The future of the intranet in Office 365
The intranet in 2020 is in many ways challenged. The intranet still has the same purpose as it did 10, 15 or 20 years ago, namely, to make a platform available internally within an organization for internal communication and knowledge sharing.
The management's wishes for the intranet are the same as they have always been:
- The intranet must create a common understanding of the company's strategy and daily activities
- Employees should be involved in a dialogue with the management and other parts of the organization
- The intranet is the company's documentation and knowledge room, where rules and procedures are documented and communicated
- New employees can effectively start their work in the company through the intranet, and gain insight into the hard facts but also the softer aspects of the organizational life and self-understanding
However, the intranet is challenged on several fronts. Today, Office 365 including SharePoint Online is the platform that Danish companies use to establish their intranet, but SharePoint is not alone. Today, there are many other applications in Office 365 that are fighting for the role of the internal communication, knowledge sharing and collaboration system.
In just a few years Microsoft Teams has grown rapidly and has marked itself as a very effective tool for collaboration and communication in project teams or organizational teams. Now we have 10, almost 20 other applications in Office 365, each with large offerings in terms of collaboration, coordination, task management, communication and more. So, what is the role of the intranet?
The following list can help you in ensuring a comprehensive strategy and plan for your intranet and positioning itself amongst all the many Office 365 services.
1: Meet Your Users Where They Are
Reach your users at their desk or on the go with mobile access to the intranet and make sure all employees are always informed by pushing information and news out on info screens on location. Info screens communicating the good stories within the company and providing practical information has a great effect.
"By reaching out on multiple platforms, you strengthen your sense of community"
2: Universally Connected Information
The intranet can consist of many islands of separated but related content. When working with content on the intranet one piece of content, such as a new procedure, can be valuable. However, the intranet must support that the content creator can easily create a news article about the new procedure and at the same time send a targeted push message out on the company's mobile app. Then we can increase efficiency. The intranet should facilitate such a process.
"Data becomes information and information becomes knowledge"
3: Take control of content and structure
Intranets have over the years suffered from the fact that content and functionality has become outdated. The hype of a new intranet declines quickly, and everyday life takes over. Ownership of the content on the intranet is slowly being forgotten and after 3 years it is forcing the organization to start a new intranet. The intranet must support active ownership and the organization must take ownership of the intranet across all parties, the administrators, editors and end-users. The intranet should facilitate a solid and everlasting accountability.
"All intranet users should be able to take control"
4: Relevance, relevance, relevance
We know the users in our organization, so why not use this information to target content and functionality on the intranet? Relevance is one of the parameters that, in larger organizations, is the cornerstone of creating a successful intranet. Relevance is the necessary information in the right language and at the right place. Relevance is not just what the user sees on the front page of the intranet but also what is shown in the navigation, employee handbook or the news feed in the mobile app. The intranet should facilitate that all users can easily target the information they create.
"The user is unique"
5: What tool for what and when
Users can ask questions such as "Where can I find information about our new company strategy?" or "Where can I contribute with my knowledge to a specific problem?" The user is both a recipient and an active contributor, but what place and tool should the user use? For new employees as well as employees who have been in the company for many years, the following question may arise: "When should I use Yammer, Teams, SharePoint, Planner or even something else?" The intranet must guide the users about what tools they should use for what and when.
"Get clarity of what tool to use when with a guiding map"
6: Tailor made for you and your business
As a company, you want the intranet to be your organization's intranet. It goes without saying. This means that you need to have your company logo on the mobile app as well as it should be easy to brand various parts of the intranet, to follow your design manual. You will probably work with standard systems, but you are proud of your company and your brand and the intranet should reflect this both on PC, smartphone and on info screens at your physical locations.
"You want a custom intranet based on standard technology"