Here at Content Formula we’ve delivered numerous SharePoint intranets, both custom-built and based on Wizdom’s intranet in-a-box product. This means we’ve built up a great library of SharePoint intranet examples, some of which you can find on our website. In delivering these, we’ve also learnt some of the key approaches that can make all the difference in making an intranet a real success.
We often get asked by clients what are some of our best SharePoint intranet examples? Here is a selection of five that also illustrate some essential approaches to delivering an intranet. You can also see some of our best Office 365 intranet examples too in a companion article.
1. Meet the local needs of a global diverse audience
Modern workforces are diverse and complex, with different roles, tenures, locations, business divisions, level of seniority and more. This is particularly the case for complex and global businesses. To make an intranet useful and engaging, it is essential that employees see content that is relevant to them. There is, for example, little point in an employee based in the London office seeing content that is only of interest to those located in the Oslo office. Personalisation and the ability to target content to particular audiences and workforce groups is now a pre-requisite for a successful intranet.
Bibby Financial Services is a global financial services company with locations through the UK and also internationally. We worked in partnership with Bibby’s communications team to ensure both global and local communications needs are met. Relevant content is targeted to the right employee based on their office and division, we even carried out an inventive data-mapping exercise to ensure that Active Directory profiles had accurate location and division data for every employee.
Meanwhile local content creators can create their own news and content independently of the central team, confident that it will be seen by the right people. Auto-translation capabilities also help employees to understand content that is not in their native language. Overall, the intranet delivers both global and local content seamlessly to drive better communication and collaboration.
2. Focus on strong findability
One of the core roles of a good intranet is to increase the findability of content. A successful intranet helps employees find the items they need to carry out a task, make a decision, answer a question, deliver customer service, learn things, stay informed or even get inspired. Either through a search facility, navigation or by browsing through different pages, employees must be able to reach relevant content and documents, as well as people and apps. An intranet with very poor findability simply won’ t get used.
Gama Aviation provides global business aviation services and support to individuals, corporations and government agencies. Providing highly complex and technical service across multiple locations means that staff must have quick and easy access to an array of operational and highly technical information and documentation. But up to the introduction of a new SharePoint intranet based on Wizdom, the company had relied on file shares, email and even paper records.
When the team at Gama Aviation engaged us to design and deliver the new intranet, strong findability was a must have. To ensure relevant documents could be found we not only delivered a personalised central library of policy, procedures and forms for “official” documents, but also made sure that relevant metadata was added to more operational files too so these could be retrieved through search using various different refiners. We used automation as far as possible, adding critical metadata including location and department for each document based on the person submitting, saving enormous amounts of time. The intranet itself also had an intuitive task-based navigation, meaning critical documents and pages are now much easier to find.
3. Intranets can help facilitate learning and development
An intranet is not only about communications, collaboration and driving efficiency; it can also help support other key organisational processes and house valuable content. An excellent example is training and development. Often learning content, training material and course catalogues are locked away in e-learning systems that traditionally have a poor user experience, with content hard to access. If some of this material is made available within the intranet, it usually becomes more easily findable and will be presented in a more engaging way, encouraging more learning and adding to the value of the intranet.
At RSSB, a member organisation dedicated to supporting better railway safety, we worked with the intranet team to add learning capability to the intranet. On the SharePoint Online intranet (based on the Wizdom in-a-box product) there is a calendar of learning events where employees can browse a catalogue of available courses and then register for each one. This feature is already receiving very high adoption, driving a culture of learning and also providing valuable data into the workforce’s learning habits.
4. Always optimise your intranet for mobile devices
In the past, internal communicators have often struggled to reach field and deskless workers who do not have easy access to a terminal during the working day or may not even have digital identities. This demographic ends up with limited or even no access to the intranet or the digital workplace. In organisations where there are a sizeable proportion of field or deskless employees this causes real problems.
One obvious solution is to make the intranet available on mobile devices, even on those owned by employees, opening up the intranet and digital workplace to everybody. Of course, office-based workers also like to have mobile access, matching the digital experiences they have in their consumer lives.
Severn Trent plc is a water services company based in the UK. Naturally many of its 15,000 employees work in the field, from busy city streets to remote reservoirs. To ensure that “On Tap”, a new SharePoint intranet based on Wizdom, was accessible to field workers, we helped to ensure a mobile app was available. Most staff have corporate-owned devices and thanks to a small customisation, can access the intranet via a special “On Tap” icon on their device. The app delivers a people directory, corporate news, but also operational and even critical emergency updates. For the latter, native device features can be used to deliver urgent push notifications. The app is also fully secure, working within Severn Trent’s MDM solution.
5. Ensure you carry out user and stakeholder research
A successful intranet must be centred around the needs of users and the way they work. Therefore when you design and build an intranet it must be based on a thorough understanding of employees; if you know what the working day looks like, how employees use technology, what information is needed to help people carry out their jobs and what common pain points are, you are far more likely to be able to build a solution that will be successful, sustainable and enjoy good adoption.
At the same time it is also important to understand organisational objectives by also speaking to stakeholders such as communications, HR and IT. Their buy-in and support is essential to not only to take forward an intranet and agree budget, but also to help ensure a new intranet aligns with company strategy.
The only way to get this required understanding is through thorough user and stakeholder research. When we built a SharePoint intranet for Haines Watts we carried out extensive workshops and interviews with employees at all levels and from all over the country, delivering an extensive discovery report with recommendations for an intranet that was focused on knowledge-sharing and peer-to-peer interaction – approaches strongly suggested by our research. Subsequently we were able to deliver a strong intranet that not only secured budget and executive buy-in, but has also proved popular with users.
Need other SharePoint 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 SharePoint intranet examples page? Alternatively you can also get in touch.