Top 10 crucial questions to ask before building a SharePoint intranet 

SharePoint intranet questions

SharePoint is the most common base technology for an intranet and it’s no surprise that many organisations choose to use it for their intranet project. However, before undertaking a project to build a SharePoint intranet, it’s important to plan properly and consider the different aspects of your build.

No two SharePoint intranets are the same – and that also means no two SharePoint intranet projects are the same. You need to consider your particular needs, your resources and a range of supporting factors that will determine the detail behind your project. In this post we’ve created ten high-level, critical questions that every team building a SharePoint intranet should consider before diving headlong into a project.

Of course, there are a stack of related questions as well as more granular detail that also need to be considered, but we hope this article serves as a starting point for project planning.

1. What is my intranet trying to achieve?

The first question you usually need to ask is what your new SharePoint intranet is trying to achieve. Is it replacing an old intranet? Which key organisational processes is it supporting? How is it contributing to our company strategy?  What are the more detailed objectives for the new intranet

These high-level questions and more are usually addressed in an intranet strategy – effectively a plan for your new intranet, what it sets out to do and how you’re going to deliver it. Then more specifically, they may be addressed in the different requirements for intranet features. There may be a need to make a business case to – but ultimately all these outputs all stem from working out what your intranet is trying to achieve.

2. Do I understand the needs and pain points of my users?

A SharePoint intranet is there to meet the needs of users to help them stay informed and get things done, as well as resolve any associated pain points. But if you don’t have a good understanding of what employee needs and pain points are, and what these are for different groups across your workforce, then it’s going to be very difficult to build an intranet that has value and sustainable adoption.

The only way to understand the needs of your users is to have gone through a discovery exercise and undertaken user research. An intranet cannot be built on assumptions – if you haven’t got that thorough understanding then you’re not ready to build your SharePoint intranet. At Content Formula, user and stakeholder research undertaken during a discovery phase is a core part of our methodology when we work with our customers.

3. Are my business stakeholders behind the new intranet?

Because an intranet touches every part of an organisation and also involves many different teams and functions in its day to day running, it is important to get the backing of all the key business stakeholders for your project. These usually include HR, IT, Communications, Knowledge Management, different lines of business and your leadership function. It’s also important to ensure you have buy-in from any legal, risk and compliance teams who can identify any risk-related issues about the intranet early.

Having buy-in from everybody across the business and getting consensus on your intranet strategy will help for a smoother and trouble-free roll-out, as well as a better intranet.

4. Who is responsible and accountable for the new intranet?

Effective governance is a must-have for a successful SharePoint intranet if you want to ensure it has strategic direction, effective and efficient management, and up-to-date and valuable content. While a lot of the specific governance will likely be worked out during your project phase, it really helps to know upfront who is going to be responsible and accountable for the new intranet. This usually involves working out the ultimate owner, but also the split of responsibilities between IT, internal communications and any other teams. This split will help to define and influence areas such as a business case, project roles and even influence the features that you might include on the intranet.

5. Who is on the project team to build the new intranet?

Before you build your SharePoint intranet and instigate the project, you’ll need to define the project team who are going to be responsible. This will be linked to the answer to the last question – who is going to be responsible and accountable for the new intranet.

Who is going to be the project sponsor? Who are going to be the core team working on the project? Who is going to be the business lead and effectively the technical lead? Which functions are going to be represented in that team? Which functions and people might take an important but more peripheral role in the project?

In assessing the project team, their relative experience and the resourcing available, you’ll also start to get a good idea of the extent to which you’ll need to rely on external resources for help. You may need to get some intranet consultancy on a range of different matters, or you may even need to hire for an experienced contractor to come in and play a leading role in the project.

6. Which content are we migrating?

It will also help to know if you are going to be migrating any existing content or documents on to your new SharePoint intranet, or whether you need to create new content from scratch. This will impact way you plan your intranet project as you’ll need to factor both migration and content creation into your planning

It’s usually important to carry out some kind of content audit to find out what content you have in the first place, and also have a robust content strategy for your new intranet to work out whether existing content is fit for purpose. Generally, most teams tend to create more content from scratch, but there may be some content that can be migrated across.

7. What version of SharePoint are we using?

There are multiple versions of SharePoint that are in operation and if you’re already utilising one of these, this may partially dictate which version you’ll be using for your new SharePoint intranet. Two elements to consider are:

  • Whether you’re using SharePoint on-premises or online, usually dependent on if you have regulatory or risk needs which require the former apprroach
  • Whether you’re using SharePoint modern or classic, usually dependent on if you are already using SharePoint classic and this will incorporate part of the intranet.

However, on the whole, most organisations will choose to use SharePoint Online and SharePoint modern, which provides the most options for a great intranet.

8. Do we have all the licenses we need and is our Active Directory data in shape?

Usually a SharePoint intranet is accessible by everybody in an organisation, so its imperative to ensure that all your workforce have the right Microsoft licenses and identities in order to access it. Sometimes frontline employees may not even have a corporate digital identity. In global organisations, there can also sometimes be surprising pockets of employees who don’t have access, particularly if they are from a recent acquisition.

Most SharePoint intranets deliver value by using personalisation to enable audience targeting and deliver more relevant content and experiences. This is usually dependent on Active Directory (AD) profiles that contain information such as role, division and location. But sometimes AD data is patchy and incomplete; in these cases, a separate side project needs to be carried out to clean up AD data to enable meaningful personalisation. This can take longer than expected, so identifying the need early on before your SharePoint intranet project is a good idea.

9. Do we need any other intranet software or customisations carried out?

SharePoint intranets can be launched just using modern SharePoint native functionality and features, however many find this doesn’t quite meet all their requirements. For example, internal communicators often find just using SharePoint out of the box doesn’t quite cut the mustard in terms of news publishing, content targeting, design and governance.

To compensate for this, some teams prefer to use an “in-a-box” intranet product or similar to bridge the gaps with SharePoint such as LiveTiles or Lightspeed modules for SharePoint. Sometimes teams may also want to carry out a particular customisation to meet a design need or cover a particular business process.  Before your intranet project, an important question to address will be whether you need additional software to work alongside SharePoint, or if you need any custom coding.

10. How are we going to involve users in the SharePoint intranet?

Involving your users in some way with your SharePoint intranet project will help ensure it has value. Users should have been already involved through undertaking user research to drive your intranet strategy and requirements, but also involving them in an ongoing capacity throughout the project has real benefits.

Some teams find enormous value in having a go-to group of users representing different parts of their business that can provide opinions on different features and designs, be directly involved in user testing, and even act as champions around launch. Ensuring users have had input through the project also helps to legitimise the SharePoint intranet with other users and business stakeholders, a factor which helps drive adoption.

Asking the right questions

Planning out a SharePoint intranet project is important to its success, so you need to ask the right questions from the start. If you have more questions to ask, or you’re seeking some help with the answers, why not get in touch to discuss your SharePoint intranet project?

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6 great SharePoint examples with screenshots for 2022

6. great SharePoint examples with screenshots for 2022

Posted on 22 April 2023 by Dan Hawtrey

SharePoint remains an excellent platform for delivering high impact intranets and digital workplace solutions to increase engagement, drive efficiency, minimise risk and improve productivity.

In this article we look at six great examples of SharePoint intranets with screenshots...

Decided that a SharePoint intranet is for you? What are your options?

    • You can build something yourself using the tools and templates available in SharePoint. Check out the SharePoint Lookbook which provides ready-built templates.

    • We provide a fixed price packaged service for companies wanting a SharePoint intranet. This means you get a best practice intranet that is more likely to succeed than a DYI approach.
    • Consider Lightspeed Modules. Web parts which integrate seamlessly into SharePoint whilst enhancing the overall experience and plugging functionality gaps.

    Talk with us

At Content Formula, we’ve delivered hundreds of SharePoint projects that have supported employees in their day-to-day work while helping the organisations they work for realise strategic goals.

One of the major advantages of SharePoint is its flexibility, insofar as it can deliver all kinds of different solutions while integrating with other Office 365 tools, providing huge value either out of the box or with customisation. There is also a highly mature ecosystem of products based on SharePoint.

With intranets and the digital workplace set to be more important in 2022 than ever, there are bound to be many opportunities for SharePoint to make a difference. Let’s look at six high impact examples of how you can use SharePoint, illustrated with screenshots from some of the work we have delivered to clients.


1 Using SharePoint to implement Viva Connections

One of the most exciting digital workplace developments of the past 18 months has been the launch of Microsoft Viva – the employee experience platform that consists of complementary apps that are accessed through Teams. One of these is Viva Connections, which seeks to surface internal communications, relevant reference content and Yammer conversations all within the Teams experience. Additionally, the Viva Connections dashboard can feature integrations from other digital workplace systems such as ServiceNow, SuccessFactors and Glint. We know many internal communications and digital workplace teams are currently considering how they can use Viva Connections, and 2022 will be a big year for the platform.

There is still some confusion about Viva Connections and whether it replaces a SharePoint intranet. In fact, Viva Connections is dependent on SharePoint, as what you’re viewing is essentially SharePoint content within the Microsoft Teams environment. By making a SharePoint communication or hub site a home site and creating your desired navigation within Viva Connections (or inheriting it from the home site), you can allow employees to access SharePoint content through Teams. This can be really valuable if your employees spend a lot of time within Teams, bringing SharePoint content to the place where they are working and providing a more consistent digital workplace experience across different tools.

Entain Viva Connections


2 Creating a hub or portal to centralise and contextualise learning

Over the past year, placing learning and training right at the heart of the digital workplace and the daily flow of work has come increasingly into focus. This is partly down to the possibilities of integrating a learning platform seamlessly into Office 365 through a solution like LMS365 (which is actually based on SharePoint), as well as the launch of Microsoft Viva Learning which surfaces relevant learning content for users.

If you are using LMS365, a great use case for SharePoint is to create a learning hub on your intranet which can act as a seamless front page into your learning platform, giving more context about the content you provide It can also be a top-level navigation item in your information architecture so users can find it more easily. Here, you can leverage SharePoint web parts such as news, events, key links and even Yammer threads to bring together the latest updates, as well as provide information about learning at your organisation, offer opportunities to ask questions to the learning team and more. You can also link to relevant dashboards within LMS365.

Because LMS365 integrates so seamlessly with a SharePoint intranet, users may not even realise that they are entering the LMS365 platform because it will feel like one integrated ecosystem, delivering a consistent digital employee experience and supporting good learning adoption.

School-Led Network LMS365


3 A central policy library to support compliance and minimise risk

SharePoint is an excellent platform for employees to access the trusted, authoritative information, content and documents that they need in order to get things done, carry out their role or complete mandatory compliance-related tasks. A central policy library built on SharePoint and Microsoft 365 has real value as a place where employees can easily find HR and work-related policies, procedural information, critical forms, key guidelines and more, knowing they are accessing the latest and most up-to-date information. When you don’t have a central library, it cannot only prove difficult for employees to find the policies they need, but if they do, they then have no way of knowing if it is the right version. Carrying out tasks and making decisions based on out-of-date policy documents can involve risks, especially if they pertain to a topic like health & safety.

There are multiple ways to create a policy library using SharePoint, such as leveraging pages, a document library, integrating workflows from Power Automate and using the right permissions to ensure documents are kept up to date. At Content Formula, we have used SharePoint as the basis for Xoralia – a sophisticated and intelligent policies and procedures library software product with multiple features including mandatory reads, detailed reporting, robust policy lifecycle management and even a range of useful web parts that you can deploy on your SharePoint intranet.



4 An HR intrant to support self-service and key HR processes

An HR intranet based on SharePoint is an excellent way to help HR teams achieve their goals and ensure employees have access to the people-related information they need. An HR-focused SharePoint intranet will have a number of key features including access to HR policies, personalisation to target information to the right location and role and integrations with core HR systems to support self-service tasks like booking annual leave. The flexibility of SharePoint means this can all be achieved in a relatively straightforward way that allows employees to access what they need on a self-serve basis, relieving pressure on busy HR support teams.

SharePoint pages can also include information and integrations to streamline major HR processes. For example, employee onboarding is a high-value use case that supports good employee experience. You can use a combination of SharePoint web parts, features and integrations like lists, notifications, to-dos, forms and personalisation to make sure new joiners have an authoritative list of the tasks they need to complete and when. They can then perform the tasks and track their progress. This drives efficiency and makes the onboarding experience smoother for new joiners.

Haines Watts


5 Revolutionising frontline messaging with a custom SharePoint solution

Communicating with frontline staff in a targeted and impactful way can be challenging. For example, we were engaged by TTEC – a global provider of customer experience services with many frontline staff deployed to different customers – to deliver an improved method of messaging hard-to-reach staff. Using email had proved to be ineffectual, and they were looking for a fresh way to deliver personalised, hyper-targeted messaging.

One of the advantages of using SharePoint here is that you can deliver customised solutions. Customisation is not always desired by IT functions, but for high impact use cases, it can be necessary to achieve great results. We were able to deliver a user-friendly messaging service that is hard-baked into their already highly-used SharePoint intranet. Here, each employee can view personal and targeted group messages and reply to them. It’s a simple and elegant solution that has had a strong impact and exploits the power of SharePoint.

TTEC Messages For You


6 Streamlining digital communications through a SharePoint intranet homepage

The digital communications landscape for most organisations is highly complex, with multiple channels for internal and external messaging as well as varied audience targeting across different locations, functions and regions. It’s hard for employees to keep on top of all the news they need to read, events they might want to attend, automated notifications they may receive from different systems, various social feeds and more!

One thing a SharePoint intranet does very well is surface news and updates from different channels in one place, helping to streamline communications and reduce information overload while also ensuring relevance through matching the right content to an individual’s Active Directory profile. For example, a SharePoint intranet homepage could include:

  • Global, regional, divisional, departmental and role-based news
  • Automated notifications, reminders and approval requests from right across the digital workplace
  • Embedded social feeds from internal tools like Yammer or external channels like Twitter
  • Details of events
  • And more!

A compelling intranet homepage that improves communications is a common use case that is as relevant in 2022 as it has been for the past fifteen years.

TP Bennetts


Using SharePoint in 2022

We’re looking to delivering more exciting SharePoint projects this year. If you’d like to discuss your potential SharePoint intranet or digital workplace project, then get in touch!

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10 main features of an HR intranet

HR intranets or similar people-related portals are excellent ways to support the strategic objectives of the HR function. Here at Content Formula, we’ve worked with numerous HR teams who have invested in an intranet which has gone on to make a tangible contribution in supporting their organisation’s HR or people strategy.

An HR intranet might be a completely dedicated intranet focused on HR and people-related content and features, or a similar HR hub within a wider intranet. In this post, we’re going to explore the main objectives of an HR intranet, and run through the typical features and content that support them.

What are the main objectives of an HR intranet?

At a very high level, most HR intranets are specifically designed to:

  • Support employee self-service and related manager self-service, allowing employees to get things done on a self-serve basis without having to ask HR, relieving pressure on busy HR support teams
  • Improve HR and people-related processes by making them more efficient, increasing take-up, standardising them across the enterprise and minimising risk
  • Support important HR policies and initiatives including learning, wellbeing, Diversity & Inclusion and flexible working
  • Drive a strong employee experience to make the organisation a great place to work, supporting talent retention and attraction.

Let’s explore the features and content that help deliver these four main aims.

1 Access to HR policies and procedures

HR functions will have numerous HR policies and procedures that employees and managers will need to refer to from time to time when they need to complete tasks, make decisions and carry out HR processes. An HR intranet provides an opportunity to create a single source of truth for all your HR-related content that employees will trust is always up-to-date. It’s the place to access the staff handbook, find out what needs to be done to register for maternity or paternity leave or explore the company’s bonus scheme.

HR intranets deliver this through various features including content pages grouped into relevant HR themes, as well as an authoritative central policy library with all the latest policies and how to content and documents. A decent search and intuitive information architecture are also important to ensure employees find the HR content they need.

2 Personalisation to ensure relevant HR content

A core capability of modern intranets based on SharePoint is the ability to support personalisation and target content to employees based on their Active Directory profile. This means employees see the content that is relevant to their role, location, division, department or similar attribute. Personalisation is really important in HR intranets, especially in larger global companies where HR procedures, policies and systems can vary from country to country. Managers also need to be able to access HR information relating to managing their team. It is imperative that employees only see the HR information that is meant for them and their location; personalisation is a must-have intranet capability that delivers this, although there is a dependency on having complete and accurate AD profiles.

3 Integrations to support employee self-service

HR and people-related systems are numerous, and can include a core HR system like SAP or Workday, a time-recording and expenses system, a benefits portal, a learning management system, a system to log a ticket with HR support desk, an appraisal and performance review application, a wellbeing app and many more. One of the most valuable elements of an HR intranet is delivered by integrating some of these applications with the intranet, meaning employees can access personal HR information and complete simple transactions without even having to visit these disparate applications and systems.

For example, the intranet might not only act as the front door to reach these systems, but also display information through integrations, such as how much annual leave a person has, the benefits choices they have made or the status of an HR helpdesk ticket. They may also be able to actually book their annual leave, log a helpdesk ticket or make their benefits choices, all from within the intranet. Increasingly, these transactions are being delivered by chat bots.

Some HR intranets also include an inbox which displays automated notifications and reminders from different systems, including the ability for managers or HR staff to approve requests as part of their workflow. Overall, these integrations help support employee self-service, drive efficiency, initiate quicker approval processes and result in less frustration for employees who no longer have to log in to multiple systems and rely on email.

4 Support learning and training

HR intranets themselves don’t tend to directly deliver learning and training, but can play an important role in making it easier for employees to access learning resources. For example, we often implement LMS365, a learning platform that integrates seamlessly with Microsoft 365. This integration means that you can create pages on an HR intranet based on SharePoint that act as an informative and attractive front end to LMS365 and encourage more adoption; employees may not even realise they have left the intranet and entered into the learning platform. You can also integrate LMS365 courses and assets into an intranet search. An events calendar on your HR intranet can display learning events and encourage people to register.

5 HR communications and updates

A good HR intranet should provide communications and updates relating to HR through news and reminders about core processes such as annual appraisals, the employee engagement survey and more.

6 Support employee onboarding

HR intranets tend to focus on moments that matter throughout the employee lifecycle, including when a person first joins a company. Employee onboarding is a core HR process that supports better employee retention. New hires are more likely to stay if they have a strong onboarding experience, and an HR intranet can help by gathering the resources new starters need to refer to all in one place, making the process of joining less overwhelming and more welcoming.

An area of an HR intranet targeted to new joiners can include a schedule of onboarding tasks they need to complete and when, links to all the information about the company, lists of contacts and even a welcome message from the CEO. The ability to target notifications and reminders in your HR intranet and integrations can also cover specific tasks and activities for new hires, such as completing relevant learning.

7 Ensure health and wellbeing

Health and wellbeing have been priority areas for HR functions for a long time now, but the pandemic has placed even more focus on them Some teams are including a specific wellbeing hub on their HR intranet which brings together wellbeing-related content, resources and features onto one specific page or microsite. Typically, this will include:

  • Information on health-related benefits
  • Wellbeing related content, including tips and tricks, often produced by third parties
  • An opportunity to book wellbeing events and activities such as online mindfulness sessions
  • Access to a wellbeing community for discussions
  • Health and safety policies and procedures.

8 Employee resource groups to support Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity & Inclusion is a crucial priority for organisations. An HR intranet can support D&I by providing information about initiatives and policies, as well as specifically supporting spaces for Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). ERGs are groups of employees that join together based on shared characteristics to support each other and positively promote D&I policies. Common ERG demographics include women, LGBTQ+ people, ethnic groups, military veterans and more. An HR intranet can provide information and resources about establishing ERGs, but also support discussion groups, usually through social collaboration features including integration with a platform like Yammer.

9 Create dialogue to check the employee pulse

Increasingly leaders are realising the importance of listening to employees and establishing dialogue in order to engage employees and help inform decisions, but also spot problems and issues that need fixing. Intranets are an excellent channel for HR functions to get a sense of employee sentiment and understand issues that are impacting staff. There are a variety of different intranet features that can help get a pulse check on how employees are feeling, including:

  • Discussion feeds and communities, such as those powered by Yammer
  • Quick polls and more in-depth surveys
  • Commenting on blogs and news articles
  • Overall analytics to see what content staff is engaging with.

10 Nurturing organisational culture to drive employee experience

HR functions want to create a great place to work in order to retain and attract talent, and intranets can help nurture organisational culture that contributes to this. Internal communications an integral part of any intranet play a part here, alongside the ability for employees to post updates from across the organisation, celebrate successes and thank their peers. Information about company purpose and values, as well as updates on CSR activities, can also play a part.

Need to discuss your HR intranet? Get in touch!

An HR intranet can provide real strategic value for HR functions and organisations through a combination of features and content. If you’d like to discuss your HR intranet or how an intranet can help your HR department, then get in touch!

Find out more about our intranet services for your organisation...

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The best employee intranet software in 2023

The best employee intranet software in 2023

We often get asked what the best employee intranet software is in order to meet the needs of a particular organisation. That’s not actually a straightforward question as there are lot of variables it depends on, such as the budget available, the need of users and the underlying technology stack in use. However, there are certainly some general observations that can be made about the best employee intranet software to buy in 2023. In this post we’re going to try to unravel the question and provide some answers.

What do we mean by the best employee intranet software?

Modern intranets are platforms that deliver multiple capabilities and support several core organisational processes including internal communications, collaboration, employee self-service and employee engagement. Intranets also help employees find all the information they need, complete tasks and stay informed, while also acting as a web-based publishing platform for news and updates. Increasingly modern intranets are also an entry point into the wider digital workplace through links to applications and integrations.

The best employee intranet software is the optimal technology platform and related applications that help to deliver the intranet and all its feature and capabilities. As already noted, there is no one “best” or one-size-fits-all solution as every organisation has slightly different needs for their intranet. However, in our view intranets based on SharePoint consistently provide the widest number of options and flexibility to suit virtually every business.

What are some of the key questions to ask to determine the best intranet software?

There are many factors that will impact any decision about the best employee intranet software for a particular organisation. The kind of questions that intranet and digital workplace teams need to be thinking about, include:

  • What strategic objectives does your organisation want to achieve with the intranet?
  • What are the pain points that your employees are experiencing relating to communication and productivity?
  • What are the specific processes that the intranet could support?
  • What is your budget?
  • What is the underlying technology stack that is already in place?
  • What are the particular features that you need on the intranet?
  • Are there any specific security, compliance and regulatory issues that need to met?
  • What sort of supplier or vendor are you looking for?

All these questions should ultimately lead to a set of functional and non-functional requirements that will help you choose the best employee intranet software. But there are some high-level factors to also consider in the choosing the best software, which we’ll cover below.


The power of Microsoft 365 and SharePoint

In our view the best underlying software for an intranet is SharePoint, often delivered through Microsoft 365.  The good news is that many organisations have a technology stack based on Microsoft, and many have implemented Microsoft 365. SharePoint is an exceptional platform which is flexible, scalable and has a rich set of features that can be assembled to deliver an employee intranet. Moreover, it also means you can seamlessly integrate other Microsoft tools to provide an overall excellent digital employee experience.

SharePoint has also been the dominant base technology for intranets for nearly twenty years, and while it has not always been universally loved, the current version is the best yet. There is also a whole industry of intranet and employee experience platforms and products based on SharePoint that adds to SharePoint’s value, and can be used to deliver a great intranet. The fact that SharePoint is bundled as part of Microsoft 365 also makes it very attractive and potentially a cost-effective base technology for an intranet.

What’s the best version of SharePoint for an employee intranet?

There are multiple versions of SharePoint. Some of these date back many years and include SharePoint 2007, SharePoint 2010, SharePoint 2013 and so on. SharePoint is also available on-premises or online.

While it’s unusual for organisations to still be relying on older versions of SharePoint, occasionally you do find an old custom intranet that relies on SharePoint 2007. Older versions of SharePoint tend to be built in “classic” – this is a highly flexible platform but has a far less attractive interface and its far harder to manage for intranet publishers and users.

More recent SharePoint intranets are based on modern SharePoint, a much more attractive and intuitive platform that also has better performance. Most versions of SharePoint Online that accessed via Microsoft 365 are based on modern SharePoint. In our view, the best version of SharePoint for an employee intranet is modern SharePoint Online.  It is perfectly possible to deliver a large, enterprise intranet based on SharePoint Online and many organisations choose this path – however relying on this alone does mean there are some gaps in functionality and features.

In-a-box employee intranet software

There are many intranet “in-a box” products that offer turnkey software that can deliver a fully functioning employee intranet. This is both a mature and competitive market and there are multiple feature-rich products, presenting a lot of choice for intranet teams. Some of these are branded as employee experience platforms (EXP) as they often present features and functionality that involves integrations and the ability to access intranet content via other channels. A sense of the breadth of choice can be gained through a Google search or by looking at ClearBox Consulting’s excellent Buyer’s Guide that profiles and reviews some of the highest profile products.

Within the in-a-box market, there are really two main types of intranet software: those that run alongside or on top of SharePoint and those that are completely independent. In our view, the best products are those that work alongside SharePoint. These products take the best of modern SharePoint but then adds value by filling any gaps in the functionality including offering better support for internal communications and engagement, incresased flexibility over branding, providing ready-to-go templates, and more. This results in a better intranet that is easier to manage and with a quicker time-to-market. For many years we’ve helped many customers implement an intranet based on the LIveTiles SharePoint in-a-box product which is perhaps the best all-round product with a highly reasonable price point.  There are, however, alternatives to using an in-a-box product that we explore below.

Choosing web parts that will improve SharePoint

SharePoint (and SharePoint intranet) pages are made up of building blocks or components called web parts. If you are using SharePoint Online for your intranet, sometimes rather than needing a whole in-a-box product for your intranet software,  you only actually just need a few specific extra web parts. For example, SharePoint Online doesn’t have a web part out of the box that allows users to configure their own personal links to apps and sites, but this is actually a really popular intranet feature.

Because we continually saw a few common extra web parts requested by intranet teams, we created the Lightspeed Modules product. This is actually a collection of web parts that extend the power of SharePoint to give you all the features and modules you need to deliver an excellent intranet; this approach means you can leverage the full power of SharePoint but have all the main required extras at a much lower price than an average in-a-box product.

It’s also worth noting, that some organisations may choose to develop their own custom web parts to add to their intranet. SharePoint is a strong platform to do this, especially because you can use Microsoft’s Power Platform to create apps, workflows, dashboards and even bots.

Specialist applications to complete your employee intranet

Sometimes there might be a particular feature of your intranet that is particularly important to your organisation and your employees, but your requirements are not fully met by SharePoint or additional employee intranet software. In these cases, you may need to consider specialist software that integrates with your intranet.

For example, a policy library that can be accessed by the intranet is important for organisations in regulated industries, but this can be quite a limited feature in intranet software. An intranet team then may need to invest in deeper policy management software that helps employees find the policy they need, but also enables policy owners to better manage their policies. We found this was the case with multiple clients, so we built Xoralia, a robust policy management solution that integrates with SharePoint , but to users can feel just like part of the intranet.

The role of Microsoft Viva Connections

In recent years, the use of Microsoft Teams has exploded and for many organisations it is the centre of their digital workplace. Given its popularity, Microsoft launched an employee experience platform called Microsoft Viva made up of a number of different modules that is mainly experienced through Microsoft Teams.

One of the modules – Viva Connections – allows a SharePoint intranet to be accessed through Microsoft Teams, and increasingly some of the features in Viva – including a personalised content feed and a task-focused dashboard – can also be accessed through a SharePoint intranet. We expect Viva Connections to evolve and to become a part of the intranet software landscape – thankfully this comes bundled with you Microsoft 365 license.

Trying to decide the best employee intranet software?  Get in touch!

In our view SharePoint is the best employee intranet software, but there is also a lot of extra software to consider. If you’d like to discuss finding the best employee intranet software for you, then get in touch!

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