Planning and implementing an intranet can seem like a daunting venture for any business. However, as in most cloud computing projects, the result is substantial cost savings and increased productivity. Microsoft SharePoint intranet provides a vast selection of solutions for organizations seeking to upgrade their current network to function more efficiently. An overview of the potential benefits and experiences SharePoint brings to businesses can be discovered through the SharePoint lookbook, which provides a multitude of layout concepts and out-of-the-box templates. Microsoft effectively breaks down the planning and implementation process to successfully deploy the SharePoint intranet package.
Consideration of how the new intranet will affect end-users is the first key step in the planning process, which should include the following aspects:
- Ensure that business goals align with the intranet’s implementation.
- Prioritize the elements from which the business will benefit the most.
- Decide how to implement the branding across all sites or if other groups use their designs.
- Plan intranet accessibility, including audience information requirements.
- Decide how and by whom will handle new site provisioning. Then, assemble a core team to address these factors and ensure the decisions are in line with the goals of the business.
- Plan a governance strategy to include naming conventions, guest access, site classifications, groups, and files.
- Establish accountability and responsibility for content management.
- Lastly, establish rules regarding content retention and classification.
Reviewing the Existing Intranet for Upgrade Requirements
After establishing the above criteria, review the current network structure and plan for implementing the SharePoint intranet.
- Inventory existing sites and content to determine what needs to be moved and/or updated.
- Identify how current sites meet business needs and the requirements for new sites.
- Lastly, meet with current site owners and new employees for new ideas and capabilities.
Identifying and Prioritizing Needs
Upon gathering the above requirements, review and analysis of the initiatives for user impacts is an essential next step.
- Identify the problem resolution, impacts on end-users, if the implementation can finish within a reasonable time frame, and the potential return on investment.
- Collaborate with business leaders to discuss the system and business metrics to measure success in meeting objectives and goals.
- Create scenarios with affected groups to plan on needs, solutions, and measurements of successful outcomes. For example, “As an employee, I need to understand and be able to update my benefits so that I can take advantage of a key lifecycle benefit to reduce help requests.” Then, use this information to create user journeys on how the site should function.
Migrate Existing Data to SharePoint
The migration of existing data can be a cumbersome task. Thus, Microsoft recommends conducting a content audit ahead of time to determine the sites that can be deleted or archived based on usage. Other actions to include in the migration are as follows:
- Define a set of criteria for content migration based on need. Determine which content must be edited before migration or retired from the system.
- Eliminate obsolete documents with file extensions with .v1, .v2, and others as they create confusion in searches for later versions.
- Remove version IDs and dates from file names and migrate only newer and more accurate versions.
- Convert legacy documents wherever possible to create more engaging content and improved search results.
Selection and Design of Components for the Intranet
There are a variety of components SharePoint features to build the intranet. Deciding on which to implement is dependent on the site’s business objectives. Microsoft recommends creating a prototype that is more rapidly deployed with room for future enhancements and revisions. Involving the help desk proactively prepares them to respond to questions and concerns after the site rollout to larger audiences. The following are other key factors in this step.
- Determine permission and sharing options with the site, including owners, members, and visitors.
- Design the intranet’s portal page. Complete this design at any time during the project. Consider components such as the mega menu, news web part, and Yammer feeds to create productive and intelligent home pages. Microsoft describes best practices and recommendations for developing and launching a healthy portal.
- Design intranet sites based on research results of user group requests and requirements. Forms can be used to create surveys and questionnaires for this information. Then, use communication sites to share news, reports, and other information.
- Access customization options through SharePoint’s framework solutions, apps, and add-ons.
- Lastly, train content authors who may need assistance in getting started in SharePoint. Also, they may access SharePoint design fundamentals for information on launching and managing sites.
Additional Elements for Audience Engagement
It is essential to ensure users have access to appropriate information. Microsoft provides useful guidelines and tools to simplify this process.
- Manage content with SharePoint pages which can assist in the creation of organized layouts with sections and columns.
- Use SharePoint libraries to organize documents allowing users to share files over the intranet.
- Incorporate SharePoint list for users to track and share information such as calendars, contacts, and tasks.
- Utilize audience targeting to customize and prioritize content as necessary.
- Add the News web part for audiences to access announcements, status updates, and other relevant company information.
- Enable SharePoint’s mobile access so that users can access files remotely.
Following the successful implementation of a prototype, access to the SharePoint intranet can be rolled out to a broader pilot group or the entire organization using the following recommended guidelines:
- Drive site usage with both a top-down and bottom-up approach.
- Promote the intranet with launch events and other similar campaigns.
- Ensure staff is available to provide support and answer user questions and respond to concerns.
- Follow success metrics and make adjustments as necessary to support users. Then, view data on the site usage tool to see how users interact with SharePoint.
Microsoft SharePoint intranet is a powerful internal enterprise solution for internal employees, external partners, and other essential team members. Indeed, with an efficient planning and implementation strategy, users will have a seamless intranet solution, leading to increased productivity.
Agile IT is 4X Microsoft Services Partner of the Year that can assist your business with a SharePoint intranet migration. Contact us or request a free consultation and learn how our technology solutions can help improve your company’s bottom line.