During this webinar we looked at how to effectively bridge the gap in your companies Microsoft 365 communication system
by using an employee app to reach frontline and external users, keeping the entire work force connected, engaged and productive.
Many organisations use communication systems such as Microsoft 365 to
reach their employees with important updates. Whilst these platforms are
generally successful at connecting with employees, some organisations
still face challenges when reaching a full hybrid workforce.
This is typically for one of three reasons:
Not all employees have a Microsoft 365 licence or access to the platform
When an organisation has more than one Microsoft 365 tenant
environment (often due to acquisitions or mergers)
Some field-workers struggle to access and use the platforms on mobile
In this webinar we explore the solutions to all these problems.
Watch the webinar:
What you will learn in this webinar:
In this 60 minute workshop our expert panel provide solutions to all your employee communication
issues and cover:
• The different types of employee apps available, and the features and functionality each of them offer.
• How employee apps can help increase employee communication, productivity, company engagement, and improve the overall employee experience within your organisation.
• How to best use employee apps to successfully reach and communicate with all you employees, whether they work in an office, remotely or are field-based.
Content Formula - Sales Manager
Alex has experience in running and triaging support at Content Formula across multiple clients and solutions such as intranets, learning management systems and custom solutions. He works with new clients, understanding challenges and objectives and recommending solutions
Content Formula - UX Director
John has worked across both design and technical disciplines - a rare combination that allow him to build a bridge between the user experience and technical teams. This means that feasibility, usability, delivery and ease of maintenance are baked-into all of our solutions.
Livetiles - Sales Manager
Lars has been working with LiveTiles for the past 6 years and been involved in a large amount of enterprise class digital workplace projects based on M365 SharePoint, MS Teams and the Reach frontline worker app. Prior to joining LiveTiles, lars held corporate management positions in the software industry in the EMEA region and before that also spend years in Silicon Valley (US).
Dan has worked on intranets since 1997 as an intranet and knowledge manager at Johnson & Johnson. He moved from the client side in 2005 and founded CF - the first intranet consultancy in the UK.
Dan is an intranet thought leader and blogs and speaks publicly on a regular basis. Dan gets involved with all projects and provides clients with strategic advice to ensure their intranets launch successfully, are widely adopted by users and have a high return on investment.
Olga works tirelessly - often behind the scenes - to ensure projects run smoothly, risks are anticipated and mitigated, and clients feel that their projects are in safe hands!
She drives rigour in all aspects of our business and regularly stress-tests our documentation and project controls. It’s because of her that we are an efficient, well-run agency. Her background in IT project management and business analysis means she also works client-facing as a Project Manager and gets closely involved in discovery phases.
Joe oversees the technical delivery of all our projects. He works closely with our UX consultants and clients to understand requirements and design appropriate technical solutions.
John joined CF in 2006 and worked his way up the ranks. He brings a deep knowledge of SharePoint intranets matched with a natural flair for user experience design.
He has worked across both design and technical disciplines - a rare combination that allow him to build a bridge between the user experience and technical teams. This means that feasibility, usability, delivery and ease of maintenance are baked-into all of our solutions.
Since the launch of Microsoft Viva in early 2021, Microsoft has continued to invest in its employee experience platform, by adding new features, connectors and capabilities to the existing four modules – Viva Connections, Viva Learning, Viva Insights and Viva Topics.
But in recent weeks the expansion of the platform and the Microsoft Viva brand has quickened with the announcement of three new modules: Viva Goals, Viva Results and Viva Engage.
In this post we’re going to explore the three new Viva modules, what they do and the value that they could bring to businesses.
What is Microsoft Viva?
Microsoft Viva as an employee experience platform that is delivered through Microsoft Teams. Initially four modules were announced, all of which have since launched. Even though Viva is positioned as a platform, it is arguably a series of separate apps within the Teams platform:
Viva Connections: A gateway to internal communications and company resources
Viva Insights: Personalised analytics and related insights for individuals, managers and leaders that support well-being, collaboration, productivity and more
Viva Learning: A learning hub that aggregates learning resources from a variety of different systems and sources
Viva Topics: A knowledge discovery platform that uses AI to source resources and experts on different topics.
Microsoft Viva has had huge interest from intranet, digital workplace and Microsoft 365 teams, who are actively deploying one or more of its modules across the digital workplace.
Let’s explore the opportunities the three recently announced modules bring.
Although Viva Goals was only formally announced in May 2022, it’s been on the roadmap for considerably longer, and is a direct result of Microsoft’s acquisition of Ally.io, a leading provider of Objectives and Key Results (OKR) software. OKR software helps organisations, teams and individuals to set meaningful goals and then record progress towards meeting them; it is a good way to give strategic context to employee’s daily work, for example.
The Viva Goals module brings the core OKR functionality from the Ally.io solution into Microsoft Teams, and presents an interesting option for organisations either using existing OKR software, or wanting to introduce it. Using Viva Goals will bring OKRs more directly into the flow of work in organisations and departments that use Microsoft Teams.
Viva Goals has several different options including:
OKRs available at the individual, team and organisational level
The ability to align OKRs with projects and tasks, with some integrations with applications like Jira
The ability to build custom dashboards to show OKR progress that can then be shared to help discussions, for example about progress of projects
Embed OKRs into Teams discussion threads.
Viva Goals will be made fully available in Q3 2022, and will be added as an option for those who have subscribed to the full Viva suite. It will also likely be available on a separate subscription. We can see Viva Goals really adding value in some organisations, and complementing other Viva modules, including Viva Learning
Viva Sales was announced in June and represents a slight departure from the rest of the suite, in that it is positioned as a “seller experience application” rather than being applicable for all employees.
Viva Sales provides a range of tools to help anyone involved in sales processes. These include using AI to facilitate the capture of client and sales data that might arise from interactions in Teams and Outlook which will automatically be entered into a CRM system, reducing or even eliminating manual entry.
Although this will undoubtedly include Microsoft Dynamics, the use of the generic CRM term in the announcement hints that there may well be connectors to other popular CRM systems.
Although the details are still vague, other features of Viva Sales will include:
Surfacing data from an organisation’s CRM system in Outlook and Teams, to provide context to communications and conversations with and about customers and prospects
Providing various insight and suggestions using AI, relating to sales conversations, interaction and activity
AI-driven analysis of sales calls and meetings providing actions lists, analysis of performance and even sentiment analysis.’
Although the full details of Viva Sales have still to come out and the module won’t be released until Q4 2022, we see lots of potential with Viva Sales.
CRM systems often do not get populated as much as they should do and can be disconnected from communication channels; we can see this working particularly well where non-sales staff are responsible for client relationships and even selling, and would benefit in having more visibility of CRM data. The AI-powered insights also sound intriguing.
The latest module to be announced is Viva Engage, revealed in a recent post on the Microsoft Viva blog and announced at the Microsoft Inspire event. Viva Engage is positioned as being “designed to help people and teams to be their best..[and] give leaders a new way to shape culture at their organization by unlocking communication and engagement opportunities for everyone”.
However, Viva Engage is not actually new and is, to some extent, another re-branding exercise from Microsoft. It’s essentially a newly designed Yammer Communities app for Microsoft Teams that will replace the existing app and adds some new features on top of the existing Yammer platform. This brings the Yammer experience more directly into Teams, and again has real value in organisations where Teams adoption is high.
The key new element is a feature where people can create “storylines” using traditional posts, or photos and videos (now rebranded as “stories”), similar to some consumer social media platforms. Stories will appear in a carousel format at the top of a storylines tab..
Viva Engage will be free for anybody who has an existing license that covers Yammer. The Communities app will be rebranded in late August.”
The announcement of Viva Engage has led some to initial confusion. In the threads to the original announcement and articles, some have said that trying to differentiate between Viva Engage and Yammer is confusing to explain to users, essentially as Engage is essentially a Yammer app. Others have asked what it means for the future of Yammer.
Defending the announcement Steve Nguynen confirmed that there is no plan to rebrand Yammer and that the “best way to think about this announcement is that Yammer is going to power the Viva Engage experience… and the beginning of us bringing Yammer more closely to our Viva suite of products.”
While we like the new storylines features, we agree that the positioning of Viva Engage in relation to Yammer is a little confusing as they are essentially the same product. We’d also like to see the Storylines feature added to the general Yammer platform to keep everything in sync.
Keep on moving forward with Viva
Microsoft keeps on investing in Viva and the three new modules extend the scope of what it can do. We wouldn’t be surprised if more modules were announced through the year.
If you’d like to discuss how you can use Microsoft Viva in your organisation or want to explore the potential of the newly announced modules, then get in touch!
Driving adoption and change management (ACM) in Microsoft 365 and related channels such as a SharePoint intranet is a big-ticket item for every intranet and digital workplace team.
Teams want to increase the adoption of the platform and ensure it is being used in ways which deliver sustainable value; an intranet or digital workplace with limited adoption is not successful. But adoption and change management is not always straightforward.
Recently the Content Formula Team – consisting of Alex Yeomans, Manpreet Baghi and John Scott – hosted a webinar titled “Achieving adoption on your Microsoft 365 intranet”.
We were lucky to be joined by Si Steers, Head of Digital Product, Channels & Editorial, Internal Communications at Entain Group. Content Formula worked with Si and his team to help launch a new digital workplace at Entain, a large and growing brand in the gaming sector.
In this post we’re going to explore ten ACM takeaways from the session. You can also watch a recording below.
1 The ADKAR framework is great for embedding and sustaining change
Fundamentally change management is about people and changing behaviours. It’s also a mature discipline with a vast body of knowledge and range of frameworks and methodologies. One of the most popular of these is ADKAR – a robust methodology that Content Formula use and advocate for. One of the strengths of the ADKAR model is that helps to embed but then also sustain change but through a series of different steps.
In the webinar, Manpreet walked us through each step:
Awareness – driving awareness about the change and the need to change (“Have you heard of the proposed change”)
Desire – focusing and instilling a desire for people to change (“I am excited to get on board”)
Knowledge – providing knowledge about the change (“I have attended the training session and feel more confident”)
Ability – ensuring people are actually carry out the change required (“I am using the software daily nowH)
Reinforcement – reinforcing the change for the longer-term (“I am complemented for incorporating this change”).
2 ACM is critical for Microsoft 365
Many organisations are implementing Microsoft 365 across their digital workplace. Here, adoption and change management is integral for success. Achieving ROI on the platform is dependent on adoption at scale but this will involve people using new tools and working in new ways for widespread communication and collaboration; only then can you expected to get the widespread productivity and efficiency gains that Microsoft 365 promises.
Manpreet also explained how Microsoft 365 also enables remote and hybrid working – another area which requires extensive change management. Moreover, when changes in behaviour are truly embedded and users are confident with using new tools, it also means you can start to advance the digital workplace and explore new and more sophisticated ways of using the tools at hand.
3 ACM has some key challenges
ACM is not always straightforward and does come with some common challenges. When teams are aware of these, they can then plan ahead to make sure their ACM efforts have maximum impact. Common challenges cover a number of areas:
Change fatigue is a common issue in change management with employees exhausted from a continual series of initiatives, making it harder to embed any further change.
Resistance to change is also common and there will always be groups who feel either threatened by the change or refuse to break existing habits.
ACM is often about winning both hearts and minds, and frequently employees get how to work with new tools, but don’t get the “why” behind the change, making it harder to change behaviours.
Sometimes usage is not advanced enough – for example Teams adoption might be high, but it is not being used in the right way – so the required change has not gone far enough.
Microsoft 365 and Office 365 are constantly being updated with new tools and improvements to existing tools within the suite; while this has its benefits, it does mean it can be hard to keep up with all the changes, and therefore manage the change effectively.
In digital workplace projects, ACM activity is not always adequately budgeted for; the change management budget can also get eaten into as other priorities or issues emerge.
In the webinar the team explored some of the ways to tackle these challenges such as using personas to help design the change effort and getting the right messaging across in communications.
4 Think about the short, medium and long-term
In the second half of the webinar, we heard from Si Steers at Entain Group. Entain is a diverse company with 25,000 employees spread across different countries, and includes a 14,000-strong frontline workforce based in shops in the UK. Content Formula helped Entain to move to a new Microsoft 365-based digital workplace, introducing Yammer and a new intranet called Entain.Me.
Si explained that when it comes to ACM it is important to think in the short-, medium- and long-term. Over the course of the year-long project to launch Entain’s digital workplace and also after going live, managing change has been baked into everything the core team does; initially getting people excited about the change, making it “sticky” in the medium term, and then refreshing the platform to support the ongoing change.
5 Launch with a splash but support users
In the session, Si talked about some of the activities the team carried out to launch Entain.Me, helping to grab the attention of employees, but also supporting users:
The team designed a communication campaign that had the consistent message that Entain.Me was a unique and personalised experience built around every individual user
They created a hashtag called #PlayYourWay and other communications that strongly echoed this message.
The launched an Entain.Me “Playbook” designed to help users get the most out of the new platform.
A classy and well-received launch video was created which was more of a “lifestyle” video than being about technology.
They made a quick-fire video series walking users through different platform features.
They created a Yammer community where people could ask questions about Entain.Me
They held a global “masterclass” event held via Yammer, which was an introduction and walk-through of the new intranet.
6 Support your publishing community
An essential component of any new intranet is also having good content. Content Formula worked with Si’s team to also focus on change management for the content owner community too, ensuring they felt supported. A site for content owners called Entain.Me Guru with a variety of guides and resources was set up. Initial training was also provided with an ongoing set of weekly drop-in content clinics, each one focusing on a separate theme, as well as the ability to ask different questions. This helped content owners migrate and create content in time for the launch of Entain.Me.
7 Leverage champions for long-term success
One successful change management approach that the Entain team has used is to leverage local champions who can embed changes with their peers in meaningful ways that make sense for local teams; this also helps a small central team to drive ACM across a large and diverse workforce.
The “Tecchies” – part of a wider ambassador programme called the Entainers – are acting as change agents on the ground to drive adoption of both Yammer and Entain.Me. They attend team meetings, share updates and help colleagues on the ground. Currently there are about 40 champions, but Si explained that he is keen to expand this to support the wider digital workplace journey.
8 Be mindful of the schedule
One important element in change management is to consider other change initiatives that are landing around the same time, or the order with which initiatives are launched to the business. Si explained that Yammer was launched before Entain.Me for two main reasons; firstly, the team did not want to overwhelm employees with two platforms launching at the same time. Secondly, as many Entain.Me sites had embedded Yammer groups, they wanted to ensure that Yammer was populated with content and discussions before people viewed it on the new intranet, so they didn’t find an “empty room”.
9 Don’t stand still
The need for ACM is always ongoing, even after a site has launched or a digital project has finished. Si advised that it as important not to “stand still”. Entain.Me was almost an MVP when it was launched, but there was always a vision for it evolve into a wider digital workplace with integrations to support a better employee experience.
The team are now working hard to iterate Entain.Me, for example to leverage Viva Connections to deliver more of that digital workplace “dashboard” functionality. Si emphasised that adoption and change management is a “continual journey without a start or end point” and it was essential not to let a site go out of date.
Supporting collaboration is one of the main objectives for any digital workplace, helping to drive a range of benefits from increased productivity to inspiring innovation, supporting the hybrid workplace to better customer service. Collaboration is very important as a source of competitive advantage, and is often reflected in digital transformation strategies, company values and more.
In this post, we’re going to explore the world of collaboration tools and why Microsoft 365 is a strong collaborative platform. We’ll also explore the different Microsoft tools which support collaboration in more detail.
Collaboration tools and the digital workplace
Enabling collaboration is high on the agenda for any digital workplace team. The good news is that there is an enormous range of different digital workplace tools out there to enable collaboration.
One of the reasons that there are so many is that multiple types of collaboration occur every day in organisations: collaboration across teams and projects, wider collaboration across communities, document collaboration, online meetings, user workshops, synchronous and asynchronous collaboration, brainstorming, ideation – the list goes on. In practice, different tools are needed to best support these different forms of collaboration.
Microsoft and collaboration software
Because of the wide variety of tools needed to fully support collaboration, many organisations choose to deploy Microsoft 365, which provides an excellent collaboration platform for several reasons:
There are multiple tools suited to different types of collaboration, covering the majority of most companies’ needs
Microsoft is continually investing in the collaboration capabilities of the suite, so you’re future-proofed
The tools integrate together seamlessly to support more advanced collaboration and related use cases
The quality of the tools is high, with well-designed interfaces, useful features and ready-to-go support resources
Considering the breadth of features you get, the cost per user is reasonable
Many organisations already have Office 365 or Microsoft 365, so many employees will have experience with the tools within them.
There are multiple other reasons why companies choose to go down the 365 path, so the decision almost becomes a no-brainer.
Having said this, the collaboration tools within Microsoft 365 tools are not perfect, and there is room for improvement. There is also some overlap between capabilities which can cause confusion.
Let’s look at some of the key Microsoft 365 collaboration tools that businesses should be using.
1 Microsoft Teams
When most people consider “collaboration” and Microsoft, they usually think of Teams. Teams is a unified communication and collaboration platform encompassing multiple capabilities that can be used for collaboration, including:
Online video meetings
Hybrid video meetings enabled through an ecosystem of Teams-friendly audio and visual equipment
Group audio calls
Group discussions and messaging for both real-time and asynchronous collaboration
Wider community collaboration using discussions or embedding Yammer feeds
More advanced collaboration tools, such as whiteboarding
Embedding other forms of collaboration, including documents that people can work on simultaneously
Additional Teams apps that connect to non-Microsoft tools can also support collaboration.
One of the most powerful aspects of Teams is its sheer ability to cover so many collaboration and related communication scenarios all from one place, with seamless alternation between the two and the ability to work in parallel. An online video meeting, for example, can incorporate a discussion thread to help the flow of collaboration.
Teams is also set for the future of collaboration, with support for Mesh – Microsoft’s mixed reality platform that may see collaboration increasingly using augmented and virtual reality.
Yammer is usually regarded as a social collaboration platform or even a social network that is bundled into most Microsoft 365 and Office 365 licences. It is now relatively mature and provides a good tool to support more enterprise-wide or community-wide collaboration through Communities of Practice, Communities of Interest and Employee Resource Groups, for example. You can add documents into Yammer, but its main function is to facilitate discussion threads, with the ability to do @mentions and #hashtags.
Some internal communicators use Yammer more as an engagement and communication channel than a collaboration platform, and the truth is, it can be a good tool for discussion-based collaboration for working teams and project groups, as well as more of an engagement channel for wider communities. There are also tools within Yammer that support scenarios like embedding polls and giving praise (engagement), or marking best answers (collaboration and knowledge sharing). Another powerful feature of Yammer is the straightforward ability to embed feeds into SharePoint pages and Teams tabs.
Before Microsoft Teams, the main engines for collaboration were SharePoint team sites, which were often used by project teams and other working groups for everyday collaboration. Team sites are still used today through SharePoint modern, and provide a good way for teams to connect with each other and share documents through a document library, supply news updates, share discussions via threads and keep on track through the task management feature.
SharePoint further supports collaboration in a number of ways:
Providing opportunities to gather feedback and input from wider groups through commenting, allowing for more community-led or even enterprise-wide collaboration
Embedding content and information that supports collaboration best practices or helps people connect to different collaboration spaces and communities
Embedding Yammer feeds that support more community-led collaboration
More specific collaboration processes that might utilise SharePoint features like lists.
We explore all of the above and more in a post dedicated to how to use SharePoint to support collaboration.
4 OneDrive and document collaboration
Collaborating on documents is a common, and thus critical, activity for most organisations, and Microsoft 365 provides lots of opportunities for multiple people to work on the same document simultaneously. It’s hard to argue which specific Microsoft tool facilitates document collaboration. OneDrive provides an opportunity for individuals to share a document with others, while Microsoft Office apps like Word allow online access to the actual file. Features such as commenting and track changes also support such collaboration.
Sometimes, collaborative documents are also stored in SharePoint libraries that are accessed through Microsoft Teams. Although collaboration might happen in real-time on the same version of a document, document versioning within a SharePoint document library also supports collaboration.
5 Microsoft Viva
Microsoft Viva is an employee experience platform rather than a collaboration platform, but there are elements of it that support collaboration. Viva Connections surfaces posts from Yammer groups, while Viva Topics can encourage people to connect with subject matter experts. Viva Learning facilitates seamless access to Microsoft Learn resources that provide tips on how to use collaboration tools. Meanwhile, Viva Insights supplies analytics and insights into meetings that will suggest better practices.
Microsoft collaboration tools
Microsoft 365 has a great set of tools to support different kinds of collaboration. Within these are specific features that will meet most use cases. If you’d like to discuss how Microsoft 365 and the Microsoft stack can support your collaboration strategy, then get in touch.
Sharepoint’s communication sites are one of the platform’s most-used templates, and have become a key part of the digital communications landscape in many organisations. It’s not uncommon for there to be hundreds of communication sites across any SharePoint tenant. An intranet may also lean heavily on communication sites, and Microsoft Viva Connections will allow communication sites to be surfaced through Microsoft Teams.
In this post, we’re going to explore SharePoint communication sites in more detail, along with their key features, the benefits you can generate from using them and more.
What is a SharePoint communication site?
A communication site is a modern SharePoint template that is designed to help people communicate to wider groups about their project, group, team or topic. Microsoft themselves say a communication site is there to “inform readers – primarily for them to read, not create”.
What are the main features of a communication site?
A communication site is made up of a main home page and a number of different pages branching off from it, as well as potential additional elements like a document library. Each page is made up of web parts, all of which are effectively different features that you can arrange on the page.
A default communication site home page has a number of standard web parts, but you can easily add new ones – the communication site template is just the starting point for whatever you want to build. There is a huge variety of different web parts available straight out of the box, so your site can be highly versatile.
There are too many web parts to describe them all in detail here, but there are some common parts and components which are usually found on communication sites.
Communication sites are about communication! At the centre of this is the News web part, keeping your audience up to speed with what is going on. The News web part is attractive and easy for publishers to use, so can help support a decentralised publishing model.
The Hero web part sits at the top of a communication site, providing focus and some visual interest to the page. Typically, this features five tiles of attractive images (which can be added by the site owner), with each tile linking to pages, documents, news items and more.
A communication site will consist of a number of different pages with varying purposes, including conveying reference information or engaging your audience, among others. Each page can contain further web parts.
Many use SharePoint for its document libraries, and your site will likely include a library of any documents that need to be shared for reference. You can use different web parts such as Highlighted Content to link to and highlight documents, and even embed a document using the File Viewer web part so it can be viewed within a page. The Recent documents web part can also display recently added documents.
SharePoint lists are one of the most powerful elements of SharePoint, and are an excellent way to store information and data which is often referred to but frequently changes; the list provides one source of truth. SharePoint lists can be formatted in different ways and even be involved in workflow. You can embed a List web part in your communication site that could display reference information like a list of first aiders, approved suppliers or office locations, for example.
Linking to essential sites, documents, apps and websites is always very useful, and the Quick links web part allows you to add frequently-used links to your communication site.
The People web part means you can display a summary of key contacts, and links to their profiles. It can be used to introduce a team, display a page contact, show who the leaders of a function are and more.
Events and group calendar
You can use the Events web site to promote upcoming events, while a Group calendar does just what it sounds like – displays events, milestones and other dates such as upcoming national holidays.
Deploying a different communication site template
When you create a communication site, you can choose from a number of communication site templates geared towards different use cases. Each have slightly varying designs and default web parts. At the time of writing, the following templates are available:
Topic (the default communication site template)
New employee onboarding
Blank (a blank site with no web parts).
Additionally, you can see a number of different designs for your communication site through Microsoft’s SharePoint look book where you can get inspiration for multiple use cases, and then actually deploy the template that catches your eye.
What can I use a communication site for?
A communication site has lots of use cases for businesses – here are some of the most typical ones.
Digital employee communication from a function, division, location or team
Communication sites are a great way to distribute news and provide updates to the rest of the organisation from individual divisions, teams, functions or other groups. This facilitates a flow of “local” employee communications throughout an organisation without necessarily involving the busy internal communications team who might prefer to focus on messaging from the centre.
Information on a topic
Communication sites provide a great opportunity to disseminate comprehensive information and resources on specific topics. This “information hub” or “one stop shop” approach could cover a topic such as wellbeing, a client team, a project or a process.
A portal for a particular group
A communication site can also be a great information resource aimed at a particular group of employees. For example, it could provide a hub for new starters, with information, checklists and even welcome videos to help them settle into their new role.
Acting as a hub for senior leaders
The “Leadership connection” communication site templates created by Microsoft acts as a place for leaders to interact with employees. This is a good use case for a communication site, fostering transparency and dialogue, providing opportunities for leaders to be more visible and collating feedback directly from employees. There is also the potential to embed a Yammer community for further conversations.
A communication site is also a good place to collect learning resources, such as advice on how to use Microsoft 365 or guides to help your intranet publishers.
Intranet building blocks
A SharePoint intranet, either using SharePoint straight out of the box or in conjunction with an “in a box” product like LiveTiles, can act as the foundation of your intranet, with each communication site consolidating “microsites” relating to different regions, functions, departments and even topics like wellbeing.
SharePoint home site
A communication site can be turned into your SharePoint home site, which might equate to your intranet home page (and could actually be that) and will act as employees’ default starting point, as well as defining some of the default settings for other communication sites. It can also power Viva Connections, which requires a home site to be enabled. Note that currently, only one home site can be declared per SharePoint tenant.
SharePoint communication site or SharePoint Team site?
A question we’re often asked is whether it’s best to use a SharePoint communication site or team site. This rather depends on what you are going to use the individual site for, but as a rule, communication sites are better for when you are communicating with a larger audience – potentially the entire organisation – while a team site is designed to serve the needs of a particular team or group who are working together.
For example, let’s say I’m the finance department in a company. We might set up a communication site to provide information about what we do and keep employees up to date about finance topics and related financial procedures. But we’d use a team site just for the people in the finance department to help track and co-ordinate our work, share documents and so on.
A similar argument applies if you are using a Microsoft Teams space rather than a SharePoint team site; unlike a SharePoint communication site, Microsoft Teams is utilised more for internal team collaboration and communication across a distinct group. In an old analogy often cited in the intranet world, a communication site is used for your shop window content, while your SharePoint team site or Microsoft Teams space is more like the stock room or staff room.
Need advice on using SharePoint communication sites? Get in touch!
SharePoint communication sites are highly versatile, and can be used for a variety of communication needs. They are an important part of any SharePoint or Microsoft 365 digital workplace. Need help or advice on getting the best out of your SharePoint communication sites? Then get in touch!
Entain is one of the world’s leading sports betting and gaming groups and owns several prominent retail and online brands. Headquartered in the UK, the FTSE 100 company employees 24,000 staff spread across 20 global offices around the world, including 15,000 retail employees based in the UK.
A digital employee experience fit for a vibrant brand
On the back of an exciting rebrand, Entain was keen to establish a new intranet and digital workplace that would celebrate its vibrant new identity and give momentum to ambitions to be the world-leader in sports betting and gaming entertainment.
Entain wished to introduce a new LiveTiles intranet that would combine with SharePoint Online to create a world-class channel for global digital communications, while also launching and integrating Yammer to underpin community and collaboration. Entain also wished to retire an existing Jive intranet.
Working as one team
Recognizing Content Formula’s wealth of experience and specialist expertise in LiveTiles and Microsoft 365, we were engaged as Entain’s implementation partner for the new digital workplace.
Working closely with stakeholders in HR, Internal Communications and IT, we held workshops and conducted a user survey, producing a detailed discovery report with recommendations for the new intranet and a suggested information architecture. We also produced wireframes.
Following agreement on the scope, we set about developing and implementing the new intranet, working closely with the client as one project team across several different streams covering technical advice, Yammer, integrations, content and retiring Jive.
Entain.me – a gateway to the digital workplace
A brand-new SharePoint and LiveTiles intranet called Entain.Me acts as an attractive and compelling gateway to the new digital workplace, providing personalized access to inspiring communications, operational content and critical apps from right across the Group. Using the LiveTiles Noticeboard feature, it brings updates into view from all around the world, reflecting the everyday activity of a busy and diverse workforce.
Yammer drives global conversations and connection
Working closely with internal communications, we provided ongoing strategic advice and on-the-ground support to launch a series of Yammer group pilots, leading to a global roll-out of Yammer to all 24,000 employees.
Adoption is growing daily with social collaboration heavily integrated into the Entain.me experience through multiple embedded Yammer feeds supporting conversations and connections. This complements the use of Microsoft Teams for closed project and working group-based collaboration.
Support for content owners
Entain.me features over 100 sites, supporting locations, groups and functions from across the world. To ensure high quality content, we provided support for a network of content owners through training and weekly drop-in clinics, helping them to migrate their existing sites from the legacy Jive intranet and creating new Entain.me sites that are both engaging and useful.
A true digital workplace
To ensure Entain.me is a true digital workplace, the LiveTiles Everywhere persistent toolbar has been deployed with the Entain.me ecosystem, connecting employees to information from different systems and helping busy employees keep on top of their to do lists.
We delivered initial integrations with ServiceNow and Oracle HR, with further integrations planned in one of the most popular features in the new digital workplace.
Communication in the flow of work
With Microsoft Teams adoption on the rise, we also ensured Entain.me can be accessed within the Teams app, from desktop and mobile. This ensures that the new intranet is available on all devices and by all staff including those working in retail, bringing communication and messaging directly into the flow of work.
A vastly improved digital employee experience with strong adoption
The combination of Entain.me, Yammer and the Microsoft Teams app has resulted in a vastly improved digital employee experience, bringing the new brand to life, and helping staff get things done.
Early feedback from staff and senior stakeholders has been overwhelmingly positive, and initial adoption is exceeding expectations. We are continuing to work with Entain to evolve an even more exciting digital workplace.
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