What will the digital workplace of the future be like?

Predicting the future is always risky. We’ve all seen those hilarious retro-predictions of the future from decades ago that predict by 2023 we’ll be having holidays on the moon, personal robots doing our laundry and flying to work using jet-powered hover boots. So, making predictions does set you up for a fall.

But it can have some value. The current pace of change in the digital workplace is relentless and will be ever-increasing with the advance of generative AI and other innovations around the corner. In some ways the future of work is already here, and organisations need to keep an eye on what’s happening next to be ready for it and prioritise the right investments and interventions.

Scenario planning around a future vision for the digital workplace can be a great way to engage stakeholders to start the right conversations while also considering deeper strategies; it can help you to act now to build a better digital employee experience and seize competitive advantage.

The ever-evolving digital workplace

Changes in the digital workplace have been rapid over the last 15 to 20 years. We’ve seen the evolution of a digital workplace that is more mobile, social, personalised, integrated and immersive. At the same time there have been challenges where it feels progress has been slower, with some problems perennial and seemingly ingrained. These include findability, governance, user adoption, digital skills and more. So, while the technology, experience and toolset moves forward, the underlying challenges remain almost static, albeit relating to new circumstances.

In this post, we are going to explore some of the potential changes that we may see in the digital workplace and the accompanying digital employee experience over the next few years. However, we heavily caveat that these predictions may be wrong, so if you’re reading this post in 2033 and it’s wildly inaccurate, please don’t laugh! Technology and innovation continue to surprise us, which is one of the reasons we love working in this field.

Here’s our view on what the digital workplace of the future may be like.

1. More personalised

Any future digital workplace is likely to be more personalised around the individual user. Hyper-personalisation is the current direction of travel in our collective efforts to use data to present more relevant and effective digital workplaces, although often the theory is not proved by the execution.

Personalisation will likely be based around all the elements that shape it today such as role, location, and division, as well as user behaviour, individual preferences, membership of different groups and more. Machine learning should also help the system learn what content is likely to be of interest, both by taking into account user behaviour of the individual but also the collective behaviour and preferences of users with a similar profile. This should result in opportunities for laser-sharp content targeting but also the reduction of noise in content feeds.

The greater ability for users to also configure their digital workplace experience should mirror trends in the consumer space where the expectations of users is that an app or site knows them.

One critical factor in enabling this will be our ability to harness all the data that we have in a way that is more efficient and can navigate challenges around privacy and security, Technology providers should be aware of these constraints and provide necessary features for users to be able to control the use of the data.

The new hyper-personalised digital workplace should also provide multiple options of how the overall digital employee experience can be consumed with multiple front doors, for example through a browser, a mobile device, a desktop app or potentially even through an immersive experience like the Metaverse. Perhaps there will also be ways to navigate the digital workplace that are waiting to be discovered.

2. More intelligent

The new future digital workplace will also be more “intelligent” to help people work smarter, with capabilities intertwined with a more personalised experience, underpinned by Machine Learning. The digital workplace will be attuned to a user’s needs and be able to automatically configure experiences, deliver workflow, make content recommendations and issue nudges, that are relevant, timely, and valuable. This will be like having a highly effective digital assistant to help you through your working day, but instead of a single app, it will be one that is threaded through every application. It will also be predictive, anticipating things that you need or outlining different options to follow.

A more intelligent workplace should also deliver much better search and findability, again personalised to your experience. This is one area where the conversational UI found in a platform like ChatGPT could be the standard interface for finding sources, but also delivering answers to questions that are found within those sources.

3. More efficient

A more intelligent digital workplace should also be a more efficient workplace. It will help people get things done at scale, right across the organisation, supercharging productivity. We’re already seeing tantalising glimpses of what ChatGPT is capable of with the ability to understand and respond to detailed instructions.

What we can do in the future should help to eliminate repetitive and dull tasks; organising complicated meetings across time zones, constructing and delivering complicated workflows to order, booking flights and travel, generating a custom contract; all these are tasks that the future digital workplace should be able to help us with through advanced automation.

4. More accessible

We think that the future digital workplace will be more accessible for every user, wherever they happen to be. Greater support for the digital workplace on any device as well as the faster connectivity everywhere enabled by 5G and beyond should enable access for the entire workforce.

We would also hope that the future digital workplace will also be more accessible for people living with disabilities. Large tech providers have made progress in making tools more accessible, although we still have to long way to go for everything to comply with the WCAG 2.2 guidelines. However, we should expect there to be better accessibility threaded through the digital employee experience, especially with greater awareness of disabilities, some of which aren’t necessarily visible.

5. More immersive

You will undoubtedly will have read predications about the Metaverse and our ability to meet in 3D spaces using avatars, leveraging elements of virtual and augmented reality. This is certainly the direction of travel for some tech providers, and it seems likely that the future digital workplace will be more immersive. We may well be able to do that virtual presentation where we appear as a hologram on somebody’s desk or have “water cooler conversations” as avatars in exotic but virtual locations. More immersive experiences could also be applied to more conventional forms of communication such as video conferencing.

What remains to be seen is when (and quite possibly if) this will actually happen. There is currently a disconnect between the demand for these services and the importance placed on them by tech vendors. But as the demographic inside companies changes to a younger generation more used to gaming and as the technology itself progresses, the evolution of the Metaverse and associated experiences could happen more quicky than expected.

6. More environmentally friendly

To date, the environmental impact of the digital workplace has tended to be viewed in a positive light because of the reduction in carbon footprint it enables through eliminating the need to travel or our reliance on offices. But as the environmental crisis deepens and regulations around reporting become formalised, the impact on the environment of technology investments is going to start to be a factor in decision-making. For example, we know that data centres can have a significant negative impact.

Given all these pressures, we think that the digital workplace of the future will attempt to be more environmentally friendly, by at least being able to report on the impact. For example, could a user at the end of the day be able to tell exactly how much they have contributed to a carbon footprint through their technology use during that working day? It might be like a smart energy meter for the digital workplace. Having said this, a future digital workplace based on huge amounts of data and the Metaverse may require huge processing power, and that may mean a higher carbon footprint.

7. More complex for users

Of course, while all of the elements we’ve covered so far are positive, we think the future digital workplace will have more than a few issues.

The experience is likely to be more complex for users. There’s going to be more options around tools and more features within these, although what you can achieve with these tools will be greater. And with the pace of transformation increasingly exponential, there will be continual changes to these tools and features. The chance of information overload and being overwhelmed are high as digital workplace evolution outpaces the ability and time that users have to learn about new tools and how to actually use them.

Digital workplace teams have an important role in trying to enable a coordinated and consistent experience that avoids these issues, while also supporting digital literacy and increasing new digital skills. But that is going to be a big ask. We can already see this with ChatGPT which ideally needs user training on how to best interrogate it; the future digital workplace could get increasingly complex for everyone.

8. More challenging to manage

The future digital workplace is also going to be more challenging to manage. Besides more support for users, it will require more governance and foundational work to minimise risks and enable value. Digital workplace teams will also have their work cut out continually launching increasingly complex tools.

As separate teams and even individual users can create new apps and services, there will need to be guard rails in place around privacy, cyber security, intellectual property, wellbeing and ethics. Digital workplace teams are in a great position to make a huge contribution in this area, but we think managing the digital workplace will be far from straightforward.

Why it helps to think about the future digital workplace

Thinking about the digital workplace of the future is a worthwhile exercise.  It helps capture the imagination of senior stakeholders and gets them excited about the future potential. It can also help you to start making the right decisions in the present to enable the future digital workplace.

In considering the future digital workplace it makes sense to try and envisage what it looks like specifically for you and your employees. What kind of future experience do you want to achieve? What are the current pain points that you want to eliminate? Where are the areas that innovation will take place, for example in your manufacturing plant or across your customer service team? Considering these sorts of questions will help you develop your own vision for a future digital workplace.

If you’d like to discuss your future digital workplace, or your current one, then get in touch!

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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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Find out more about our SharePoint intranet services...

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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...

Request a call back with one of our intranet experts, for a free consultation about your business.

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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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7 ways to use SharePoint to support employee onboarding

An important use case for any digital workplace or employee experience platform is employee onboarding. When a new hire first joins a company, there are lots of forms to complete, team members to meet and information to absorb. A successful onboarding initiative helps make that process for new joiners more efficient, less overwhelming and as welcoming as possible. Typically, an onboarding programme might continue from when a person is hired through their first 90 days or so, but can last longer, even sometimes extending up to a year.

Employee onboarding is an important element of employee experience. Critically, there are a plethora of statistics that show a successful onboarding programme can significantly reduce employee turnover and support talent retention.

Over the last few years, there has been more and more attention paid to how the digital workplace supports onboarding. Since the pandemic, the digital side of employee onboarding has become even more important as companies have been forced to design virtual onboarding programmes during lockdown. Thankfully, SharePoint, with some additional integrations from across Microsoft 365, can support employee onboarding in several ways. Let’s explore seven of these.

1 Provide a secure SharePoint site before day one

When a person first confirms that they are accepting a position, there is often a lot of paperwork they must complete before their first day, as well as information to provide and reading to do. Completing this before their first day usually helps get everything prepared, including setting them up on different systems, ordering IT equipment and so on. It can also allow them to learn about the company and even meet their new colleagues.

Creating a secure SharePoint site that new hires can access before their first day is a great way to provide all the necessary information and documents, as well as create all the forms they need to complete. The latter can use embedded Microsoft Forms with workflows from Power Automate to help IT and HR functions complete all the pre-first day tasks. A specific, secure SharePoint site can prove to be far more efficient than using email and helps a new hire make a flying start when they join, rather than spending the first day filling out forms and reading documentation.

2 Create a hub for your new hires on your SharePoint intranet

A SharePoint intranet often contains valuable information that new hires need to know regarding the company and its processes, its strategy and values, tools and apps, how to get things done and so on. Intranet teams often choose to create a new hire hub which highlights all the content that is valuable for a new starter, as well as adding specific resources for the new starter community. This might include checklists of things employees need to do, a welcome video from the CEO or presentations which feature in onboarding and induction sessions. It might also display a calendar of all the milestones an employee needs to be aware of in their first 30 days.

A hub can also contain links to some of the elements mentioned below, including a task list, a Yammer community, policies and learning resources. Ideally, a new hire hub should have web parts that are targeted and personalised to ensure resources and links are relevant to the individual and their location, department and role.

3 Build a custom set of personalised tasks with automation and workflow

When new starters join a company, there are a lot of tasks to complete, including forms to fill out, policies to read, learning to complete and courses to attend. Aggregating all these tasks into a targeted list can be extremely helpful in making sure the new starter keeps on top of what they need to do. Creating a set of personalised tasks that appears in your SharePoint intranet can be done through customised development, taking advantage of Power Automate to deliver the right workflows. Building this into your intranet homepage can also ensure they are front of mind for the new starter.

4 Get mandatory reads on your policies

When a person joins a company, there is often a lot of reading to get through, some of which might be mandatory. They may need to read a professional conduct policy, an IT policy, a social media usage policy and a range of other HR policies. There may also be some mandatory risk compliance procedures they need to read and digest, and which managers or HR functions need to monitor to ensure they have been read and digested. SharePoint can help with both disseminating information and monitoring mandatory reads.

You can use SharePoint document libraries to distribute companywide policies that need to be read, and also add some personalisation, customised development, Power Automate flows and Power BI reporting to create a targeted mandatory reads capability where the new starter confirms they have read a particular policy. A team manager or HR function can then monitor completion through reporting. This mandatory reads feature is so popular that we created it within our Xoralia policy management solution for SharePoint.

5 Create learning for employee onboarding using LMS365

Learning is usually a huge part of the onboarding experience. As part of the induction process, a new starter may need to take a series of courses or training programmes so they can settle into life at their new company and carry out their role. Some of this learning is likely to be mandatory. Typically, it may include:

  • An introduction to the company, its strategy and core processes
  • Health and safety
  • How to use technology platforms
  • Specific role-based training, often technical or specialist in nature
  • Mandatory compliance training across different areas.

The best way to incorporate learning directly into your SharePoint environment is to use a learning platform like LMS365; this integrates seamlessly with SharePoint and Microsoft 365 because it’s based on SharePoint itself. Some organisations choose to put a SharePoint page or site ahead of LMS365 in order to create a compelling entry point into the system or make it part of their intranet experience (most employees might not even be aware they are entering a different system). Given its power, many teams have established a whole onboarding programme within LMS365.

6 Create a new hire community

Meeting people and networking helps new employees settle quickly. Creating a community for new starters is a strong element for any onboarding programme, and is a good way to engage new starters. New hires can support each other, as well as connect with HR and other support functions to ask questions. With SharePoint Online and Microsoft 365, a Yammer community with an embedded feed in your new hire area on the intranet can work very well, although some organisations might prefer to use Teams for community interaction.

7 Get feedback on your employee onboarding programme

An important method of improving your employee onboarding programme is to make sure you ask for feedback from the new hires who have just gone through it. Getting specific feedback and input can help identify issues that need fixing, highlight elements that are working well and elicit ideas for improvements.

There are multiple ways to get feedback using SharePoint. You could embed a Microsoft form to ask specific questions or seek more detailed feedback, or you could embed a Yammer community on a SharePoint page to generate a discussion. You can also use SharePoint commenting to generate comments and ideas. However you do it, getting feedback can make all the difference, and sends a positive message that feedback from users is valued.

Designing employee onboarding using SharePoint

Employee onboarding is a key process in employee experience, and can make a tangible contribution to talent retention. SharePoint is a strong foundational technology to design onboarding experiences and deliver related content and features. If you’d like to discuss using SharePoint for your employee onboarding programme, then get in touch!

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6 leading Office 365 intranet examples with screenshots

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 weve 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 Entain – a modern digital workplace hub in Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams

Entain Microsoft Office 365 intranet homepage
Entain’s Microsoft Office 365 intranet homepage


Looking for a an Office 365 intranet? What are your options?

    • You can build something yourself using the tools and templates available in Office 365. Check out the SharePoint Lookbook which provides ready-built templates.

    • We provide a fixed price packaged service for companies wanting an Office 365  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 and Office 365 whilst enhancing the overall experience and plugging functionality gaps.

    Talk with us


Entain needed a hub for their digital workplace serving 25,000 employees worldwide – including 15,000 retail workers. We designed and built a modern intranet that could be accessed from any device.

With the widespread adoption of Microsoft Teams across the business in the last year, we capitalised on this by delivering the intranet to people within the Teams app – also on mobile as well as the desktop app.

Entain Microsoft Office 365 intranet in Microsoft Teams including mobile
Entain’s Microsoft Office 365 intranet in Microsoft Teams including mobile

Delivering intranet content and features in Microsoft Teams means that the experience is more naturally integrated with the work day of the each employee. This has also provided us with an opportunity to connect with other systems – including Service Now and Oracle HR. The overall digital employee experience is vastly simplified versus the old, rather fragmented, approach.


2 Boehringer Ingelheim – an Office 365 intranet that aligns to the wider digital workplace

Boehringer Ingelheim office 365 intranet example


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 intranets 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 companys 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 companys 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.

View Boehringer Ingelheim case study >>


3 Xcapital – an Office 365 intranet that delivers critical business process

Xcapital Office 365 intranet that delivers 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.

View Xcapital case study >>


4 ?WhatIf! – an Office 365 intranet that enables Knowledge Management

Office 365 intranet that enables 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 based on Livetiles intranet-in-a-box 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 its 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.

View ?WhatIf! case study >>

Find out about our Livetiles SharePoint intranet-in-a-box offering


5 Haines Watts – an Office 365 intranet with onboarding workflows and bots

Office 365 intranet with onboarding workflows and bots


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 Watts founder, Cyril is accessible from every page through a chat facility and uses Microsofts 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.

View Haines Watts case study >>


6 Moving Made Easy – an Office 365 intranet that powers core operational processes

Office 365 intranet that powers core operational processes - example


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.

View Moving Made Easy case study >>


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 on Office 365, 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.


lightspeed modules
Find out more about Lightspeed modules

Looking for a fast and easy way to set up a Office 365 intranet? 

At Content Formula, we have recently introduced our own intranet product Lightspeed Modules. Lightspeed Modules adds custom web parts to your intranet, effectively extending the value of SharePoint, and filling many of the gaps in branding, design and functionality.  

Because Lightspeed Modules provides a complete set of web parts to support a SharePoint Online intranet, it can prove to be highly cost effective, because it reduces the need to purchase a more expensive “in-a-box”  intranet solution.

If you would like to find out more about Lightspeed Modules or any of our other services, get in touch. We’d love to hear from you. 

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How to migrate from Slack to Microsoft Teams

Over the past three years the growth in adoption of Microsoft Teams has been remarkable. From what originally seemed designed to be a rival to Slack, Teams has gone from strength to strength and is now at the centre of the plans of many digital workplace teams.

When digital workplace teams launch Microsoft Teams through an organisation, it usually replaces a myriad of local collaboration and communication tools and applications that are used within different divisions, department and locations.

Having one enterprise-wide platform drives efficiency, reduces costs, opens up opportunities to introduce further capabilities and ensures everyone can communicate with each other. But old habits die hard and it’s not unusual for some parts of the business to keep on using a different tool. In particular, Slack is frequently used by IT and technology functions as their communication platform of choice.

While Slack can co-exist happily with Teams, it’s less than ideal, and often digital workplace teams find themselves having to plan an additional migration of Slack from Teams. In this post we’re going to explore some of the things you need to think about in planning a Slack to Teams migration.


What is Slack?

Slack is a messaging, communication and collaboration platform that is currently owned by Salesforce. It was launched back in 2013 and has considerable overlap with Teams functionality, including workspaces, discussions in different channels, instant messaging, video calls, document sharing, integrations and more.

In its earlier days, Slack was one of the solutions that seemed to act as a catalyst for Microsoft to develop Microsoft Teams. Although it is still a very popular solution – particularly in technology companies – many suggest that Slack is not as popular as it used to be, as solutions like Teams have taken market share.

Planning a migration from Slack to Microsoft Teams

If you’re planning a Slack to Teams migration project, there are a number of elements to consider.


1. Check out your licensing

Slack is available as a freemium model, but also has licenses in different pricing bands. The licensing arrangements you have with Slack and Teams is an important starting point for planning any migration. While you will need to have any necessary Teams licensing in place, the flexibility that you have when to end your Slack licensing may dictate the timing of your transition.

We’d suggest that its usually important to have sufficient overlap when both Teams and Slack are available to help employees get used to the change, refer to any important content, carry out any regulatory requirements and so on.

If you’re paying for Slack on a monthly basis, this usually provides you with more flexibility around the timing. Note that it is quite possible you have more than one instance of Slack operating through your business.


2. Plan for adoption and change management

From the outset it’s important to view your migration project as being primarily about people rather then technology. Migrating from Slack to Teams is about employees changing their behaviours and you need to consider your approach to change management and adoption, covering the period leading up to the change, the actual launch and then beyond.

At Content Formula we use the ADKAR model which is a comprehensive and popular change management model that helps to capture both hearts and minds, and really embeds behavioural change. Inevitably your change management efforts will need to take in more than just writing a few change communications, and will involve training, support and change champions.


3. Establish your timetable and work with local business leaders

There are multiple aspects that will dictate the timing and approach for your migration, including licensing arrangements, resourcing, change management plans and any other initiatives that are going on at the time.

If you are migrating a particular group within the business then it’s important to consider their needs and get input and buy-in from leaders within that group, who should agree to your approach and timetable. Not only will they be essential for your change management but they may also advise in the timing – planning a migration of a sales function at the peak season of an annual sales cycle would not be optimal, for example…


4. Map your workspaces and channels

Like Teams, Slack has different channels on different themes, which people will be a member of. In the enterprise product there also fully-fledged workspaces with multiple channels within each. In Teams it’s very likely you’ll want to have an approximation of the different channels and reproduce these.

Depending on how it is used and who the members are, an existing Slack workspace may equate to a whole new Teams space, and a Slack channel may equate to to a channel within a Teams space. However, it is also possible that a channel might work better as a whole new Teams space in its own right. There is no right or wrong approach, but for example if an IT function is using Slack and has seven different channels, it might that in Teams there is a new IT function Teams space that repeats the same seven different channels. However, it might be that a channel might be served by an existing Teams that has already been set up.

While you want to try and map your Slack workspaces and channels to Teams and channels to map continuity, your migration is also a great opportunity to streamline and optimise channels. If you have six Slack channels that didn’t really get used, then you may not want to recreate these within Teams. Again, the best approach is to carry out an audit of the workspaces and channels that are being used and then work with local stakeholders to plan how these will look in Teams.


5. Map your documents

Like Teams, Slack may also have some key documents that need to be referred to, some of which will be part of an existing channel. Again, these may need to be taken over into the new environment. This should be reasonably straightforward and can be even be automated if required, although an approach which assesses their value before posting into Teams will help to optimise your migration.


6. Work out if you need any technical migration

A key decision point in your migration from Slack to Teams is to decide whether you need to carry out a technical migration of any previous conversations or documents. The elements that will influence decision are business value, compliance, cost and the ease of carrying it out. For example, do people need to refer to old Slack conversations? Do employees need access to these for compliance purposes?

There are different options for a technical migration, including working with a partner like Content Formula. There are also different export tools available – both paid-for, but also community-driven and available on GitHub, although these always come with a risk. Microsoft Learn has a handy article about migrating from Slack to Teams that lists some of the options, as well a thes in and outs of migrating apps, channels, direct messages, users and workspaces. Generally, it is certainly possible to migrate channel discussions and documents, but there are some dependencies relating to GDPR around migrating direct messages, for example…


7. Work out what you need to keep from a compliance angle

A critical element in offboarding Slack is what data and records you need to keep from a compliance angle. This might not necessarily mean that users have to be able to access previous conversations within Teams l you may just need be carrying out an export of the data for compliance reasons. The article from Microsoft already mentioned contains some information about exports, but again you may need to involve a partner or discuss options with your contact at Slack.


8. Consider any apps and integrations

Like Teams, Slack also has plenty of apps and integrations, available out of the box but also which may be custom made. For some functions, these integrations may have real value; for example, for IT departments an integration with Jira may be essential for relevant discussions.

If functions are particularly dependent on an integration, recreating this within Teams either using existing connectors or creating a custom integration will add value and support adoption. At Content Formula we often help businesses get the best out of Microsoft Teams with specific integrations.


Need advice? Get in touch.

Migrating from Slack to Teams is not always easy and can be a bumpy ride, but with the right planning and approaches it can be highly successful. If you need help planning your Slack to Teams migration, then get in touch!

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What to look for in a good SharePoint Consultancy

SharePoint has been around in one form or another for over two decades so there is a huge amount of collective expertise and experience that has been built up. That’s good news if you are seeking external help and advice for your SharePoint project – there are a wide range of SharePoint consultancies to choose from.

These include everything from huge global consulting firms, smaller boutique specialist consulting firms, to solo consultant and everything in between. But this wide choice can present a problem if you’re looking for a new SharePoint consultancy to work, and it can be hard knowing where to start.

In this post we’re going to explore what to look for in a good SharePoint consultancy. Of course, if you are looking for one, we’d love it to be us, so please do have an explore of our site to learn about our services and experience. But whoever you do choose, it’s important to make sure you pick a good consultancy for your project with an excellent understanding of SharePoint and a solid track record.

Of course, pricing will also be an important factor in determining the right consultancy that fits your needs, but there are also several other important factors to consider. Let’s explore eight key elements to look for in a good SharePoint consultancy.


1. Technical expertise

A great SharePoint consultancy needs to have excellent technical SharePoint knowledge. SharePoint is a complicated platform that is also highly configurable, and where decisions about the set-up and structure can have an impact on the user experience and future roadmap. Excellent technical expertise needs to cover areas such as SharePoint administration, governance, development, customisations, integrations and implementation.

It’s also important for technical expertise to extend to Azure, Microsoft 365 and Active Directory. SharePoint consultants need to be able have an up-to-date understanding of what SharePoint can do out of the box and what it can’t do, as this will often determine where development and customisation are required. Always seek assurances and evidence of technical expertise.


2. Business and strategic expertise

A successful SharePoint consultancy not only has the technical chops to deliver advice and projects, but also must have the relative strategic and business understanding of what SharePoint can achieve. They must know how best to deliver a relative SharePoint project and environment.

SharePoint is a highly flexible platform that you can use successfully to deliver a huge range of outcomes. A good SharePoint consultancy has a strategic lens to be able to determine how SharePoint can achieve aims and objectives around digital transformation, process efficiency, productivity, collaboration, employee engagement, knowledge management, internal communications, automation and more. They also need to understand how to make the project a success, with the right adoption and change management approach.

Frequently they will also be involved in user and stakeholder research in order to deliver the right requirements, as well as elements such as design, information architecture and more.


3. An understanding of the different shades of SharePoint

SharePoint has a long history and comes in several different versions covering classic and modern, online and on-premises and so on. Some complex companies may have multiple versions operating at the same time; there are even some businesses that still have customised SharePoint 2007 intranets running!

If you do have multiple versions of SharePoint running, then make sure your consultancy has a solid understanding and experience of all the different versions, especially working with classic SharePoint. This means that some newer SharePoint consultancies who might be a good fit for your modern SharePoint or SharePoint Online project, may be less experienced in working with classic SharePoint.


4. Understanding Azure and the wider Microsoft 365 ecosystem

SharePoint projects are very rarely just about pure SharePoint. They will involve aspects of Azure, Active Directory and the wider Microsoft 365 ecosystem and very likely involve integration with other Microsoft tools. The Power Platform could be involved to determine workflows and even define custom apps.

Increasingly, Microsoft is also pushing users towards a digital workplace experienced through Microsoft Teams, with heavy investment in Microsoft Viva. A good SharePoint consultancy needs to fully understand the wider Microsoft and Azure ecosystem to be able to get the very best out of SharePoint. They also need to be fully up to speed on Microsoft’s roadmap including Microsoft Viva, as knowledge of the direction of travel can potentially impact the detail of a SharePoint implementation.


5. Solid experience in the employee experience space

If your SharePoint project is aimed at employees – for example such as intranet or as part of your digital workplace – then it’s definitely a plus point if a SharePoint consultancy has solid experience of delivering employee-focused projects and advice. Delivering an intranet or digital workplace project is not like building a website or customer-facing solution – there are lots of different nuances including the need to factor in a wider range of stakeholders and user feedback, the need to take into account a longer-term view of the digital workplace, and also aspects of adoption and change management.

When an inexperienced SharePoint consultancy or agency takes on a project and treats it like an external website build then issues will inevitably occur. Make sure your consultancy understands what is it like to deliver in the employee experience space; here case studies and client testimonials can help validate a consultancy’s track record.


6. They are a Microsoft Partner

If you’re using a digital agency, make sure they’re a Microsoft Partner. This will help verify both their expertise and commitment to SharePoint and the wider Microsoft stack.


7. Range of services

SharePoint consultancies can deliver a wide range of services, solutions and advice. You might be looking for general advice, a custom development, the integration of your SharePoint estate, a SharePoint intranet implementation or something else entirely. Consultancies can usually provide what you need, but to a certain extent you can tell what they specialise in or where their strengths lie in the services they offer. Always have a good browse – is what you are after a standard service they describe?


8. People and culture fit

Any consultancy or digital agency needs to be good fit from a people and culture perspective. Always make sure that you meet with the team and also the actual consultants and developers that you are going to be working with. Some larger consultancies still wheel out their best people for the pitch meetings but are then never seen again once the work actually starts. The chemistry you have with your agency is important and needs to be routed in good communication and a spirit of partnership. This will absolutely lead to better outcomes.


Looking for a great SharePoint consultancy? Get in touch!

If you are looking for a strong SharePoint consultancy that ticks all of the boxes that we’ve covered in this article, then we can think of a certain specialist agency. They happen to be a Microsoft Partner and have an unrivalled record within the UK of delivering SharePoint and Microsoft 365 projects and solutions focused on employee experience and the digital workplace…. If you ‘d like to discuss your SharePoint project or needs, then get in touch!

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7 reasons to use SharePoint for policy management

Pushing out mandatory policies and tracking reads is perhaps the most requested feature in policy management. But before we get into that, let’s look at the other commonly requested features and examine how SharePoint (and Office 365) addresses these.

Having one source of truth for key policies, procedures, forms and other key organisational documents is important. Employees and managers need to regularly access information such as your staff handbook, IT usage policy, holiday request process, social media guideline or supplier due diligence checklist and more and be confident that these are accurate and up to date. In regulated industries such as financial services there can also be strict guidelines for interaction with customers or processes which must be followed to reduce risk.

Most organisations provide access to policies via their intranet but all too often these are:

  • Scattered across different department sites and are hard to find
  • Do not get updated with the very latest version
  • Simply do not get read, even if they are mandatory to read
  • Are not trusted by employees so they request a copy or rely on a version on their own file network or inbox, that may not be up to date.

Policy management is important. Not managing your policies and procedures carefully or making them easily available in one central place leads to risks for organisations and individual employees, as well as inefficiencies. Sometimes it can also be an requirement for industry regulators or other external third parties, and may even be the subject of an external audit.

Policy management software can help with these challenges and can provide a effective solution that enables policy owners and teams to manage their policy and procedure content throughout it’s lifecycle. Ensuring it is accurate, up-to-date and distrubited with users. 

Whilst identifying the need to use policy management software is relatively straightforward, choosing the right software to fit your organisational needs can sometimes require some consideration. Customers often ask us what the key features of policy management software are and want to know how to evaluate the right solution, this is our recommendation…. 


Seven reasons why SharePoint policy management is the best approach

If your organisation is using Microsoft 365 or SharePoint on-premises, then it makes sense to leverage the power of SharePoint to help better manage your policy documents.

1 SharePoint is likely to be your existing and secure document management solution

If you use SharePoint or SharePoint Online, then that is likely to be at the root of how most people manage documents their documents and files in your organisation. Documents can be easily shared, collaborated on and there is also effective version control, meaning that you can avoid issues such as duplication and ensure there is one source of truth; this is a critical factor in manging your policies. Leveraging SharePoint for policy management also means that your existing users will be already familiar with the system in place used for managing documents. Of course, SharePoint will also be fully secure.

2 You can automate lifecycle management processes

Lifecycle management is absolutely key to successful policy management. For example, you need to make sure that policies have owners who regularly review the documents they are responsible for. SharePoint is excellent from this perspective and you can leverage its integration with Active Directory as well as Power Automate (Flow) to create clear ownership, notifications and workflow to ensure polices are kept up to date and also create views that show admins the status of policies.

3 You can get a complete audit trail

As well as lifecycle management you can also get a complete audit trail of updates to your document, showing when and by whom. This transparency is very important for minimising risks, underpinning accountability, and even for external auditing purposes.

4 You can easily provide access to all

It is critical to provide easy access to policies for your employees. As most organisations already use SharePoint for their intranet or for communication sites, it is easy to integrate a policy document library into the channels that employees already have access to.

5 You can integrate it into your search

Policies also need to be findable and discoverable. Again, most organisations are leaning in on SharePoint or Microsoft search options to allow employees to find what they need. Using SharePoint for policy management means that these documents will be included in your main search, perhaps through the intranet.

6 It can integrate with your wider Microsoft 365 ecosystem

If you are on Microsoft 365 you will likely be using a wide variety of different collaboration and communication tools such as Yammer, Microsoft Teams, Outlook and SharePoint team sites. The obvious integration between a SharePoint-based policy library and the rest of the Microsoft 365 platform means its easy to embed and share key policies from the library in the places where every day work happens.

7 You can track usage and get data

Using SharePoint for policy management means it is also possible to track usage and get data on different policies, for example numbers of views or when they were last updated. By leveraging integrations with Active Directory and PowerBI you can also start to create reports and track critical data such as whether a mandatory document is being read and by whom.

Read more  about policy management software and reasons why SharePoint is the best approach  here.

But what about mandatory policies and tracking reads?


policies and procedures

Introducing… Xoralia policy management software for SharePoint

Overall, using SharePoint for policy management is the way to go. Having deployed many policies libraries on SharePoint and intranets over the years, we decided to combine all our knowledge into an app which can help customers fast track to a secure, user-centric and robust policy management library.

Xoralia policy management software is a brand-new app designed, developed, and managed by Content Formula. It provides organisations using Microsoft 365 and SharePoint Online a quick-to-deploy central policy library than can be accessed via a SharePoint-based intranet or SharePoint site. Xoralia Policies can also be installed by on-premises SharePoint customers.

The app is a simple but complete solution that provides:

  • Easy, central access to the latest version of organisational policy and procedure documents for all staff
  • Robust policy management with assigned content owners and regular reviews across different departments and functions
  • The ability to track the progress of mandatory reads for particular documents, as well as other useful analytics
  • All you need for auditing purposes.


How it works

In a nutshell, Xoralia policy management software works in the following six simple steps. Find out more about each step and Xoralia policy lifecycle management here.

Policy management software - SharePoint, Office 365 & MS Teams


Xoralia policy management software
Find out more about Xoralia policy software


Main features

1 An attractive, central policy library

Xoralia Policies acts as a central policy and procedure library that can be reached via a SharePoint-based intranet or via a SharePoint site, such as a communication site. When accessing Xoralia Policies users are presented with an attractive and intuitive interface that has been designed to help employees find that they need.

Each policy is listed with salient details including the title, the owner, the document format, the date it was last updated and any related instructions, such as whether it must be read. These instructions are personalised to the user. A handy summary at the top of the page also lets a user the number of policies that they have to read.

2 Complete auditability

Organisations may need to demonstrate to regulators or other external bodies that they both have robust processes in place to manage their policies but also that all employees have read policies that are considered to be mandatory. Xoralia Policies leverages the power of SharePoint to provide a complete audit trail of document changes, and also shows clear review policies in place with the ability to track these. This should satisfy both your own internal and external auditing requirements.

Xoralia Policies also has the ability to ensure employees are carrying out mandatory reads. If a policy is mandatory to read, employees can access the document within the app and then make a simple declaration confirming once it has been read. In-built analytics show policy owners and admins the percentage of those who have read the policy.

3 Robust policy management with automated notifications

At the heart of Xoralia Policies are robust policy management features to ensure that documents are kept up to date and your library remains the one source of truth for policies. Each policy has an identified owner and a defined regular review period.

Notifications ensure that owners are reminded to review the policies they own; Xoralia Policies also has a simple dashboard that shows a policy owner their policies that are due for review or have expired. Transparent ownership and review information displayed on each policy also encourages accountability.

4 Analytics for mandatory reads and more

Xoralia Policies also comes with powerful analytics. Xoralia Policies shows policy owners the percentage of users that have read a policy, while administrators can access a more detailed analytics dashboard showing the status of all mandatory reads as well as other salient analytics relating to document status, for example. There are options to use Power BI for more detailed and custom reporting.

These analytics can help teams to prepare for audits, making interventions where necessary, but also get a better understanding to building engagement with employees.

5 Strong findability

Findability is critical. Employees want to be able to find the right policy quickly and effortlessly. The app includes a strong search facility where an employee can enter keywords to find the policy they are looking for. Additionally, employees can filter by different categories including mandatory and non-mandatory reads, the function who owns the policy (IT, HR, Legal etc.) as well as custom tags defined by you.

6 Easy set-up and deployment

The app is quick and straightforward to implement. Because Xoralia Policies can be applied to an existing SharePoint library it means you can convert an existing policy library to the app. It can also be deployed from within any SharePoint intranet or other SharePoint site.

Simplified Policies takes a few days to implement. Content Formula can handle the whole implementation or work in partnership with your IT function to deploy the app.

7 Options for customisation

If you have special requirements around managing and presenting your policies, there are options for customisation. Call us to discuss.


Customer case study

Policy management software example


Gama Aviation provides global business aviation services and support to individuals, corporations and government agencies. The global workforce require access to one source of truth for technical documents, polices and procedures. Building on the Wizdom intranet already introduced by Content Formula, Gama Aviation chose to upgrade their existing policy library to Xoralia Policies to take advantage of the improved UI, mandatory reads capability and decentralised policy management.

Content Formula worked closely with Gama Aviation’s IT function to enable them to carry out most of the implementation themselves. The new policy library is now accessed through the Wizdom intranet and is already getting good feedback and frequent visits.

Policy management software example


SharePoint is made for policy management

When it comes to managing your policies and ensuring your employees can find and access them, SharePoint is a strong option.

If you’d like more information about using SharePoint for policy management or about Xoralia policy management software, and would like a product demo then get in touch!

Book a live demo

Find out more about Xoralia policy management software

During the demo, we'll walk you through Xoralia’s various features and functionality, providing plenty of time for you to ask our experts questions along the way.

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