- Who We Serve
- How We Help
- Platform Features
- Why Orchestry
Updated May 2023
The purpose of Microsoft Teams and a company intranet can often be hard to differentiate. The lines have been blurred and many are wondering how to establish the difference in their environment.
While defining and differentiating in the minds of employees is important, figuring out to combine and integrate the two is the future. Let’s take a look at how we can use both these platforms to improve end-user experience and how Microsoft Viva can play a significant role in creating a unified ecosystem.
There is a continuum between Microsoft Teams and the intranet that progresses from communication to collaboration. A simple way to understand this is through this pyramid:
At the bottom of the pyramid, we see personal storage capabilities that are fulfilled with OneDrive and right at the top we have rarified, high-quality information that relevant to everyone that would live on the intranet or on a SharePoint Communication Site.
It is the middle of the pyramid which truly captures the intersection as that is where most of the collaboration work takes place. In smaller groups, it is MS Teams that assumes the role of the go-to collaboration platform, but at the peer-to-peer level, where groups become larger and the extent is not something that can be managed through MS Teams, then you would switch collaboration over to the intranet or a SharePoint Communication site.
Among all this talk of combining your intranet with Microsoft Teams, it is important to clarify that SharePoint is not something that can be replaced, and it will continue to be a part of your collaboration ecosystem.
Organizations often misconstrue the usage of an intranet or the bringing in of Microsoft Viva as a replacement of SharePoint. This could not be further from reality, as SharePoint is the underlying structure layer in all of this.
Microsoft Teams is increasingly feeling like the hub of everything. The single point of entry for end users, but one should approach this with caution. This is because it is an overwhelming experience to treat it like a one-stop-shop for all business communication as not every employee or end user has the same starting point.
Ranging from always open tools that are job-specific, regular tools that are used for collaboration every now and then during the week, and the infrequent tools that are accessed once a month or even less, MS Teams is not exactly the hub of all these interactions.
Therefore, MS Teams may be a handy notification layer, but not every transaction is going to happen within Teams. In fact, we still need a ‘windowing’ environment so we can do a task in one pane, but keep going with conversations, meetings etc. in another. In that regard, an intranet may still be better in a browser for anything more than a quick check.
Microsoft recently launched Microsoft Viva to reimagine the employee experience by bringing communications, insights, learning, and knowledge into an integrated experience delivered in Microsoft Teams. In this blog, we are focusing on Viva Connections, the engagement and communication side of Viva, that helps keep employees informed.
This is currently the easiest way to surface your intranet into Microsoft Teams. The Viva Connections Teams App provides some noteworthy features that make the integrated experience even better:
Among other pieces that make Viva Connections so useful are:
Setting up Viva Connections is not much effort on the technical part as it is about understanding what needs to happen from a business and change management perspective. You can get Viva Connection ready and started in 5 easy steps, within 15 to 30 minutes:
Voila! You have your intranet integrated with MS Teams platform.
Viva makes your intranet available through Microsoft Teams, but at the same time if members of the organizations do not use MS Teams regularly, then it is only adding another layer in between them and the intranet. But MS Teams users can now search across SharePoint communication sites and hub sites and the Dashboard feature is sure to add a useful integration layer. The most remarkable bit is that it comes at no additional cost!
While Viva Connections will be an exciting addition, it is not certain how often users will engage with the App. Another aspect to be mindful of is that navigation is complicated and can get messy. Also, as part of the mobile experience users will be interacting with the dashboard and not the actual SharePoint Home site.
So before you surface your intranet through MS Viva Connections ensure you evaluate your present employee interactions and how they will be engaging with this new integration.
There is more than one way to integrate your intranet with MS Teams. Microsoft views the Teams application as the operating system for the enterprise, using it as an app to not only bring in Microsoft 365 apps, but also 3rd party apps.
Moreover, MS Teams is still a new concept with a lot of potential to grow for years to come.
Here are other prospects that you are able to take advantage of:
MS Teams Based Notification: Microsoft has opened up the Microsoft Teams Activity Feed, and now you can send notifications programmatically. You can enjoy the possibility of integrating notifications from multiple applications in a common digital workplace scenario giving users the power to control notifications settings.
Microsoft Teams Bots: Microsoft Teams can host Bots directly in the application to further establish it as the enterprise collaboration platform for the organization. Bots have a conversational interface which can provide a rich experience for various types of applications.
Once you are utilizing both Intranet and MS Teams, it is essential to make some architectural decisions around which information lives where and what are the channels of communication for a particular purpose. Here is a brief and generic outline that can help you map this out for your organization:
This is a session summary of our excellent webinar on “Combining Your Intranet with MS Teams” with Sam Marshall from Clearbox Consulting. You can get in touch with Sam about your Intranet concerns and more through LinkedIn: @sammarshall
Most organizations are not using Microsoft 365 to its full potential.
Orchestry makes Microsoft 365 simple for all users.
Orchestry is an adoption and governance platform that allows End Users, Workspace Owners, IT admins and organizations to take full advantage of Microsoft 365.
To see Orchestry in action, request a demo!