Plan your new intranet using Microsoft 365

2020 has been a trying one for many organisations – testing their communication ability alone. Organisations across the nation have enforced new policies, processes and procedures to ensure as much normality as possible during various lockdowns. The company intranet, and the way we work remotely, has never been so valuable.

The core purpose of any Intranet is to make internal processes smoother, enable better communications and more efficient management of content – whether that be policy, project or communication driven content. However, the 2020 pandemic meant the intranet was for more than the above. Effective instant communication and governance reached the top of the priority list.

If you’re looking to improve internal comms in the longer term as well as project and document management, we’d recommend you start planning the architecture of your new intranet now. More planning than you may think is needed for a successful intranet deployment.

Every Intranet solution ultimately has objectives to meet; and we’d recommend starting with these objectives and working backwards to the solutions and tools you need to achieve the objectives.

Users of Microsoft 365 and SharePoint can benefit from many features and functionalities of the cloud-based platform. Of course, utilising the host of features available is the best way to truly benefit from Microsoft’s cloud offering.

An Intranet refresh will enable your organisation to:

  • Progress and improve its products and services
  • Engage employees and drive innovation & collaboration
  • Reinforce productivity through effective search of information of all types and formats

Poor use is a very common issue and one we’re familiar with in the SharePoint world. Best intentions are plentiful, but the realities of a “build it and they will come” mindset can impact the adoption and continued use of a company tool like an Intranet.

If your SharePoint Intranet is suffering from poor use (and you can check user stats in the admin settings) then you don’t necessarily need to pull the plug and start again. Instead we recommend a health-check and a possible short workshop to get to the guts of “why is use declining/suffering?”

A basic intranet checklist should comprise of the following questions:

  • On a high level, what are the overall goals of the company? Where would an intranet fit into these? (This is key for your business case)
  • On a user level, who are/would be the primary users? What department(s) are they in? Is it across different buildings/countries?
  • When do you want to launch the live intranet?
  • Is there time to allow for testing / user groups / feedback? What is this timescale?
  • How will you measure the success of the intranet?
  • Are you trying to automate certain processes? (Our blog post here can help you prioritise automation in your organisation if you’re new to it!)
  • Who will be responsible for the content on the intranet, training new users, managing governance/security, and overall support and maintenance?
  • Will the new intranet be rolled out gradually across the organisation/departments?
  • What does each department need from an intranet?

Among many other things, the above gives you an introductory idea of the elements that need to be considered when getting approval/budget/sign off for a new intranet.

We have a whole guide dedicated to planning an intranet – you can download it here.