Starting an intranet project can be a complicated and challenging process initially. These projects are usually a new venture for businesses who are embracing new developments. When it comes to planning a Microsoft SharePoint intranet – look no further. We’ve condensed the process for you into a handful of straightforward steps to help you start out on the right foot.
If you’ve been given the responsibility of planning an intranet for your organisation before, you will already be aware of the multitude of strategy, design and technology decisions that need to be made. SharePoint intranet is just like every other intranet in that you need to outline a clear structure to execute your plan efficiently.
The bonus with SharePoint is that its breadth of functionality makes it stand out from other intranets. However, this does mean that there are a lot of elements to consider in the initial stages of setup. It is a big project that takes a lot of consideration, planning and execution time. Getting right is vital as if done well, it will increase productivity in your business.
Take a look at our guide below for how to get started, and an overview of what’s ahead of you.
Forming your plan
There are lots of benefits and challenges to consider when forming your SharePoint intranet plan. Like all cloud computing solutions, when implemented efficiently, you could save time and money. Planning an effective SharePoint intranet that delivers countless benefits to your business and employees is not a simple task. The planning stage is crucial to building a truly successful intranet. You can do this by ensuring that your roadmap is in line with your business objectives and goals.
Here’s what to be aware of:
- Proper setup for collaboration and organisation
- More to it than just content publishing and sharing
- Seamless integration with existing systems
- Multiple technological decisions
- There is a danger of your plan becoming all about technology if you don’t prioritise and focus on business goals
- Broad capabilities mean there are lots to consider in the planning stages
Every roadmap needs a clear direction. Despite any challenges that planning a SharePoint intranet might produce, an efficient strategy will solve everything.
This roadmap has clear and detailed steps to help you on your way. However, to simplify things a bit, let’s break it down into bite-sized actions so that you can get started, faster.
When you have established what your business needs are, you will start to be able to form a picture of what you need from your intranet. This can be as simple as asking your staff what they want and aligning this with your business goals and strategy. When you’re ready to get started, here’s what you need to do:
Ensure that you have clarity around the purpose of your SharePoint intranet. There is so much on offer, so it’s crucial to know precisely what you want to get out of it. A great place to start is to think about the end-users – who is going to be accessing your SharePoint every day, and what are their requirements?
SharePoint contains a lot of elements and diverse functionalities that are catered to different business requirements. You may find that not all of the resources are the right fit for your business initially. Don’t feel the pressure to embrace everything all at once, but instead think strategically and hand-select elements that your business will benefit from.
Work out which SharePoint functions you want to use and decide on the Microsoft or external apps you wish to integrate, e.g. OneDrive and Outlook.
Tip: User-testing is a beneficial way to ensure that you are designing processes that will be effective across your organisation.
Use the information that you have formed in the planning stage about preferred functionality and design. Work with a technology team to make architectural decisions about the platform and develop your technical specification. Consider the configuration of functionality, personalisation, data models and begin integrating your apps.
Implement the intranet by deploying SharePoint and migrating content. Now is the time to fine-tune any design preferences, set up users and administrators and make your SharePoint intranet as user-friendly as possible. The most successful SharePoint intranets will not just be functional, but also easy to use and entirely fit for purpose. Don’t rush this.
When you’re happy, you can start to migrate content. Take a look at automated migration strategies to save time and resource, but still ensure that someone has operational governance over the running of your SharePoint.
The best thing you can do when planning your SharePoint intranet is to take your time and have a measured, strategic approach. The ideal efficient intranet would be up and running smoothly with little need for changes to be made to the platform after deployment. There’s nothing worse than having to go back and unpick layers of work!
If you’re not sure where to start, or if you just want some advice about your strategy – OryxAlign has a team of Microsoft SharePoint experts.