of business are great candidates for a news app. The news app we use has dedicated sections for departments which allows your staff to still see the news item but it’s less prominent and leaves room for a main news item.

Conclusion

Your SharePoint intranet is a great place for corporate content which goes way beyond document management and collaboration. Whether you have an existing or building a new SharePoint intranet, increasing valuable content will boost your staff engagement. Content is King!

Help us grow this list! Send us some of your ideas!

Pre-built SharePoint intranet, tailored to your organization in 3-6 weeks.

 
ypentsarskyy_2016_small.jpg

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

How to Structure Intranet Content: by Department or by Function

 Use  SharePointNA Registration Discount Code : YARO

Summary: Structuring information by department may seem like an easy solution, but the research shows that’s not how users expect to find things. In fact, in our own tests, we see that over 92% of users look to find information by Function before considering otherwise. Read more to see how we measure this.

In our design workshops, Information Architecture structuring takes a front seat in intranet design. In most cases, we dedicate 3 separate workshops to brainstorm and refine IA with business users. In almost every case, there is a difference in opinion between participants whether to structure the site by Function or Department.

The Issue

During those brainstorming sessions, when we sort all the content, we usually see two predominant opinions.

Some say that navigation should be structured by Function, and others claim, by Department.

Here is what I mean by structuring content by Department:

 In here, we see structure by department. Users are expected to navigate to a specific department and look for the relevant content there.

In here, we see structure by department. Users are expected to navigate to a specific department and look for the relevant content there.

Here is the example of the same structure by Function. The labels here such as [Business Services], [Employee Services] and for illustrative purposes and we tailor those to your organization’s Functional areas:

 Above, the content is structured by the Function, so that users can navigate to the area of their interest and find relevant information there without needing to know which team is responsible for the content

Above, the content is structured by the Function, so that users can navigate to the area of their interest and find relevant information there without needing to know which team is responsible for the content

Structuring by Department

Proponents say:

  • Everyone knows who’s content is who’s so it’s easier to assign permissions and find content

  • It’s traditional and simple, no brainer, HR stuff goes under HR, IT stuff goes under IT and so on

  • If we use functional or generic labels such as Business Services, users might find it confusing whether some content is business related or employee related

Issues:

  • New employees may not know which content is authored by which department

    • Example: Would an Expense Form live under HR or Finance? What about “Submit Travel Request“ - HR or Finance? How about “Templates and Samples” - this doesn’t seem to have a department

  • Content ownership sometimes changes by department especially when departments are renamed, merged or some subtle responsibilities change

    • Example: Emergence of “Health & Safety” department, which didn’t exist before and some related “Health” content existed on HR site.

  • How to categorize content authored by multiple departments? For example: “Policies and Procedures” are commonly owned by HR, Legal, Finance, and perhaps even Communications teams? Should then each department have a separate location for policies? What if you need to search across?

The data says …
(and we tested it)

Despite opinions raised in workshops, the sample size in a typical workshop is too small to make an accurate judgement. Typical intranet workshop has 6-8 stakeholders and your typical intranet can have anywhere from few hundred to few thousand users.

The best solution is to verify your information architecture with a tree test.

How does it work?

We usually build a practical scenarios such as “Users would expect to navigate to IT department site to find latest systems outage information“.

Then we give users our navigation tree and ask them to “find the systems outage information“.

The test contains few more scenarios - we try to make it less than 10.

Since we’re using automated tools to run the test, we get interesting metrics, including:

  • What’s the first node in the tree users clicked on when asked for a particular scenario question

    • Going back to our example of IT systems outage, if they clicked on the Functional node, it gives us quantifiable result of the first thought of where this information should be

  • How direct was their navigation when asked for a particular scenario

    • This tell us how much of back and forth did they have to do before settling on an answer. Did they go down a correct path right away or did they have to back track few times

    • The more direct their navigation, the clearer are the labels which is good

  • What was nominated as a correct answer

    • … and was that answer correct

  • How long did it take for users to find the answer they consider correct

    • Longer times indicate lack of clarity

  • Many more …

We also get this distribution graph below showing the path users navigated. This is a screenshot but we follow paths and see exactly how many users clicked on what and have they come to the right place right away or after some clicking.

information architecture test.png


This diagram above, shows that users equally tried Department Site (IT) and Business Services as their destinations but over 92% have clicked Business Services* as their first step/link in this particular test.

*Business Services is a label we gave to our Functional structure, so the test gives us quantifiable answer that users mostly search for information by Function rather than Department.

Mixing the Structure

Based on the test above you can see that small percentage of users still choose alternative path for a scenario.

Depending on the quantity you get in your scenario, you may consider creating links from highly ranking alternate nodes to the actual source.

For example, if you notice that 15% of users click on IT Site to find the outage information, perhaps have a quick link or a widget which will quickly point users to the source or give them a snapshot of what they’re looking for.

If you chose to do so, ensure that you’re not duplicating the data and instead linking to the source.

Sample Size

It’s always best to have larger sample size when testing your Information Architecture tree. Definitely consider sending it to 10% of the company or more, if possible. Don’t limit the test only to people in the workshop since they’re biased.

In our testing, we test the IA structure, next day after brainstorming, and then collect and analyse results for next day to finalize the tree. As a result we get confirmed data in a mater of 2 days.

Re-Testing

After you ran the first test, you might be tempted to make adjustments and re-test. This doesn’t work as well due to bias since your users have learnt something about the IA tree from the first time and the results would not be accurate.

There is also a factor of diminishing returns.

We recommend forming tests around specific scenarios and only testing those scenarios so that you get the answer as to using variant A or B.

Can SharePoint Online hub sites help with IA structure?

SharePoint Online has a concept of the Hub sites allowing all of the intranet sites to be flat and tie them together in what’s called a Hub Site.

The idea is that site structure is then fluid and can be changed at any time to meet particular requirements.

So does this help?

Simply put, no.

If you make structure changes too frequently on a live site, users will be more lost than if you haven’t figured out the structure correctly in a first place, and let users get used to it.

Imagine the scenario where during the first month expense forms are under HR and next month, they’re under Expenses, then under Rewards & Benefits and finally moving to Employee Services.
The change would be overwhelming for users and you’ll hear a lot of “I can’t find anything on here“.

Conclusion

Despite the simplicity of structuring the content by department, try to avoid this practice and structure by function. If in doubt or hear differences in opinions, run a tree test and let results guide you.

What are some of the challenges you have seen when structuring content o the intranet? Drop a comment below, we’d love to hear from you.

Pre-built SharePoint intranet, tailored to your organization, in 3-6 weeks.

 
ypentsarskyy_2016_small.jpg

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

Moving from Fileshare to SharePoint? Key Strategies to Building Reliable Metadata

Summary: Moving away from Fileshare to SharePoint is one of the most painful exercises most organizations describe. With the structured approach, you can simplify this process to just few workshops and end up with rock solid, and easy to find structure. Avoid using existing folder names as your new SharePoint structure and simplify existing containers first before defining metadata.

Although we’re builders of intranet-in-a-box, we often consult on the SharePoint migration projects. One of the most common challenges in any organization using fileshare, is migrating this old structure to SharePoint. Even with a wealth of tools available in SharePoint around content findability, such as metadata and tags, you need input is required from your teams.
So, how do we go about it in just few simple workshops?

Pre-Work

First, you’ll need to bring the right people to the table.
Here are few guiding principles:

  • Understand which teams own content in your existing fileshare

  • Ideal group size is 4-6 stakeholders

    • Ensure people in the room are content owners, and members who can assign tasks and allocate resources for their team. This doesn’t have to be the same person, hence we recommend 4-6 people per team.

    • Ensure everyone in the room is likely to contribute for their area and not just listen in.

Content Audit

You have picked the right people, now onto the content audit.

First, why do we need content audit? Don’t we already know what content is in our fileshare?

Our experience shows the following:

  • Not everyone on the team knows everything about their existing fileshare structure

  • Much of the structure is obsolete, ad-hoc, with lots of catch-all folders

  • Every workshops we ran, had people discover something new about the content based on their peer’s input

Running the workshop (in person)

  • Request for participants to individually write down types of content their own and work with.

    • Give examples, such as: project status report, project plan, risks and issues etc. This will help ideas flowing

  • Ensure participants work individually.

  • Request each participant to share their individual types of content and let others ask questions

    • Keep other participants interaction only for clarifications, not brainstorming, countering, or questioning workflow or business flow. There will be separate activity to cover that :)

Remote participation

More often than not we work with hybrid teams where some participants are at the office and others are remote. There are facilitation techniques we use to accommodate this, which is a whole different topic, and with the right mix of technology and facilitation participants as as productive as in on-site meeting. The key to remote session is preparation and make sure everyone can contribute without feeling left out.

The Result

As a result you will end up with a sample structure like below. And by the way, with all the pre-work to get to this point will only take about 45 min with an experienced facilitator.

PMO Site Content.PNG

Defining New Content Structure

Now that we have all the content on the table and everyone has the context of what everything is, it’s time to shape this into a tree.

The task is to: group relevant content into logical groups or clusters and assign labels to each cluster. For example: [Contract Template], [Agreement Template], and [SOW Template] can be collectively put into category called [Templates].

Towards the end of this exercise you will end up with something like this, notice how various content types cluster around themes forming what we call SharePoint Content Type:

PMO Site Structure.PNG

At this point we spent only about an hour and 1/2 and already have a good idea how the new repository will look like. Next, we finalize the structure.

Selecting Metadata and Tags

With the metadata you can group content by any number of tags, virtually creating “folders” on the fly. With the folder, you get to navigate the structure in a fixed format.

Regardless of method you chose to structure your content, folder or metadata, using the output from the previous exercise, it’s easy to build the final structure.

Here are some guiding principles when tagging your content:

  • Use auto-tagging feature in SharePoint to tag content automatically when it’s dropped into a specific library or folder (if you chose to go with folders).

  • Avoid creating hierarchies deeper than 3 levels. For example: [Project Alpha] -> [Deliverables] -> [Fact Sheet] is a good example of 3 level hierarchy.

  • Avoid manual versioning and creating folders to manage those. For example, avoid: Contract_v3_final, instead rely on built in versioning features to version your content.

    • This may sound like nothing to do with the metadata but we often see people create folders for Draft/Final documents which affects content structure

  • Don’t confuse Metadata with a Document Type. This might sounds obvious but people make this mistake all the time. Consider this scenario:

    • Should [Balance Sheet] be a content type or the [Year]?

    • The correct way is [Balance Sheet] as a Content Type since and [Year] is a Metadata field.

      • NOTE: Content Types reflect entities around which rules are formed (archival, retention etc). Metadata, in this case [Year], is merely a descriptor/property of the entity.

    • As obvious as it is, many fileshare structures out there have the exact opposite in how folders are structured.

Metadata versus Content Type.PNG

Conclusion

When we follow this collaborative approach with the client we see huge increase in adoption and decrease in support. The tempting alternative of bringing structure from fileshare will bring old problems to the new environment. We have used this approach on number of projects over the years and refined it meticulously for the best results, so if you have questions about details - drop us a note!

What are some of the challenges you found when migrating from fileshare to SharePoint? Leave your comment below.

Tailored, pre-built, flexible SharePoint intranet.

 
ypentsarskyy_2016_small.jpg

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

Essential intranet design examples and templates

 Use  SharePointNA Registration Discount Code : YARO

Origami's mid-year update brings a new array of configurations for your intranet design to make every page stand out. You can do this if you already have an intranet and want to take advantage of a fresh new look on your pages. If you're starting with a brand new intranet, even more options are available to you.

We've put together a few of our favorite design configurations to help you come up with some amazing ideas.

Everything you see here has been put together with tools available in Origami and SharePoint. With a just little bit of content, you have a shiny new intranet design waiting for you.

Information Article Page

This simple yet common design makes up for the majority of intranet information pages. The main strength of this page design is the simplicity. Users expect to quickly scan the content for what they're looking for, and this design delivers just that very well.

Here are some common user cases for an information article page:

  • Who We Are

  • Delivery Processes

  • Guidelines & Procedures

  • Employee Benefits Information

  • Process Stages

  • Knowledge Base Article

Here are two examples of what an information page can look like:

  Intranet Information Landing Page - clear headings and sections describe groups of content on the page. Set of links [Popular Content] helps users identify forms, templates, and other articles they may want to read.

Intranet Information Landing Page - clear headings and sections describe groups of content on the page. Set of links [Popular Content] helps users identify forms, templates, and other articles they may want to read.

  Intranet Information Article Page - features content broken down into key sections helping users find areas they're looking for. Contacts allow users to ping relevant contributor if information is inaccurate or missing. FAQ allows authors to answer popular questions. Relevant Documents are handy for templates or forms relevant to the article.

Intranet Information Article Page - features content broken down into key sections helping users find areas they're looking for. Contacts allow users to ping relevant contributor if information is inaccurate or missing. FAQ allows authors to answer popular questions. Relevant Documents are handy for templates or forms relevant to the article.

Both pages are using 2 and 3 column layout. When we read text, our horizontal attention leans towards the left, that's why we recommend stacking key content in the left column while any supporting content (forms, templates, etc), to the right.

Resources or Department Site

The Resource site is there to provide references built by a specific team or a department for the rest of the organization.

Typical use cases for the [Resource] or [Outward Facing Department Site] include:

  • Marketing Resources Site

  • HR Information Site

  • New Employee (or Onboarding Information) Site

  • Department Initiatives Site

Here is how a landing page for this site could look like:

  Intranet Department or Resource Site Landing Page - a place for staff to find resources produced by a specific team or purpose. [Featured] content at the top helps draw attention to latest or most popular articles (see Information Page); followed by [In This Site] helping users to key content on the site. Contacts helps finding relevant site contributors; FAQ is also an easy way to answer popular questions.

Intranet Department or Resource Site Landing Page - a place for staff to find resources produced by a specific team or purpose. [Featured] content at the top helps draw attention to latest or most popular articles (see Information Page); followed by [In This Site] helping users to key content on the site. Contacts helps finding relevant site contributors; FAQ is also an easy way to answer popular questions.

This page uses the 2 column layout available in SharePoint out-of-the-box. It takes about 20 min to manually put together content on this page with combination of Origami and SharePoint tools.

Forms and Templates Center

If there is one area each intranet should have, it's some place where staff can access samples and templates. Samples are essential to knowledge management and retaining organizational knowledge. If more of your staff can find relevant samples, the less work they need to do from the scratch.

Here is an example of how a typical Forms and Templates site looks like:

  Forms and Templates Center - helps staff find relevant samples and forms. On the left hand side - [Tags], allows to filter forms by relevant category. Search box and preview panel in a center allows to quickly read more about the form before opening or downloading it. Contact   person allows to quickly reach out in case relevant form doesn't exist. Finally, if there are any recently updated forms, they will automatically show up under [Latest Updates]

Forms and Templates Center - helps staff find relevant samples and forms. On the left hand side - [Tags], allows to filter forms by relevant category. Search box and preview panel in a center allows to quickly read more about the form before opening or downloading it. Contact person allows to quickly reach out in case relevant form doesn't exist. Finally, if there are any recently updated forms, they will automatically show up under [Latest Updates]

Here are the other types sites which can be served using Forms & Templates Center type layout:

  • Resources

  • Glossary Database

  • Policies and Procedures

  • Knowledgebase

Above template uses [Blogs] landing site in SharePoint online with Origami enhancements to show tags, search, and accordion-like list. The interface is connected to a document library allowing for approval of each template before it's published for everyone to see.

Projects & Workspaces

One of the primary objectives for any intranet is the ability to store documents and be able to find them easily. Documents are often grouped by a client, project, initiative, and other workspace sites. It's important to help your team find the relevant groups.

Project and Workspace template shown below allows staff to immediately search by their project and add them to individual favorites for quick access in a future.

  Project and Workspace Site Directory - allows to quickly search and access your staff cares about. Personal favorites are displayed at the top. Project managers and authorized staff can create new sites.

Project and Workspace Site Directory - allows to quickly search and access your staff cares about. Personal favorites are displayed at the top. Project managers and authorized staff can create new sites.

Here are few other use cases for the Project & Workspace site:

  • Document and Record Center

  • Team Site Landing

Employee Engagement and Communication

Having a place on your intranet for employees truly helps build the culture and connect, especially for new staff members. You can increase employee engagement by adding a few interactive tools where staff can comment and post ideas.

Here is an example of our employee landing page:

  Employee Engagement and Communication features distinct banner followed by the list of key links promoted by the company. [Ideas & Feedback] let's employees post ideas and others to comment or [like] them. [Quick Poll] will capture opinions on the latest hot topic and allow others to suggest a poll. [Classifieds] serve as an internal marketplace and fundraiser. [Recognitions] allow employees and management nominate others for the job well done.

Employee Engagement and Communication features distinct banner followed by the list of key links promoted by the company. [Ideas & Feedback] let's employees post ideas and others to comment or [like] them. [Quick Poll] will capture opinions on the latest hot topic and allow others to suggest a poll. [Classifieds] serve as an internal marketplace and fundraiser. [Recognitions] allow employees and management nominate others for the job well done.

All components on this page are built on a top of SharePoint existing framework, so you can always enable approval or alerts to manage content before it's published. Whether it's a new idea suggestion or shout out, managers can turn on auto approval or moderation depending on company policies.

Thanks for making it this far. If you have an existing intranet needing an upgrade, be sure to get in touch with us to see how easy it is to apply these beautiful templates to your existing site.

Turnkey, no-hassle intranet for your organization

ypentsarskyy_2016_small.jpg

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

SharePoint Intranet Essentials and must-haves in a Modern Intranet

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

  • HR

  • Finance

  • Legal

  • Marketing

  • IT

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

  This is an example of a Projects Directory where users can search for their project site and access relevant documents

This is an example of a Projects Directory where users can search for their project site and access relevant documents

 

2. Employee Tools: Employee Engagement

intranet idea.PNG

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

  • Training

  • 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.

  Help users connect with the content contributor in a specific area of the site if they find an error or missing information

Help users connect with the content contributor in a specific area of the site if they find an error or missing information

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

    1. Ex: Logo Usage Guidelines

    2. 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:

    • CRM

    • Reporting

    • Analytics

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.

  Illustrates how different content is presented to draw attention to various sections of this department site helping users find what they're looking for.

Illustrates how different content is presented to draw attention to various sections of this department site helping users find what they're looking for.

4. Communication

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

  • KPI's

  • Opinion Polls

In Summary

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!

Complete, no-hassle, true SharePoint intranet.

 
ypentsarskyy_2016_small.jpg

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