At Content Formula we work extensively with clients who have Office 365, delivering intranets that are based on Office 365 technologies, and leverage its many features. These intranets both improve processes but also help employees to take advantage of the extensive Office 365 toolset, increasing adoption and value. Through our work we’ve built up a strong library of Office 365 intranet examples that illustrate some the key good practices and approaches to consider when implementing an Office 365-based intranet.
Clients frequently ask us for compelling Office 365 intranet examples and to see screenshots. Here are five of our favourite examples with the relative key takeaway. You can also see some of our best SharePoint intranet examples too in a companion article.
1. Align the intranet to the wider digital workplace
Over the last three or four years the “digital workplace” concept has grown increasingly popular, particularly with the exponential growth of Office 365. The idea of a designed, coherent and consistent user experience across different workplace tools is an attractive one, and can help drive efficiency, employee engagement and the adoption of different tools.
The digital workplace has also had a significant influence on the evolution of intranets; modern intranets are ideally placed to be an attractive entry point (“front door” or “launchpad”) into the wider portfolio of applications across the digital workplace. An intranet strategy should therefore address the intranet’s relationship with the digital workplace.
When we were asked by global pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) to undertake user and stakeholder research and craft a new intranet strategy, it soon became clear that the intranet had a critical role to play in the company’s digital workplace and Office 365 journey. The intranet team loved our suggestion that MyBI be positioned as a “virtual assistant” to help employees understand and navigate the company’s new Office 365-powered digital workplace.
We also advised on design and technical matters, focusing on a new persistent, personalised intranet toolbar that helps employees navigate the digital workplace. This personalised “My Tools” menu is an essential “speed dial” to different apps and Office 365 tools, and also features access to personal Teams spaces. The new improved intranet is now ideally placed at the centre of the BI digital workplace, helping employees navigate the new array of tools at their fingertips.
2. Deliver critical business process
Office 365 brings many opportunities to improve critical business processes using the variety of different tools available, sometimes in combination with each other. An intranet based on SharePoint Online that can integrate with Office 365 tools such as Teams can also play its part. This means that the intranet can help to deliver an important business process; driving efficiency, increasing the value and adoption of the intranet and leveraging your investment in Office 365 – all at once!
XCapital is a UK-based private equity house that provides funding options for ambitious businesses. A core activity for the company is a research and due diligence process that identifies and assesses new businesses to invest in. In order to streamline and standardise a process that was primarily carried out by email and was highly inefficient, we were asked to create a digital workplace application that would automate the eight steps of the process and ensure staff follow correct procedures.
We used Microsoft Teams to create a place for templates, information and documents relating to each step, with automation ensuring each stage has been completed. The intranet also plays a key role. A custom SharePoint Online page displays key data about each target acquisition, including the stage at which the opportunity is at, and provides access to the relevant Teams space. This seamlessly integrates the due diligence process into the intranet, with users viewing key information and feeling they are accessing one system.
3. Enable Knowledge Management
Knowledge Management (KM) has been around for nearly twenty years but many organisations still have not quite nailed down a successful way to find, capture and re-use valuable knowledge that is generated through everyday work, collaboration and projects. Intranets are often a part of the solution, and regarded as a key channel in knowledge-sharing.
?What If! helps organisations to innovate new products, services and ways to operate. The team engaged us to deliver a new modern intranet that would integrate with Office 365, but they also wanted to solve the conundrum of how to manage the knowledge that emerges from projects. With Microsoft Teams being used for project collaboration, we built a compelling new intranet that also incorporated a simple but highly effective KM solution. In a special folder in Microsoft Teams, project teams can add valuable “knowledge” documents that can still be accessed once a Teams space has been archived.
On the intranet each project has it’s own page; these are automatically created with key data and have all the valuable knowledge documents accessible, all tagged with the correct project metadata. A custom search also helps employees find project files based on different criteria, increasing knowledge flow and exploiting the link between a SharePoint Online intranet and Microsoft Teams.
4. Extend the power of the intranet through workflows, bots and more
Office 365 provides organisations with a flexible and ever-expanding get of tools and services that help build up digital workplaces over time, for example increasing collaboration or using workflow to digitise simple processes. A SharePoint Online intranet that sits alongside Office 365 can also take a similar approach, using the easy ability to integrate with Office 365 tools and other elements of the Microsoft stack to keep on extending the power of the intranet.
At UK accountancy firm Haines Watts we had already deployed an Office 365-based intranet that was full of useful features, but we continued to add new functionality. One of these was the introduction of a simple workflow tool that leverages Office 365 and can be used by non-technical staff to create workflows to help improve processes. For example, employee onboarding is made easier by using forms, documents and data capture across seven steps to manage and automate the onboarding process for a new starter and notify all the various parties that need to complete actions. This framework can be repeated for other types of processes such as ordering a company credit card, with the client able to create the workflow themselves.
Further extending intranet capability, we also deployed a chatbot to help employees ask questions. Named after Haines Watt’s founder, “Cyril” is accessible from every page through a chat facility and uses Microsoft’s natural language framework LUIS to help employees find what they need. We designed and helped train the bot. Cyril has become more sophisticated over time through machine learning and added capabilities, again turning the intranet into a versatile platform to drive information flow and process efficiency.
5. Build your intranet into a custom digital workplace
Sometimes your Office 365 intranet can actually be your digital workplace, with the ability to carry out all your core processes and activities without entering another system. This can be the case where you have unique needs to meet and where a customised intranet and digital workplace completely configured around the way you work makes sense. Although this approach will not be applicable to all companies, it can deliver significant efficiencies and support digital transformation.
Moving Made Easy help house builders sell their homes by assisting customers with the sale of their existing homes. We helped them replace their ageing property management system with a new highly efficient intranet and digital workplace based on Office 365 where employees can carry out all the major activities associated with selling a house. Taking an end-to-end approach for the process for each individual sale, integration with external systems and automation has helped to increase productivity. Dashboards and reporting through Power BI has also given management a powerful overview of data, and even created different views for customers to check the status of their sale. We’ve also continued to work with the client to expand and improve the digital workplace, providing a system which has had a major impact on the daily work.
Need other Office 365 intranet examples with screenshots?
Case studies and screenshots can provide a good reference point for what is possible with a modern intranet, as well as revealing good practices and impactful approaches. If you need other examples of great intranets why not check out our full list of case studies. Alternatively you can also get in touch.