Over the last year, we have seen many great advancements with SharePoint communications sites that have bought it more closer of being an ideal Intranet. In this blog series, I will be discussing about some of my experiences for the last years in implementing Modern Intranet and best practices for the same.
In this specific blog, we will look at the strategies about the first block of building a great Intranet – Strategize the Intranet approach.
So what should we be looking for in the new Intranet? The answer in most of the cases is generally about easy reach and effective communication. To achieve this, we should be planning with the below headers.
Practically a single team couldn’t own the Intranet. It is a shared responsibility between the core business groups, who provide content and IT, who provide Tech support. Until this is defined effectively, there will be gaps for the Intranet to reach its full potential.
It is important to plan the steps for an Intranet roll out, not just the overall strategy. For eg. design, build, release to various groups (Big Bang) or progressively etc.
User Experience and Design
Over the years I have firsthand realised that User experience is very critical for good adoption of any system including Intranet. It must look aesthetically appealing and easy to use, so users can get to what they want and find it fast. So, for every Intranet it is needed to have a UX plan.
One of key aspects of any Intranet is seamless adoption. No organisation will be spending thousands of dollars teaching how to use the Intranet. And for who are thinking it, the ‘force down the throat’ approach just doesn’t work. It is important to have a Change and Adoption plan for the team.
Prepare a Wishlist
It is important to prepare the wish list of expected items way before starting the implementation process. Most of the times, I have seen teams prolonging it till the implementation phase which delays the release date.
MVP (Minimal Viable Product) cycle
Generally, Intranet is thought of a single shot solution which it is prepared perfectly for its first release. But most of the times, this approach doesn’t work effectively. It adds more strain and takes a lot of time to create an ideal Intranet. However, with SharePoint communication sites, we could make this process much simpler and faster.
Intranet could become an evolving process where we implement the first stage of the product with minimal viable requirements such as pages, navigation, must be used corporate components such as news, information etc. Then we build a feedback mechanism into the solution where we allow the focus users and teams to provide responses on the likability and adoption of the Intranet.
After the first stage is built and ready, and we start getting more feedback from business unit and focus groups. In the next phase, we could implement these requirements such as apps, solutions, workflows while expanding the scope of the Intranet.
Subsequently we keep adding more functionality with more cycles of design, build and feedback.
Using the above process, we could start with the strategy and plan of making a great Intranet. In the upcoming blogs we will look at more steps for building a great Intranet and start planning the next steps for it.