Five Microsoft collaboration tools every business should be using

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

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.

2 Yammer

Yammer

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.

3 SharePoint

SharePoint

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

One Drive

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

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.

How to use SharePoint communication sites

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.

News

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.

Hero area

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.

Pages

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.

Document library

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 list

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.

Quick links

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.

People

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)
  • Crisis management
  • Department
  • Leadership connection
  • Learning central
  • New employee onboarding
  • Volunteer centre
  • Showcase
  • 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.

Learning resource

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!

Powering digital employee experience with a new Microsoft 365 intranet

Entain

Delivering a modern digital workplace hub in Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams for a vibrant new brand

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.

The video

The result

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.

Mobile intranet app case study

Yorkshire Tea

A mobile intranet app for front line workers with a focus on communications, ease-of-use and engagement.

Employees: 1,500
Industry: Food and beverage
Location: Europe

The challenge

While elegant Yorkshire Tea shops and quality products remind us of the simple pleasures in life, they needed to be able to communicate effectively with all employees, whether at headquarters, on a factory floor in India or a retail outlet in Leeds. Added to the challenge was the fact that many of the frontline employees had no digital identity within the Yorkshire Tea corporate ecosystem.

Our approach

It was clear that Yorkshire Tea needed a simple, portable means of reaching staff. The LiveTiles employee communications solution ‘Reach’ was the perfect match. ‘Reach’ is a mobile-first internal comms solution delivering targeted content through dedicated channels, and multilingual capability.

The result

More engaged and connected staff and a more inclusive communications culture. Hundreds of workers are now using Reach daily from wherever they are based, connecting, posting, and engaging via mobile or desktop.

Yorkshire Tea – a tradition of valuing people evolves into the digital age Is there anything better than settling down with a comforting cup of tea?

In the business world, excellent staff engagement and internal communication comes close...especially for tea merchants who embraced employee communications app ‘LiveTiles Reach.’

Yorkshire Tea are one of the biggest tea manufacturers in Europe with a reputation for creating a truly excellent product with a focus on craft, quality and valuing their people. The company has a network of production plants in both the UK and India and their tea’s reputation is among the best in the world. Yorkshire Tea also have spin-off businesses in the retail market, including bakehouses and coffee shops.

The client’s primary means of communicating with their staff was via email and a couple of employee newsletters. One of their key pain points was the wasting of people’s time and resources, not knowing if these outdated forms of communication were getting through to the diverse groups of employees and the feeling that important cohorts of colleagues were not being reached or included in the workplace comms and culture.

How to improve food and beverage employee engagement while retaining the brand

While elegant Yorkshire Tea shops and quality products remind us of the simple pleasures in life, they needed to be able to communicate effectively with all employees, whether at headquarters, on a factory floor in India or a retail outlet in Leeds. Added to the challenge was the fact that many of the frontline employees had no digital identity within the Yorkshire Tea corporate ecosystem.

With so many different touch points to consider, Yorkshire Tea needed a solution to easily communicate with their staff, no matter their role, location or device. To achieve this, they set out to embrace innovative and easy-to-use internal communications technology.

Yorkshire Tea also recognized that spending so much time in email systems meant their communications were very one-way. They were very keen to move onto a much more advanced solution, something that was mobile-first, so they could move away from their dependence on email and create a two-way dialogue with their staff.

Finding the perfect solution with LiveTiles Reach

It was clear that Yorkshire Tea needed a simple, portable means of reaching staff. The LiveTiles employee communications solution ‘Reach’ was the perfect match. ‘Reach’ is a mobile-first internal comms solution delivering targeted content through dedicated channels, and multilingual capability.

What’s more, ‘Reach’ seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Teams and Office 365 or it can also be standalone. This is ideal for including all the frontline colleagues who may not have M365 licences assigned to them. Reach’s simplicity and ability to unite the workforce is its unique selling point.

The Result: Engaged, connected staff with LiveTiles Reach

More engaged and connected staff and a more inclusive communications culture. Hundreds of workers are now using Reach daily from wherever they are based, connecting, posting, and engaging via mobile or desktop.

Staff are innovating, creating events, participating in polls, an employee of the week page, and their own buy and sell. They also have their own ideas for innovative additions to Reach. The employee voice at Yorkshire Tea has never been more included or amplified. This massive increase in digital workplace participation has also positively impacted the evolution of company culture as Yorkshire Tea continue to accelerate their digital transformation journey.

After six months of using Reach the Yorkshire Tea comms team is hugely satisfied with the solution and how it’s benefiting the business. An off-shoot of the project was a digital paper being published monthly for and by employees, driving more effective corporate and bottom-up content and conversations. A survey was carried out with staff and leadership teams, asking for their thoughts on how the new Reach solution was benefiting the organization. Unanimously, the responses were incredibly positive.

Their "Employee of the Week" page, and a buy and sell trading page have become extremely popular. Polls and events have also really taken off and brought greater connectivity to the company culture and corporate communications.

Yorkshire Tea goal was to get around 1500 staff actively using Reach daily. Currently, around 900 staff are using Reach, and user numbers are rising steadily every day.

The Comms team at Yorkshire Tea has gathered plenty of ideas for new additions to ‘Reach’ that could be implemented going forward, such as a livestream function, a live Q and A function, and the ability to attach photos to news posts.

Employee engagement on SharePoint intranet

Internal communications and employee engagement on SharePoint

Award winning engagement campaigns with measurable results

The brief

As SharePoint consultants we are often asked, how can SharePoint be used to drive employee engagement? We've used SharePoint to deliver really creative engagement and internal communications campaigns – quite a few of which have won awards. Based on our learnings throughout the years we have developed a 7-pronged framework for employee engagement in the digital workplace. We call it Seven Secrets. At the heart of it lies social interaction, something that SharePoint – if used properly – can do very well.

Our approach

Here are 3 examples of our best employee engagement campaigns:

Example 1: We mobilized over 6000 Johnson & Johnson employees (50% of the workforce) to take part in fundraising activities across AsiaPacific. Making Smiles won us a gold award at the prestigious Step Two Intranet Innovation Awards in 2014 and was a finalist in Melcrum’s Awards for internal communication.

Example 2: We used SharePoint to drive awareness and understanding of Ethicon’s corporate values across EMEA. We did this by creating a fun online awards campaign. The campaign reached 100% of the target audience and 431 nominations were made across 900 employees.

Example 3: The Better World Walk intranet was pivotal in raising $250,000 for Operation Smile by encouraging employees to do a virtual sponsored walk across the EMEA region. The highly social campaign used SharePoint to drive fun photo sharing all the while promoting health and fitness. Better World Walk was a finalist in the Communiqué Awards in 2014.

The result

SharePoint doesn’t have to mean dry, sometimes boring intranets. Our SharePoint consultancy know how to make SharePoint look good and work really hard to deliver impressive and hard results when it comes to employee engagement.

Client testimonial:
"I had the pleasure of working with Content Formula on our internal campaign. They are the business partners that every client hopes to have but not always finds: dependable, extremely meticulous, friendly and never skip a beat. They have been instrumental to the success of our campaigns."

SharePoint intranet consolidation

SharePoint intranet consolidation

Harmonising a business by consolidating 22 intranets onto one platform

The brief

Consolidate 22 standalone operating company intranets into one regional EMEA intranet to create a single destination and maximise best practice sharing and collaboration for comms and HR.

  • Our client, a leading medical devices manufacturer, wanted to unite employees by having one regional platform for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.
  • One company portal would reinforce the business message of “One EMEA, One business.”
  • We needed to centralise company news flow and employee communications while ensuring local teams still had the right tools to work effectively.
  • Harmonise branding across the countries.

Our approach

A thorough user and stakeholder discovery phase shaped the right SharePoint intranet to suit employees across the region:

  • User interviews with end users and close meetings with stakeholders throughout the information architecture and user experience phase.
  • Our SharePoint consultancy developed a central site and a toolkit of designs, templates and web-parts to provide flexibility for countries to tailor their channels whilst also ensuring consistency and harmonisation
  • We built “killer apps” to maximise communications – including People on the Move, to communicate people moves and promotions and a chat facility to allow dialogue between leaders and employees

The result

Project rolled out over 12 months leading to increased engagement and collaboration between employees and operating companies:

  • A 300% increase to the number of unique visitors to the site every month.
  • Time on site increase by 250%.
  • Improved top-down communications facilitated new EMEA initiatives.
  • £100k savings on licences and human resources per annum.

"Content Formula worked closely with the management team on a new Intranet strategy that would lead to stronger employee engagement and business alignment. This work required technical expertise, strong account management and cultural understanding given the scope and breadth of the project, which included the integration of 20+ portals to a new platform. Content Formula provided strong partnership on this complex and highly visible internal initiative for our company. The project was completed with strong reviews and support."

Vice President EMEA of Strategic Affairs and Communications, a global medical device company

SharePoint experts deliver gamification, user experience and design

Using SharePoint to share digital marketing best practice across Pfizer EMEA

Our SharePoint experts deliver sexy SharePoint design, gamification and elegant user experience

The brief

Pfizer’s requirement was to replace two SharePoint intranet sites with one solution that would enable digital marketing managers to find and share digital marketing channel information and best practice.

  • The site needed to look engaging and “cool” whilst remaining within brand guidelines
  • Be simple to administer
  • Intuitive navigation and elegant user experience
  • Drive the digital mindset within Pfizer

Our approach

Our SharePoint consultancy worked closely with stakeholders and users at Pfizer to define requirements and understand business objectives

  • A full content audit of both sites was undertaken to ensure that good content was migrated and new content requirements were identified
  • Our SharePoint consultants used an agile approach to development, working in sprints and testing and bug fixing as we progressed
  • We introduced elements of gamification to encourage interaction, awarding badges for posted questions that received a lot of interaction.
  • We created an identity for the Digihub that was differentiated from other Pfizer SharePoints but remained within Pfizer’s brand guidelines

The result

  • We designed and delivered a hub for Pfizers digital marketing community which enabled speedy access to key information with the desired engaging look and feel.
  • Gamification has helped drive contributions and build community across a geographically dispersed region.

SharePoint intranet designs to drive collaboration and sharing in FMCG company

Global collaboration and information sharing in SharePoint 2010

Multi-brand SharePoint intranet for food industry client

The brief

Mars wanted to overcome a tendency for brand marketing teams to collaborate locally by enabling the brand teams to collaborate and share best practice globally via SharePoint.

  • Mars wanted the ability to easily roll the site out to multiple brands
  • It was important that the community was engaged from launch
  • Findability of content and assets was a key objective

Our approach

Our SharePoint and intranet consultants worked closely with the stakeholders and end users at Mars to design a site that:

  • Used gamification and collaboration to engage employees
  • Was intuitive to users and aided speedy access to key assets and libraries
  • Was templated to enable staged roll outs to multiple brands with minimal cost
  • Utilized user centered design to create an environment that engaged a brand obsessed user base
  • Integrated with Mars chosen ESN

The result

Brand portals have now been rolled out across major FMCG food brands: Mars, M&M’s, Snickers, Twix, Dove/ Galaxy and Maltesers

Global internal news site on SharePoint | Content Formula

Global internal news site on SharePoint

Social news and content delivery for 30,000 employees

The brief

Jaguar Land Rover wanted to move their staff magazine online and introduce social interactions. They wanted employees to engage with and impact the news agenda whilst accessing the site from desktop, tablet and smartphone.

The team at Jaguar Land Rover were focused on the creation of a site that delivered an intuitive user experience (UX) regardless of device, with an engaging design that appropriately showcased their luxury brands.

Our approach

Our SharePoint consultants worked closely with the Internal Communications team at JLR to create a user-centered solution that met the businesses objectives.

  • Our user experience designers created a home page with three news columns, which enabled employees to influence the news agenda via a “trending” column. This column displays content in order of popularity, based on the number of likes, shares and comments the content has generated over the previous few days.
  • We also enabled the Comms team to pin news to the right hand side of the page.
  • We utilized defined content tags that enabled users to customize their view and allowed the site to push related twitter and instagram content based on the tags attributed to news articles.
  • In designing the mobile and tablet view, we ensured a consistent navigation whilst introducing the mobile gestures that JLR’s employees would expect.
  • Our graphic designers worked with JLR’s brand guidelines to create an engaging design that enhanced the visual nature of JLR’s premium video and imagery.

The result

Content Formula designed and developed a high-end SharePoint with social interaction integrated with premium content. The user experience was rich, engaging and optimized for multiple devices.

Responsive intranet on SharePoint 2013 for railway industry client

Personalised and responsive SharePoint 2013 intranet

How we created an engaging platform for the Office of Rail Regulation

The brief

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) wanted to re-develop their intranet on SharePoint 2013 to better serve the needs of their staff across 6 UK locations. They wanted their new SharePoint intranet to be a more modern representation of their organisation and achieve the following objectives:

  • Create a SharePoint 2013 platform where consistent messages and information can be shared
  • Reinforce a positive company culture and facilitate employee engagement and the internal communication strategy
  • Allow office and non-office based staff to access relevant information whether on the move or at their desk.
  • Drive collaboration between offices.

Our approach

We needed to ensure the mobile context was built into the user experience from the outset. We consulted heavily with stakeholders and end users to ensure the information architecture was well structured and ran several workshops to understand the types of user journeys that would be required in a mobile context.

Through our early discovery work, our SharePoint consultants learned that the intranet should not be perceived as London-centric. They had conducted some insightful user research that pointed towards the intranet needing elements of personalisation based on job role and office location.

As with all of our SharePoint projects, our SharePoint experts start from the position of utilising mainly out-of-the-box components. However, we needed to create certain bespoke components for things like navigation and personalisation and were able to do this via front-end code, not impacting the SharePoint core.

The result

The site was delivered and launched in a 3-month timeframe. Our SharePoint consultancy worked hand-in-hand with the ORR intranet team and acted as a bridge between them and their outsourced IS provider.

End users are feeding back that they really like the new intranet and early data shows signs of much-increased engagement with corporate news and other content areas.

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