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July 11, 2020

Fundamentals of Intranet Success in 2020

We’ve overcomplicated the technological landscape for digital workers and organizations today. That is why it is our objective at Orchestry to make work simple, getting you to the right Office 365 tool at the right time, for the right purpose.​ 

We understand that designing a strong and powerful intranet that is user-centric, but also sustainable and customizable, can be tricky. That is why we have decided to step in and share our expertise.

Fashioning Intranet Success in 2020

While it is important to have a good-looking website, precise search experience, seamless forms, and influential social features, it’s not the be-all and end-all. You also need to have an intranet that supports the objectives and goals of your organization. Common business requirements of an intranet include:

  • Improved collaboration amongst the workforce
  • Enhanced engagement when making announcements
  • Increased system accessibility 
  • Better internal communications
  • Enriched productivity

If after reading that, you’ve noticed your intranet hits most of these points, then you’re well on the road to a successful intranet!

Common Roadblocks for Digital Workplace Success

In general, businesses seem to have similar struggles when it comes to digital workplaces. These fall into the following buckets:

  • Poor user experience
  • Strategic misalignment
  • Disengaged employees
  • Information silos and/or bad content structure

So, although the content may exist, it takes too long for users to get to it quickly, resulting in an underutilized intranet. 

Modern Intranet Success Roadblocks - Digital Workplace Success - Orchestry

Tips on Creating a Successful MS SharePoint Intranet

To create a truly successful intranet in MS SharePoint, it’s essential to have a combination of these 5 elements:

  1. Alignment and understanding of your organizational needs 
  2. Ensuring your technology supports your business objectives
  3. Maintained and monitored content 
  4. Buy-in from all the people associated with the intranet project
  5. Excellent processes to ensure your intranet is set up and supported diligently

Below we have defined why each element is imperative to creating a successful foundation for your intranet.

1. Organizational Alignment

To create a great intranet, it’s important to remember that its success is driven from within your organization. By understanding what your organization needs, you can define how your intranet should function. User groups, managers, and employees tend to have conflicting preferences, so understanding and aligning these is key. Additionally, change can be hard for many, so by implementing intranet champions within your organization you can help spread positivity. 

2. Technology

The technology you require depends on what your organization needs from an intranet. In general, intranet features include:

  • News
  • Events 
  • Corporate Directory
  • Search Capabilities
  • Forms & Workflows
  • Social Engagement Tools 

All of which need to be accessible via mobile. 

You should ensure you understand your company’s needs before you make any decisions on what technology to implement. Here at Orchestry, we have a preference for MS SharePoint as it provides a lot of features to organizations, some of which are essential for a successful intranet and others which are optional depending on the organizational requirements. 

3. Content

Good content is central to ensuring your intranet has a high level of user engagement. It requires thoughtfulness and thorough planning: 

 — A content audit should be performed to identify what content is relevant, what should be kept and what should be deleted or re-written.

— After this, create a content plan to identify who will write the new content or migrate the existing content. As part of this, content authoring guidelines will serve as a foundation to ensure all curated content is top-notch. 

— The final stage is a content review. This will help you to instill cadence and ensure errors are captured. Ultimately, you want your intranet to remain up-to-date and accurate. 

4. People

Inputting a new intranet into your business impacts everybody in some way, from end-users to executives and everyone in between. It’s important to have great people on your team and they need to understand their roles and responsibilities from the outset of the project. Whether it’s executive alignment for support or change management for increased acceptance, everyone is involved in ensuring your MS SharePoint intranet is a success.

5. Processes

To ensure your intranet is sustainable, long-term governance is extremely important. This helps define the types of content that are created and made available to the masses. Each business has its own style of governance, but support processes are fundamental to intranet success, including:

  • Facilitating how users request help 
  • How users suggest a new feature 
  • How contributions are made to content 

Defining guidelines is beneficial as they help to steer the direction of intranet content and define acceptable standards. For example:

— Guidelines on engagement and authoring help to manage different areas of the intranet

— Guidelines on behavior are essential for setting expectations and protocols on the intranet (e.g. including profile pictures)

Improve Intranet - MS SharePoint - Digital Workplace

The Modern-Day Intranet

Your intranet is part of the digital workplace, essentially, your digital workplace encompasses all the technological tools your organization uses. Most organizations have a need for both a digital workplace and an intranet. An intranet can provide a base for employees to gain access to the digital tools within the workplace. 

However, both your digital workplace and your intranet need to be an interactive experience for the end-user. They’re platforms where users can find and access the tools they need easily in order to perform their roles more efficiently.

Back in 2018, the Nielsen Norman Group’s Design Annual undertook some research that has stood the test of time and is still relevant in 2020. It showed that the best intranets include: 

  • Simple structure and content
  • Supportive systems for content owners
  • Plenty of planning prior to launch
  • Iterative and flexible design
  • All aspects are created with the user in mind 

Importance of Intranet Information Architecture

Intranet information architecture is generally defined as the content structure of a website or intranet, including site structure, wireframes, the layout of content and information categorization (e.g. news, policies, procedures, etc.). Basically, Information Architecture is the art and science of structuring, labeling, and categorizing content.

There are exercises and activities you can perform to ensure your information architecture is performing at its best, pre-and-post intranet launch. Join our upcoming webinar ‘Intranet Information Architecture Best Practices‘ to learn more about intranet success in 2020. Register now! >>


Work Made Simple with Orchestry

Orchestry makes work simple in Office 365, Microsoft Teams and SharePoint Online by empowering your IT Administrators and employees to define a winning Microsoft 365 adoption and change management strategy, with a roadmap of what to use when, for what purpose.

Orchestry empowers organizations to define a winning Microsoft 365 adoption and change management strategy. Built by SharePoint MVPs and Microsoft 365 experts, Orchestry helps organizations formulate the roadmap of ‘what to use when’, increasing technology adoption, empowering through governance, and simplifying through intelligent provisioning organization-wide. 

To see Orchestry in action, send us an email at to start your free access now!

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