4 Key Considerations for Your Intranet Built on SharePoint Online

October 13th, 2022 by Yvonne Harris

Digital Workplace & Intranet IT Marketing & Comms

So, you’ve decided to get an intranet built on SharePoint Online. Now what? First, you need to consider which features of SharePoint will be most beneficial to your needs. After all, you want to ensure your company dollars are well spent, right?

Before diving into the key considerations for SharePoint, let’s start by looking at some of the main reasons intranets are valuable to any company. An intranet can:

● Help streamline processes and improve workflows.
● Save time and increase productivity.
● Improve communication efforts between employees, upper management, HR departments, company partners, and more.
● Minimize the risk of sharing outdated or incorrect information.

Whether you’re looking to transition from your current intranet solution to SharePoint Online or this is your first time implementing an intranet at all, you’ve come to the right place. Below are the key considerations for having a SharePoint intranet.

Customizations

Native SharePoint offers many customization possibilities. However, some of the customization options require deep technical skills.  Keeping this in mind, your options will vary depending on your preferences.

Starting with the most basic options, you can set your theme to match company branding, set your preferred header/footer (with your logo, if desired), and add or remove links within the site navigation pane.

In addition to the basic options, users can also create their own pages and add custom web parts. Pages are great for communicating ideas to team members or sharing other information. Pages can also be edited down to their basic layout (e.g., one column, two columns, one-third left column, etc.)

When you’re ready to start adding the meat and potatoes, you’ll want to find the web parts option. Adding web parts includes text, files, and images.

If you decide to create a SharePoint site from scratch, customization will be time-consuming and difficult to get right. Working with a third-party SharePoint intranet solution provider that offers personalized and predefined templates could be an attractive option.

Security and Compliance

Many organizations build their intranet on SharePoint because of its robust security features.

Microsoft SharePoint hosts a variety of ways to protect your data, the first being automatic security updates and patches. Other protections are optional for users, but certainly effective ways to keep data safe. Options like multi-factor authentication prevent credentials from being used unless verified through a secondary factor such as a phone call, text message, or app.

To further increase security, Microsoft recommends the following:
● Using the Azure Active Directory to limit which devices can access information (e.g., hotel kiosks).
● Require an automatic sign-off after a long period of inactivity.
● Create links that expire or limit use.
● Use DLP (Data Loss Prevention) policies to prevent sensitive information from being shared. These policies restrict certain documents from circulation.

In addition, SharePoint is ideal for maintaining industry-specific legal compliance. This includes standards such as ISO 27001 (a standard for managing information security), HIPAA (Healthcare Information Portability and Accountability Act), and FISMA (Federal Information Security Modernization Act).

Given the level of security SharePoint offers, it’s no surprise that up to 80% of Fortune 500 companies use SharePoint.

Will you benefit from the same security if you build your intranet on SharePoint with the help of a solution like Powell Intranet? Of course! It’s one of the key reasons over 450+ companies have built their SharePoint intranet with us.

SharePoint Webinar - Opaa

Inclusivity

Another key consideration when building your SharePoint intranet is how inclusive it is. Is it accessible to deskless workers, those on the frontline, and in the field?

SharePoint offers a mobile app for iOS and Android for users with a Microsoft 365 license.

However, if you want to give employees without a desktop or M365 license access to the same intranet experience as office workers, you’ll want a better app. You need a tool team members can use for team updates, news, and link sharing. Most importantly, it should be accessible from anywhere at any time. So, no more missing important updates while you are on the go.

Inclusivity also means breaking down language barriers and improving the user experience for those who are not native English speakers.

The challenge is trying to manage multiple languages. SharePoint offers two options for creating a multilingual intranet:
– SharePoint Multilingual User Interface (MUI)
– SharePoint Variations

A SharePoint intranet in-a-box solution, like Powell Intranet, simplifies things further with automatic translations and easier content management. If you’re a global organization juggling multiple languages, you’ll want to be able to easily create a multilingual intranet in SharePoint.

Employee engagement and collaboration

One of the most prominent features of SharePoint is collaboration. Most of us understand all too well how improperly managed documents can create a big mess in the digital workplace. Sometimes it all comes down to the platform you’re using. Have you ever started to edit a document but realized someone else was accessing it at the same time? Now, the document is locked for editing, and you must wait to make changes.

Fortunately, SharePoint creates an environment where team members can make edits simultaneously. Changes are automatically synchronized, so users can see what’s being changed instantaneously. If you’re curious about who has edited a specific document recently, you can also view the editing history. This will show you who has edited it and what specific changes were made.

Collaboration efforts go far beyond document management, however. Users can also engage in conversation via Yammer and Teams integrations. This helps to greatly increase the employee experience.

Who can make the most of SharePoint?

SharePoint’s use cases can vary widely depending on the department that’s using it. For example, communications managers might find themselves sharing news, internal events, or targeted information with employees of different departments.

Conversely, HR will more often use SharePoint for managing policies/procedures, onboarding, and making sure employees are getting the most out of provided content (e.g., highlighting important information).

Leadership will have the advantage of sharing company-wide news, while IT (Information Technology) will see that their day-to-day tasks are a bit easier to navigate. However, the team members that will benefit most from SharePoint are the employees. They will be provided with easier communication avenues, access to all policies and procedures, FAQs, and any other information your company needs to share.

Consider a third-party intranet provider

You could begin using SharePoint only to find that your demands are not being fulfilled. Fortunately, intranet providers, such as Powell Intranet, exist to help you use your intranet to its full potential.

Maintaining an intranet can be time-consuming, especially in the preliminary stages. Let us help you navigate any gaps and alleviate time constraints so your productivity is never lacking. Our customers have reduced the time spent maintaining their intranet by up to 80%.

We strive to ensure you get the most out of your intranet. Through SharePoint’s collaboration and innovation features, we can make sure your organization is running as efficiently as possible, with minimal speed bumps!

Opaa Webinar CTA

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive the latest information about the Digital Workplace every month.