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Ways to develop an excellent SharePoint intranet

Vikram Pendse Jul 06, 2017

Hybrid SharePoint 2016 SharePoint Framework SharePoint intranet

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We were all excited about the recent SharePoint 2016 release including the innovations and enhancements offered by it. The hybrid search, cloud, new user experience and OneDrive features have raised the bar for SharePoint as an intranet platform.

The new feature suite in SharePoint 2016 is definitely great but enterprises often face difficulties on the user front. There is nothing to do with the platform but the tricky point is implementation. This kind of issues generally spoil the reputation of SharePoint.

How can you make sure the SharePoint intranet implementation is hassle-free? We understand every organization follow different methodologies but here we have shared few common approaches applicable in every scenario. Follow them and have a great intranet platform.

  • Requirement Gathering – Before starting any project, it is essential to understand requirements on how the project will proceed and what will be the end result. The intranet is usually operated and executed by C-level executives in any organization. Thus, consulting with them and understanding their viewpoint is vital.
    On the contrary, you must also know the end users viewpoint by spending time with them and contemplating what they expect from a collaboration platform.
  • Emphasize on functionality – SharePoint offers you with a great flexibility in terms of customization. However, enterprises concentrate their attention towards intranet branding instead of functionality. Enterprises must shift their focus towards functionality such as how the user will navigate, the page structure or how users will find the information easily.
    No doubt, branding and beautification are integral part but functionality must be topmost priority.
  • Update content regularly – Most of the intranets fail, owing to the outdated content. Thus, it is essential to have the information that is updated and relevant. It should also have all essential guides, documents and information associated to the organization and latest achievements as well.
  • Consider social as a priority – The new SharePoint Framework gels up well with Yammer, Microsoft’s enterprise social network (ESN). ESNs are extremely powerful in terms of collaboration where it allows the users to interact and work naturally. Individuals have their own profile and can share knowledge by silos being broken down. Few more interesting features such as @mentions and likes make the intranet more interactive.
  • Make sure it is responsive – Nowadays, employees seek liberty to work from any location using any type of device. The new SharePoint 2016 being mobile-friendly manages this need extremely well and provides employees with lot of flexibility. One thing you must be careful that do not customize SharePoint at an extreme level. This is because, the mobile features will become less compatible and less mobile friendly.
    Thus, it is essential to validate the user interface across all devices to avoid discrepancies.
  • Have a great landing page – Your SharePoint intranet home page is the first and last thing employees look while accessing your portal. Therefore, make sure it is intuitive, fresh and is updated with current events.
  • Have a well-defined Metadata – Metadata is an integral part for any site. When applied meticulously, it will help employees to search relevant documents rapidly with the search engine. If the metadata is confusing, it might irritate the users and waste their time.
    So, having a relevant meta information for every page is recommended.
  • Consider training the users – Consider you have developed a fully-functional and interactive intranet portal but your users are not aware of its usability. Don’t you think it is complete waste of time! So, it is suggested to train and educate the users on how to make best use of the intranet portal. The users must be able to update and add new content including images. This will ultimately help you generate good ROI.
  • Offer personalization – There can be various ways through which you can make SharePoint intranet portal personalized. You can start from naming the home pages to individual sites. You can also include the name of site owner which will help people to know whom to connect for more information.
  • Make sure the intranet is functional - It is important for you to update, change, improvise and advance your intranet portal. Also see to it that it is fresh and appealing according to latest market trends. In addition, having a dedicated person responsible for managing your SharePoint portal can be valuable.

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