Is SharePoint A Good Internal Communication Tool?

August 11th, 2022 by Yvonne Harris

Internal Comms Marketing & Comms

There are many internal communication tools on the market, but for organizations on Microsoft 365, SharePoint seems like an obvious first choice. However, its features don’t necessarily meet the needs of communications managers today.

Are you looking for software to help your employees collaborate, communicate and be more productive? If you’ve been searching for a system for your organization’s internal communications, you’ve probably considered SharePoint. With so many companies using Microsoft 365 and with SharePoint included in their M365 license, it is usually the first choice for many reasons, but is it a good choice, or should you look to greener pastures?

What is SharePoint?

Before diving into why companies use SharePoint as an internal communication tool and whether that is a good idea – what exactly is SharePoint?

Organizations use SharePoint to create internal websites. Virtually any device is compatible with SharePoint, and it’s a great way to share, store, and organize information. There are many benefits of SharePoint. It is used by businesses as an intranet for document management, centralizing policies and procedures, and improving productivity by giving people easy access to the information they need.

Whether your organization is currently using SharePoint and is wondering how to make the most of it, or you’re looking for an alternative to your current system hosted on a different platform, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. We’ve compiled a list of the advantages and disadvantages of using SharePoint for your company’s internal communication.

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Why do companies use SharePoint for internal communications?

  1. To leverage their Microsoft 365 investment

SharePoint is integral to the Office 365 suite and is natively integrated with Microsoft programs such as Outlook, Teams, Yammer, and OneDrive. Like many organizations, you’ve likely already adopted Office 365 for business operations, making it much more tempting to use the product.

Many companies choose to build an intranet with SharePoint and use it as their internal communications platform because of these integrations.  The close relationship of the Office 365 suite with your intranet results in a seamless digital experience. Plus, it saves your employees a lot of time when collaborating on projects, providing them with more ways to improve their business processes and work.

  1. It’s built for top-down communications

Another reason business leaders favor SharePoint is that it allows them to communicate with various groups of staff in the organization. Traditional SharePoint intranets are designed for top-down dissemination of information. C-Level executives in the company rely on SharePoint to send important company-wide updates.

  1. It offers a centralized space to share and store information and documents.

SharePoint was designed to allow users to manage and share documents in a central location. You can control access to documents, invite others to collaborate, and control how members share content. What’s more, locating documents is easy thanks to features like metadata and tagging. As long as your organizational structure is solid, it shouldn’t take too long for anyone to find what they’re looking for.

  1. Allows employees to access information from anywhere

Many organizations store their documents on their servers, as is the case with SharePoint on-premise, but the problem with this approach is that they cannot be readily accessed unless you’re in the office. On the other hand, SharePoint Online is a cloud-based platform, which means employees can access files from anywhere while its robust data encryption helps to keep your data safe.

  1. It offers enhanced security

Given the rising spate of data breaches, security is an essential requirement in today’s enterprise software, and SharePoint doesn’t fall behind in this aspect. The system has advanced security features that reduce the risk of outages and unauthorized access. It also comes with data encryption for organizations that handle sensitive information with different settings for managing access, storage, and shareability so you can achieve full compliance with your industry regulator’s requirements.

  1. It boasts optimized content management

SharePoint scores highly in content publishing as it has functionalities enabling users to create and submit content for approval. When approved, the content can also be scheduled to go live on the internet and social media platforms. If yours is an international company with multilingual content, SharePoint is also up to the task.

  1. Better productivity

All the advantages of SharePoint contribute to enhancing productivity in that the system lets you streamline and automate processes and business operations. Users can integrate them with client applications, email programs, and web browsers for a simple and consistent user experience.

Why do companies not like SharePoint as an internal communication tool?

  1. Suitable for mostly top-down communications

SharePoint helps business leaders pass information down to employees, which is great because it allows for the effective dissemination of information. Still, it doesn’t allow employees to feature in the decision-making process. For better employee engagement, the entire staff needs to have a voice in the company’s goals. One solution is to integrate SharePoint with Teams, but for real collaboration and to give employees a voice, you should look for a more social intranet solution designed for two-way internal communication.

  1. Not inclusive for frontline workers, especially those without a Microsoft 365 solution

For a company to be able to adopt SharePoint, everyone will need a Microsoft 365 license. This poses a challenge for organizations with frontline employees as not all workers will be able to access a SharePoint intranet. A third-party solution can be helpful in such instances, especially an intranet built on SharePoint (like Powell Intranet) with a mobile app accessible to field workers without a Microsoft 365 license.

  1. Hard to send the correct information to the right people

One of the significant issues with SharePoint is that it’s hard to send the correct information to the right group of employees. With so many communications being sent, employees will suffer from information overload if it’s not targeted. While the software boasts some targeting capabilities, there’s still room for improvement. Thankfully, there are modern intranets today built on SharePoint that offer better targeting capabilities. Powell Intranet is a sterling example.

  1. Difficult to customize and brand

There are limitations to the corporate branding features on native SharePoint, and it can be time-consuming to use them. So, it may feel more like a Microsoft intranet than an individual company intranet. The solution here is to work with a third-party solution. Powell Intranet is an out-of-the-box intranet built on SharePoint that allows personalization and offers easy-to-use templates. Your intranet can be branded or updated for different holidays and seasons.

  1. Limited engaging features

Thanks to rapid technological advancements, today’s employees have high expectations regarding what engaging features look like. Reaching them effectively means meeting those expectations, which is nearly impossible with SharePoint. The solution is to find a third-party solution that provides more features, including employee advocacy, desk booking, ideation, and more.

Conclusion

SharePoint is a good internal communication tool, but it has its limitations. Rather than ditch the internal communication software entirely, you will want to look for an intranet built on SharePoint that leverages SharePoint while improving it. Powell Intranet is your best bet if you’re looking to improve your organization’s internal communication.

Whichever option you choose – native SharePoint or Powell Intranet you will want to ensure you have a robust internal communications strategy. That strategy will rely on engaging content. You’ll want to ensure your intranet is populated with content employees want to consume. Yet, creating a successful intranet content strategy can be overwhelming. So if you want to be one step ahead, we have the guide for you.

Download the guide to managing intranet content for Communications Managers.

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