August 14, 2018

Intranet Modernization Using Office 365 to Support Your Digital Transformation Initiative

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Enterprises have high aspirations for modernizing their intranets. They're no longer designed simply as internal-facing websites where employees find out company news, access company policies and launch applications for processes, directly or indirectly related to their work. The digital modern workplace requires transformational rethinking of the intranet's role and its purpose to support digital transformation.

Let’s start by discussing what an intranet is:

The intranet is a destination inside an organization with relevant information and tools for employees to be more creative, productive, and collaborative, leading to improved business results.

The key drivers of the next generation intranet are:

  • Consumerization of technology
  • Blurring lines between consumer and business
  • Social interaction / collaboration
  • Agility and innovation
  • New ways of working
  • Information available anytime on any device
  • Need to find information easily and quickly
  • Office 365 becoming the standard modern workplace tool
  • Improving efficiency
  • Promote Ideation

Recently, more and more organizations have set aside budgets to transform their intranet as a key initiative to support their digital transformation efforts using the Microsoft Office 365 platform.

Many organizations underestimate the work that needs to go into developing an intranet, as they think it’s a simple website with content.  An intranet is a very critical application of an organization and needs to be created and managed properly.

The following elements are must have for a successful intranet:

Modern User Interface (UI)

According to a digital marketing report1, 48% of people cited a website’s design as the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business and 38% of people said they will stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive. While this holds true for websites, it is also applicable for modern Intranets.

A faulty intranet UI is one of the primary reasons for poor engagement. Any effort to improve the UI must consider the organization’s prevailing branding guidelines and other mandatory compliances, such as W3C, WCAG etc. A responsive design that allows resizing of content on any screen (desktop, tablet, mobile) is also an essential feature of any intranet.

Content

Content plays a key role in user engagement. Content that is interesting, relevant and discoverable will boost employee engagement and collaboration.

A newly revamped intranet is not intended to replace all systems, rather it will enable informational integration with other systems.

Technology

Corporate intranets require modern technology with content management capabilities, a social platform, modern programming language and framework support, and integration capabilities.

Governance

Establishing good governance practices is critical to the success and adoption of any intranet.  The depth/scope of the level of governance depends on the company culture and industry.  As your company Intranet becomes antiquated, it is extremely likely that the entire system requires a revision in permissions guidelines and security features. In today’s Cloud era, digital governance has become a key area of concern and many organizations are struggling with an obsolete system that is leaving the organization’s information open to manipulation.

Innovate, Inform and Engage with Office 365

Office 365’s cloud-based solution is an ideal platform for building your next generation intranet.  Whether you are migrating from SharePoint On-Premises, another product or creating a new intranet site from scratch, SharePoint Online provides the tools for creating a modern connected workplace that will transform your organization.

Key features of SharePoint Online and integrated Office 365 apps:

  • Communication sites with responsive UI across all your devices
  • Hub sites for grouping sites across the enterprise
  • Team Sites for Collaboration
  • Intelligent content discovery
  • Security and Compliance including DLP
  • Extranet Capable
  • Azure Active Directory
  • App Integration
    • Yammer
    • Power BI Reports and Dashboards
    • Microsoft Stream for Embedding Video
    • MS Power Apps for your business processes
    • Microsoft Flow for workflows
    • Microsoft Forms
    • OneDrive
  • Page Level Features
    • Hero, News, Events and Document Web Parts for an engaging, modern UI
    • File Viewer web part for embedding numerous document types
    • Embed web part for displaying content from other sites
    • People web part with intelligent contact card
    • Bing Maps, weather web parts
    • Quick Chart

Netwoven is an Enterprise Information Management company specializing in Microsoft Cloud.  Netwoven works with both Large and medium sized organizations to help deliverable their digital transformation initiatives.

Our team of experts include Information Architects, Office 365 Specialists, Business Analysts, Project Managers, UI/UX Designers, Developers, and Governance specialists.

We work with our clients to help in the following areas for building a modern intranet:

  • Discovery
  • Ideation
  • Development
  • Information Architecture
  • Persona Creation
  • Wireframes and Visual Design
  • Data Migration
  • Project Management

1Coats, B. (2017, April 26). 20 Web Design Facts Small Business Owners Should Know [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.bluecorona.com/blog/20-web-design-facts-small-business-owners/

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