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Getting the most out of a SharePoint intranet

If you’ve worked in an office environment for any length of time, you’ll have used something like an intranet. These private networks of information can be a key focal point for internal communication and collaboration.

Some still call these structures “intranets”, while others say the classic intranet has evolved into a “digital workplace”. Whatever you prefer to call it, businesses of all sizes are shifting working practices in new directions, and shareable private online networks are crucial to these changes.

With as many as nine in ten UK businesses relying on employees who work from home, a cloud-based intranet is increasingly important. That’s why we’ve put together some of the main advantages that you can expect to enjoy from an effective digital workplace:

5 benefits of a well-made intranet

There are a wide variety of ways that your enterprise can benefit from a well-structured intranet with cloud-based storage. As the world of work continues to evolve, have you considered that you could profit in any of the following five ways?

1. Increase workforce productivity with more flexible access solutions

Improve productivity by allowing any employees to access all the information that you wish at any time. With a browser interface, employees can potentially access important documents from home or even on their commute.

Your employees can potentially review projects by logging in during the evening, or scrutinise vital documents even during a household or family emergency that requires them to be out of office. This impressive degree of flexibility can help staff with shifting circumstances and changing lives.

Working From Home Statistic Sebastian Schaeffer / Stat: TechWeekEurope UK

The upshot therefore includes reduced employee churn, which necessarily leads to less resource allocation on training, project re-assignment, and customer churn. And that means greater productivity and results.

2. Improve enterprise collaboration for teams and projects

A cloud-based intranet is a great place for employees to collaborate. Many workplaces still use email and shared network drives as the primary tool for working jointly, but a resource like SharePoint offers a huge range of options to improve collaboration in your business. These choices include:

  • Dedicated team sites and project sites
  • Instant messaging
  • Knowledge and resource sharing

You can also enjoy greater document control, with the capacity for online editing of one core document, where the classic alternative could be an email thread with multiple overlapping responses on edits or solutions. With one document in one place, all thoughts are gathered cohesively.

Collaborative Work Stats Julia Freeman-Woolpert / Stat: Insight

As document owners therefore spend less time sifting through email and internal messaging threads, or shared drives, they can produce conclusive drafts more effectively. And as the superior focus that online editing affords, the finished article should feature the wisdom of all contributors.

3. Establish corporate culture and promote engagement

Everyone has the ability to access common promotional materials on your company intranet as well as process documentation and the like. As well as providing a determined strategic focus, the sense of inclusion that can come from being included in shared intranet projects and collaborations can drive real employee engagement.

There’s even the potential to create real enjoyment in work, if the intranet can be used as a place to share positive information. This could be any number of things, including:

  • Birthday wishes
  • Employee success stories
  • Humour (“SFW”, of course!)
  • Good news (individual, team, or company)
  • Employee polls

A key part of this is making sure the intranet space reflects the key ethos of your company. If you can pull this off and keep your sites engaging, you’re on your way to a better “IRL” workplace.

4. Increase efficiency with web publishing

Keep and update key employee literature in a shared online space and you can reduce overheads relating to paper printouts. Even better, you can edit handbooks and contact lists in real-time and have an updated document that is instantly accessible to all.

This gives your employees a wealth of business information at their disposal, and it is all accessible without emailing so-and-so in HR or going to see such-and-such in Business Process. You can web publish a wide range of documents, including:

  • Staff handbooks
  • Company policies
  • Health and Safety documentation
  • Information on benefits
  • Internal job listings
  • Historical data
  • Price lists
  • Competitor research
  • Customer service data

Whether you populate your system with forms that can be filled out online or choose to have downloadable PDFs or .doc files, the potential savings on print waste are terrific. Plus the potential for increased engagement can help reduce employee churn with the inherent savings and efficiencies that entails.

Engaged Employee Statistic Duane Jones / Stat: HR Review

5. Sharing resources without disrupting people’s day

Have you ever been working on a fairly urgent project when an email lands in your inbox that looks like it could be important? Only, once you’ve stopped, saved, and opened the email; it turns out to be some kind of resource that may be helpful some time next week. And by the time you return to the urgent project, you’ve lost your mojo.

Well, by sharing resources on a communal intranet, you can potentially save members of your project the trouble of distraction. Simply upload the relevant documents and then share the link when the project is approaching, or leave the documents to be read in their own good time.

Reduced distractions means greater productivity across the board for all contributors. So, by building a team site that allows non-urgent sharing alongside inbuilt scheduling features like below, you can create a space that helps your employees to work with focus and structure.

A good intranet = working smarter

Creating project and team sites on a shared intranet can be an invaluable way of driving employee engagement and increased efficiency. And SharePoint is the world’s most popular intranet software, with around 50% of all intranets developed using Microsoft’s application.

Part of the hugely popular Office 365 package, which includes Skype for Business and Office Web Apps, SharePoint can provide an in-built intranet solution. With more and more UK SMBs finding cloud-based applications essential, it could be a simple solution for the large market share that use “O365”.

Need a SharePoint specialist?

At Trendzer, part of our service wrap includes Office 365 activation services that help your organisation set up to SharePoint sites and more. If you are considering either buying Office 365 or setting up an enterprise intranet, contact us for expert assistance.

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