How to balance a SharePoint intranet to make it Powerful and Engaging?
How to balance a SharePoint intranet to make it powerful and engaging?
In one of our recent blog posts, we explored why it is critical to prioritize SharePoint intranet features. Now, we will discuss another important principle to follow while implementing a SharePoint intranet. This is feature balance.
What is SharePoint feature balance?
Simply speaking, every intranet should provide two major groups of features. First of all, it should help employees to fulfill their daily tasks, enable department- and team-specific activities, thus contributing to better staff performance. Second, a SharePoint intranet should support employees' social life and corporate-wide activities to make the staff feel a part of a strong community and to foster corporate values.
- Project management
- Document management
- Project and team collaboration sites
- Learning management
- Knowledge and innovation management
- Employees' profiles with contact information and more
- Community sites
- Informal newsfeeds
- Media galleries
- Announcement boards
- Stack exchange
- Employees' profiles enriched with personal information such as interests, hobbies and off-work activities and more
What can a well-balanced SharePoint intranet give you?
If you manage to strike the right balance between these two groups of features, you will be able to reach 4 important goals.
Goal 1. Accumulate both formal and informal collaboration on a single hub. Very often, SharePoint intranets host only work-related content, while users turn to third-party solutions to discuss an upcoming corporate event or offer a flat for rent. In a well-balanced intranet, employees are able to find a place for both formal and informal collaboration, which brings at least two advantages:
- It saves employees' time, prevents them from switching between different solutions and getting distracted.
- It minimizes the risk that employees will continue to manage their working activities in non-corporate messengers or chats thus sharing sensitive data in an insecure environment.
Goal 2. Benefit from a wider spectrum of SharePoint capabilities thus taking more value from your deployment. Sometimes companies use SharePoint in a very limited manner, for example, as a document storage, a project management system for a particular team or support only a few collaboration sites. But let's be honest ? SharePoint isn't a cheap solution. So its underuse means scattering the initial investments into your SharePoint deployment to the winds. On the contrary, balancing different types of features will let you open up SharePoint's full potential, thus benefiting from your solution at most.
Goal 3. Attract rare visitors. It's pretty hard and sometimes even impossible to provide all users with job-specific features in SharePoint. For example, if your procurement specialists work in an ERP system constantly, while SharePoint doesn't offer them any task-specific features, they will hardly ever visit the intranet. However, if a procurement specialist travels a lot and the intranet hosts the relevant travel community, it's very likely that this particular employee will become a frequent intranet visitor.
Goal 4. Create a catchy solution. If a corporate portal offers only business-specific features, well, it will be powerful but boring. So tuning a SharePoint intranet and adding some social vibes to the standard SharePoint team sites will make the entire solution much more engaging. And this is a direct way to a better user adoption and loyalty.
Let's see how it works
To illustrate how to create this right balance between work-related features and social ones, we will use a realistic example of a SharePoint intranet. Let's point out some of the most important principles that will help you to build up an engaging and powerful intranet.