Wizdom Power Panel is here to unify a fragmented world

You probably know it from your own work life. Various software applications are available to help you with different tasks in the course of your day. The Office 365 application suite alone includes more than 20 different applications and, added to this, SaaS applications like Salesforce, Workday, ServiceNow, and Trello forms a fragmented corporate application landscape of different systems the user has to find and visit to be able to perform and keep up.

It’s a tendency in our current time called application overload. And – as it’s cousin, information overload – it poses a real and growing threat to productivity.

Today, we’re excited to introduce Wizdom Power Panel. Bringing in a personalized and intelligent overview of content across all systems, Wizdom Power Panel breaks the silos between applications and delivers the ONE corporate dashboard you need to visit to keep up and get work done. When you’ve logged on to SharePoint, you have access to everything!

The ONE corporate dashboard, customized to your needs

Behind the scenes, Wizdom Power Panel is a dashboard framework. Web parts are the components.

Wizdom Power Panel is introduced as a new module in Wizdom available to all customers on version 3.36 of Wizdom. The Power Panel administration can be found in Wizdom Configuration Center.

From here, intranet admins can design the dashboard using the components that add the most value to the business.  Perhaps you work in a project driven organization, and employees will benefit greatly from having project spaces or project KPI’s readily available from the Power Panel. Perhaps staff consults with company procedures to perform daily tasks and having these at their fingertips will improve productivity. Possibly people engaged in sales and marketing will find help in having numbers and functions from systems like Salesforce available from the Power Panel.

As an open framework, Wizdom Power Panel offers you to build and design a corporate dashboard that complies to company needs.

NOTE: All Wizdom and most of SharePoint’s web parts are supported. However, to include data and functions from systems outside of SharePoint, like e.g. Salesforce, this requires a custom developed web part.

Personalized view

Benefiting from Wizdom’s audience targeting mechanism, content in the Power Panel can be targeted to AD groups and groups you’ve set up using Wizdom Audience targeting module. This enables you to deliver a personalized experience to every user. Making readily available the functions and content each employee needs to get work done.

If you’re in, you’re on

The Power Panel is omnipresent in SharePoint. Globally available from the left side of each page of your SharePoint intranet, users have the links, tools, and functions in the Power Panel at hand from everywhere once they’ve logged on to the intranet.

Wizdom Power Panel is available both for the classic and modern experiences in SharePoint.



The original article was published here


Introducing full Workspaces functionality and collaboration governance for SharePoints modern experiences

We live in a time of opportunities!

And this reflects in the digital landscape were facing. For collaboration purposes alone, Office 365 and SharePoint offer a wide range of tools including modern team and collaboration sites, classic publishing sites, Yammer, and Teams.

Knowing which tool to use for which collaboration purpose can be confusing for users. Also, without appropriate guiding, the creation of new collaboration spaces can easily grow out of control.

Wizdom Workspaces module is a tool to manage and collaborate on projects or areas of interests from the intranet. But the module is more than that.

The Workspaces module in Wizdom provides an engine for collaboration governance that enables intranet admins to set up fixed standards for the creation of new collaboration spaces. Intuitively guiding users to choose the proper type of tool for a new collaboration project and maintaining the overview of all collaboration spaces created.

Today, were thrilled to introduce the full functionality of the Workspaces module to SharePoints modern experiences!


Overview of workspaces

The Workspaces modules overview web part enables you to list, and get an overview of, all workspaces created in one workspace instance. From the web part, users can create new workspaces that will automatically be connected to the same instance.

Filter and search let users quickly find relevant workspaces.

You can configure the overview web part to display only the workspaces favorited by the user. In this way, the web part can be set up to feature most relevant workspaces for each user. Behaving as Wizdoms Favorites web part for SharePoints classic experiences.


Guiding users to create collaboration spaces within company standards

Admins can define a fixed set of workspace types with distinct abilities, metadata information, and roles. This enables users to choose from a selection of workspace types, that all meet company standards, when theyre creating a new collaboration space.

The intranet admin can describe every workspace type with image, headline, and subheading making it simple for users to choose the right tool for a given collaboration project.


Aligned workspace information

From each workspace created, users can see information on the specific collaboration project like project team, phase, and status. Project managers can edit workspace information directly from the workspace in question.


The original article was published here


How intranet and digital workplace governance is hard-baked into Wizdom

Intranet and digital workplace governance might be a dry topic, but it is an essential ingredient for a successful intranet or digital workplace. Governance can loosely be defined as the collection of structures, roles, processes, policies, rules, standards and other elements which make your intranet and digital workplace run successfully  every day. It also gives your platform strategic direction. Without some form of governance framework in place, an intranet or digital workplace will become chaotic, messy, unadopted and untrusted by employees.

At Wizdom we know how important governance is for true intranet success. Because weve consistently worked in partnership with our clients and evolved our platform based on real client feedback, governance is very much part of our products DNA. In fact, weve hard-baked several governance features into the platform, many of which add an essential governance layer to SharePoint or to Office 365.

In short: A good strategy and successful implementation ensures business value from the first day. A successful governance approach ensures that business value persists over time.

Different shades of governance

There are usually different flavours of governance which support any one intranet or digital workplace:

  • Technical: supporting excellent performance, security, compatibility etc.
  • Content: ensuring your content meets standards, is up-to-date and is findable
  • Collaboration: ensuring collaboration runs smoothly and optimally following organizational recommended practices and rules
  • Strategic: supporting the strategic direction and decision-making on your intranet

Lets look at how each of these governance areas is supported by Wizdom.

Technical governance

While how Wizdom supports technical governance is not the focus of this article, it is an incredibly important consideration in how we code the product. When you invest in Wizdom you know it will be performing optimally, is as secure as possible and fits seamlessly into your digital workplace. We want your IT department to be happy!

We also work in parallel  to align our product roadmap with the SharePoint and Office 365 roadmap; for example, we can integrate SharePoint modern sites into Wizdom. Our extensibility framework also means it is possible for you to perform some customisations on your intranet without impacting your ability to upgrade in the future. SharePoint content also remains in SharePoint and so it utilizes SharePoint security mechanisms should you wish to choose a different product to Wizdom in the future.

We ensure technical governance is a core part of the product, to help your IT department sleep more soundly at night.

Content governance

A classic problem with intranets is that content does not meet editorial standards or is not kept up-to-date, despite the best intentions of intranet teams and content owners. An intranet without good content is not a good intranet.

Multiple features within Wizdom help to establish content governance for your intranet pages. For example, when a piece of content is created there is always a set owner and a revision date for when it must be reviewed, supporting accuracy and relevancy. A dashboard helps individual content owners  view which pieces of content are due for revision, and workflow allows review to be carried out with less effort. Meanwhile, the central intranet team has a dashboard of who owns which piece of content and what is due for revision, again allowing for central oversight and stewardship.  Different page templates also help your publishers to create pages based on formats which align with your editorial standards.

Certain types of content will also need to be more tightly controlled and Wizdom adds extra content governance for these; there are approval workflows for central news and there is also a library for policies and procedures where you can also establish and follow up on mandatory reading for targeted audiences.  We help to establish governance across the lifecycle for all your different content types.

Collaboration governance

Just like your content, collaboration sites need some governance too. A common scenario is for collaboration platforms and tools like Teams to grow out of control, creating poor findability and confusion, resulting in a poor user experience and low adoption. Collaboration governance helps to avoid this scenario, while also giving you some control over which tools employees use.

Office 365 and SharePoint Online comes packed with a stack of different options for collaboration including team sites, Yammer, Teams or Office 365 groups, and Wizdom adds further options! Within any organisation there are going to be different types of collaboration use case for example project teams, department sites or Communities of Practice.  How can you help your users know which is the best tool to use for which use case, and how it should be configured?

Wizdom delivers robust collaboration governance by adding some control to the site provisioning process. You can create a portal which allows you to define which type of tool should be used for what use and defines a specific template for each type of site. Users select their preferred type of collaboration space (e.g. project site) and Wizdom then creates a site (Teams, team sites etc.) with  all the right features. It also establishes the roles such as a site owner which are needed to make sure a collaboration space is sustainable.  This means that a user needs to select to create the relevant type of business workspace and then the solution will create the organizationally defined type of collaboration workspace (i. e. a Microsoft Teams or a SharePoint Project site etc.).

You can also add approval workflows to stop the duplication and proliferation of unwanted sites, keeping some control and order over your collaboration platform.  To help central teams keep on top of governance, there are also views which show all the collaboration sites created and the associated site owners.

Strategic governance

At the heart of strategic governance is clear ownership and sponsorship of your platform, and associated processes to ensure that strategic decisions can be made. While most of the strategic governance you have in place may centre  around a cross-functional steering committee and its activities,  Wizdom can support decision-makers through:

  • robust reporting built into the platform
  • a transparent roadmap for whats coming up
  • close alignment to the Microsoft and Office 365 roadmap
  • and a clear value proposition for the platform which focuses on both an intranet and the wider digital workplace.

You need a platform which supports governance

You really do need governance for your intranet and digital workplace to be sustainable and successful. Having a product which supports your efforts to establish governance rather than making it more difficult is important.

Whether ensuring the concerns of your IT department are met, allowing users to pick the right collaboration site, helping content owners to review their pages or producing reports for your senior leaders, Wizdoms governance features are there to help central teams manage their platform in the best way possible.

If you would like to know more, feel free to request a product demo.


The original article was published here

How an in-a-box intranet meets specific business requirements

Intranets meet many different needs. An intranet helps to deliver Internal communications, content publishing, collaboration, support for customer services, onboarding, document management, HR self-service, learning, enterprise search, a front door to help employees navigate the wider digital workplace and more.

To a certain extent the needs around these different areas are similar from organisation to organisation, and subsequently intranets deployed in different organisations have similar capabilities. Its also why some of the core features of intranet in-a-box products like Wizdom are relatively similar for example in how news publishing is dealt with and is displayed.

When you have very specific requirements

The problem often comes when you want to meet the very specific requirements for your organisation. Perhaps you run your onboarding in a slightly different way to other companies or perhaps your project management methodology is unique to you? Perhaps you use a combination of different systems for one process or perhaps you have a creaking legacy system you built in-house which means employees complete tasks in a certain way?

Perhaps you have some very complex workflows and approvals for your content? Or perhaps you have a stubborn stakeholder who wants things done in a certain way? Maybe you need to have some unique branding on your intranet or different parts of your organisation do different things in different ways.

In most large or complex organisations, it is extremely likely that you will want to have some digital workplace or intranet feature that is unique to the way you operate.

Should you customise?

Sometimes when you need your intranet or digital workplace to deviate from the standard way of doing things, there is a perception that the intranet product wont  quite do exactly what you want. Thats when some organisations decide they need to customise a solution or even build their own to meet specific needs.

Customisation has some advantages in that you can meet your exact requirements, but it is expensive, means the implementation must be closely managed, has more risks and, crucially, means it is far harder to upgrade. In our view, it is better to buy than build. It also means you might not be able to take advantage of all the efficiency, usability and productivity advantages of an in-a-box product like Wizdom, especially when it is combined with a cloud platform like Office 365. For these reasons, many IT departments tend to avoid customisation if they can.

The result of avoiding customisation is that there can be tension when an IT department wants to implement a standard solution, and local stakeholders or groups of employees want to have highly customised solutions which meet their individual needs.

Sometimes is it possible for employees to change the way they work, but overall the best possible solution is when you have a highly flexible and configurable intranet and digital workplace which meets local or unique business requirements and avoids the negative associations of customisation. We often encounter perceptions that this cannot be done, but with the right product and approach, this is perfectly possible.

For example, a typical (and very powerful) combination of products is the use of Wizdom and Office 365 together. Together, were confident that they can solve the vast majority of very specific, individual intranet and digital workplace requirements.

Lets look at five ways this happens.

1. Range of features

One of the key strengths of combining Office 365 and Wizdom is the sheer breadth of capabilities and range of tools available for employees to use, meeting a variety of different needs and use cases across your organisation. In fact, its unlikely you will use all the functionality on offer, but these tools provide many options to provide a sophisticated digital workplace as new needs emerge.

For example, Office 365 alone has various options for messaging and collaboration for individuals, small teams, wider communities, project teams, those who want to collaborate on documents, and many more use cases.

Meanwhile Wizdom supports intranet publishing and internal communications for both your entire organisation and local departments. You can also establish a central policy library, manage events, provide access to learning resources, use a ticketing system for logging issues and more.  You really will be able to meet most of the requirements across your organisation.

2. Configuration of individual features

As well as the range of features available, each of the tools is also generally configurable to give as much flexibility as possible. For example, the range of different options in Wizdom allows you to build the intranet homepage you actually want with specific features and corporate branding, or to introduce the collaboration site that fully supports your project methodology.

Also, because there is the ability to introduce personalisation and content targeting, it means you can deliver targeted, relevant experiences for different audiences within your organisation, incorporating different sub-brands if necessary.

3. Wizdoms extensibility engine

We also know that there is always going to be some tweaking to standard functionality which users and organisations need and where products cannot meet every eventuality. Because of this, weve built Wizdom in such a way that it is possible to customise some elements of the product without impacting the long-term viability of the platform; you can still carry out upgrades.

While we believe the core tools of the platform will meet around 90 percent of user needs, Wizdoms extensibility engine means you can customise the last 10 percent you need and have a solution which exactly meets your requirements, but still safely evolve your digital workplace.

4. Integration with the wider digital workplace

Delivering a more integrated experience across different systems is a common direction of travel for advanced intranets and digital workplaces. This can involve a great deal of customisation, but at Wizdom we can easily integrate with the rest of the Office 365 suite, including Microsoft Teams and modern SharePoint sites. Your intranet becomes an integrated digital workplace experience.

5. Keeping up with emerging needs

There are always emerging needs within organisations caused by organisational changes, new services, the increased expectation of users and the release of new digital capabilities which are now commercially available.  Often intranet and digital workplace teams have requirements to meet these needs quickly, but find their intranet is not ready or able to do this.

One of the key advantages of Office 365 combined with an in a box product like Wizdom is that it can meet these emergent needs, either through the release of new tools within the Office 365 suite which can then be integrated seamlessly into your intranet, or through features within the intranet which have been introduced on the back of direct feedback from customers. This means your intranet is effectively up-to-date and future-proofed as an ever-expanding true digital workplace.

Meeting your requirements

Were confident that Wizdom, when combined with Office 365, can deliver most of the requirements of your business, even if they are highly specific to the way you work. You dont necessarily need to customise and if you do our extensibility engine means it can be done in a managed way.

If youve ever felt worried that an in-a-box product wont meet the very specific way your organisation works, then think again; it can be done.

The original article was published here

Wizdom version 6.33 highlights

Wizdom version 6.33 brings a whole lot of new features and improvements. This video brings us the highlights including:

  • Changes to the news web parts (Corporate news and Noticeboard) in the SharePoint Modern Experience
  • Service Desk app has been enhanced for support agents and support managers.
  • The Projects module which is now called Workspaces to reflect that the module is suitable not just for projects but for lots of other collaboration scenarios such as communities, teams, departments etc.

How to get started with Wisdom on Modern SharePoint

Wizdom has been quick to bring the new SharePoints Modern Experiences interface to its product. This video explains how to enable Modern on your intranet.

Introducing Wizdom for the Modern Experiences

Since its arrival, our team of developers and UX experts have been looking thoroughly at the technology evaluating how we can bring our customers the most value from employing SharePoints modern experiences as part of their digital workplace.

From version 6.31 of Wizdom, and onwards!, the Wizdom product supports SharePoints modern experiences with a solution that bridges the worlds of classic and modern SharePoint into one coherent, future-proof digital workplace.


Bridging the worlds of classic and modern SharePoint

One global navigation


As you have probably heard and perhaps even seen, modern sites and pages are beautiful and fast performing. However, modern SharePoint does not offer a global and governed navigation across sites and areas.

Also, there is simply no solution for a navigation that unites the modern and classic world. If you build content with modern pages, this content will be completely isolated from the content on your classic SharePoint intranet.

Without sacrificing any functionality, from this version, the Wizdom Mega Menu can be enabled on modern sites too.

Preparing the Mega Menu to span across classic and modern sites has been a top priority. This allows you to fully integrate modern content into your classic SharePoint intranet. Users can use the global navigation to go back and forth between classic and modern pages and maintain the feeling of moving around in one coherent, digital environment.



One module administration



Administering a Wizdom intranet that includes both classic and modern SharePoint sites shouldnt mean double work.

All modules in Wizdom, whether used on classic or modern SharePoint pages, are still administered in Wizdom Configuration Center. There might be a few separate module settings for classic and modern sites, but, again, its all configured in the same place, in the way youre familiar with.


One news center

Wizdom Corporate News web part has been updated to collect and display news articles from both classic and modern sites.

This means you can offer users one news center that will present the collected feed of relevant corporate news, no matter where on your digital workplace these news articles reside.


Keeping content targeted by supporting personalized and multilingual intranets

Ensuring relevancy


To keep your intranet personalized and help users quickly find what they need weve enabled Wizdoms content targeting mechanism for the modern experiences.

Using the Mega Menu, you can still offer users a navigation that matches their location, position, and interests. Targeting of news to a specific subset of employees is, of course, possible with the Corporate News and the Noticeboard module. Providing users a set of personal links, that provide access to the tools and resources that only they need, can be done with the Quicklinks web part and the Service Menu. Wizdoms notifications mechanism allows for personal notifications to all users.

This all make up for the modern experiences current lack of a solution for content targeting.



Supporting a multilingual intranet


Would you like to offer users in your multilingual organization the new modern experiences of SharePoint? And still allow each user to read content in the language he or she prefers? With the content targeting mechanism of Wizdom comes the possibility to, also, support a multilingual intranet.

Use the Mega Menus features to create a global navigation with content that adapts to the preferred language of the user.



Wizdom modules can now be used for modern sites


Soon, all Wizdoms features and functions will be available for SharePoints modern experiences. With this version, we have the first pack of Wizdom modules ready.

As they live in the modern environment, the user experience of Wizdoms web parts will be slightly different here. However, the modules for modern SharePoint will include the same functionality as they do for the classic version, now and onwards.

The Wizdom functionality introduced for the modern experiences with this release are the following:

Cross site features: the Mega Menu, custom branding, Service Menu, site creation function.

Web parts: Corporate News, Noticeboard, Policies I Must Read, People Directory, Quicklinks, Cafeteria Menu.

As written, you configure modules for the modern experiences exactly as youre used to configure them for the classic experiences. All Wizdom modules, whether theyre used for classic or modern, just have one module administration. The settings performed here will apply to the module on classic as well as modern sites.

Administration of the web parts for the modern experiences differs slightly, as web parts are configured differently in SharePoints modern experiences. Administration of the web parts for the modern experiences will be thoroughly documented.

The original article was published here

8 things we love about the SharePoint modern pages

Over the past couple of years Microsoft has been rolling out the SharePoint modern experience and while some parts of it are still in preview, it has been released globally for elements such as Team Sites. New SharePoint features such as Communication Sites and Hub Sites have also been released using modern pages.

What is the modern experience?

Modern pages represent a superior user and content editor experience for SharePoint, fills some of the gaps around publishing that Microsoft probably should have dealt with years ago and has various other advantages.

The Modern Experience is based on the SharePoint Framework, a development framework which presented a fundamental change from the classic platform, with everything developed on the client rather than server side. Without going too much into the technical aspects of this, it basically means developing SharePoint is now much more about configuring the front-end experience than the processes that run in the back end, which was the case for the classic SharePoint of the past.

While inevitably with a new whole development framework and design there have been a few glitches on the way, and there are still occasionally features of classic SharePoint which we miss, overall the introduction of SharePoints modern pages has been highly beneficial. Here are eight things we love about the SharePoints modern experience.

1. Its changed perceptions of SharePoint

Here at Content Formula weve worked with SharePoint for years, and while its always been a platform you can get some incredible results with, project teams and intranet managers who have worked with it closely have often found it frustrating and difficult. And users havent exactly been wild about the classic SharePoint user experience either.

Lets be honest, until a couple of years back, SharePoint was not a very popular platform and was associated with long, complex projects which were over-reliant on development resource and could easily end up with low adoption. But over the last two to three years weve noticed that perceptions of SharePoint have changed to something more favourable. This is down to multiple factors, including Office 365 and more bolt-on options, but also down to the modern experience with its far superior user experience and ease of use. The days of SharePoint regarded as a beast of a platform are disappearing.

2. Modern pages look great for users

While theres always improvements which can be made, generally modern pages look great with clear page layouts, greater use of images and a contemporary feel. They also render very nicely on mobile devices too, another key advantage of modern pages. And thats just right out of the box.

Modern page

The superior look and feel when compared to the dated and sometimes cluttered feel of classic SharePoint ensures a better reaction to content from users. These are sites employees are far more likely to want to use and will find easier to use.

3. Performance is better

Because the SharePoint framework means all the web parts are executed on the client side rather than the server side it means that generally performance is better, especially for content editors or site administrators. Previously things could be a bit clunky with loads of page reloads, but now SharePoint is faster and smoother.

4. It has given power to content editors (at last)

The lack of a CMS or a decent content editor experience in SharePoint for a long time had left many of us puzzled. Why, when so many intranets use SharePoint, didnt Microsoft invest in developing decent publishing interfaces? To a certain extent, intranet-in-a-box products like SharePoint have bridged that gap, but now the modern experience has opened up SharePoint to content editors who are used to the easy experience of a popular CMS like WordPress.

Content editor

Modern pages are really easy to edit. For example, with just two clicks you can add the necessary web part and the changes are made there and then on the page. Many of the off-putting elements for content editors such as page reloads, confusing terminology and other frustrating elements of classic SharePoint are gone. This puts SharePoint in the hands of content editors more than ever and opens up the opportunity to publish for all. They need less training, can be more self-sufficient and sites are most sustainable.


5. Less development resource is required

The other benefit of giving more power to content editors is that you need less development resource. Before youd need a .NET developer to achieve some of the things that content editors can do on their own now. Insert a Yammer feed web part? Thats now two clicks away, not a business case which has to be made to the Head of IT Development.

Of course, youll still need developers to do some of the things you need to achieve, but ultimately, youll save money and your IT developers will be freed up to use their time to add more value to more complex projects.

6. Communication and Hub sites add value

Communication sites, and more recently, Hub sites are an integral part of the modern experience and have made it much easier for teams within organisations, as well as smaller companies, to distribute information and communication via a simple intranet-like experience. With web parts for easy publishing of news, promotions and events and an attractive layout, Communication sites do make it easier to communicate!

Hub site

Hub site also can connect numerous communication sites and present an aggregated view of news and content a little like an intranet homepage and departmental sites, for example. These sites are a useful addition to the tools available within the digital workplace and while they are nowhere near in providing the sophistication of an in a box product such as Wizdom, particularly for internal communicators or knowledge management functions, they give welcome options to teams, departments and smaller companies.

7. Modern pages are good news for turnkey intranets

Modern pages are also good news for turnkey SharePoint intranets like Wizdom which can utilise the design and approach of modern pages, and even utilise Communication or Hub sites, while still filling the gaps that SharePoint out of the box doesnt provide. In our view, the better SharePoint gets, the better the SharePoint in-a-box products get too.

8. Modern SharePoint web parts wrap themselves around Office 365

One of the obvious advantages of SharePoint Online and the modern experience is that it integrates more easily with the rest of Office 365. By letting content editors easily add templated web parts which enable people to add document libraries, Yammer feeds or the latest updates from a relevant Microsoft Teams site, SharePoint becomes the obvious place to build an integrated experience with the rest of the Office 365 suite. This adds value to Office 365 and your SharePoint intranet and helps to drive adoption.


Make it modern!

SharePoint modern pages bring lots of other advantages which are too numerous to mention here, but including arguably better security, more flexibility and more.

Modern SharePoint irons out many of the issues with classic SharePoint and delivers a great user experience. If you fell out of love with classic SharePoint, then its really worth taking a fresh look at the modern platform for your intranet, collaborative spaces, workflow needs and more. If youd like to discuss any aspect of modern SharePoint modern pages or Office 365 then please get in touch!

How Office 365 and Wizdom makes automation possible for everybody

Go into any organisation or ask any employee and we can guarantee that there will be many business processes which can be improved or tasks which can be made easier to complete. Automation and using workflow are critical to ironing out inefficiencies, removing bottlenecks, streamlining tasks and creating new business applications. By replacing paper forms, email trails and spreadsheet-based reports, organisations save time, increase productivity and reduce frustration. Digital workplace teams can even start to reshape the things ways are done and create new opportunities to work better and serve clients.

A combination of Office 365, SharePoint Online and an intranet-in-a-box product like Wizdom provides an excellent digital workplace from which to introduce automation and workflows which will make a real difference to your organisation. Whats most exciting though, is that the options for automation with Office 365 and Wizdom include tools which no longer need to be coded or configured by developers. Instead, power-users and even content editors can create their own simpler workflows, meaning that automation and the benefits that flow from it no longer has to be exclusively delivered via your IT department.

Of course, process automation and workflows have always been possible with SharePoint, but you would generally have needed a resource who was very knowledgeable about SharePoint to be able to implement it for you. Other options would have included using a product like Nintex which some organisations have used successfully, but this comes at an additional cost. Without Nintex or a similar product, generally an average content editor using on-premises SharePoint 2013 would not have been able to produce any significant level of automation on their own without using a central IT resource.

We think this “democratisation” of automation has exciting potential for productivity improvement to reach every part of an organisation, particularly within lines of business and support functions, and individual teams. It can even spark innovation. While we think its still critical to work closely with central IT functions to reduce risk and optimise the configuration of sites, and developers will still need to be involved for complex processes, Office 365 does have the power to deliver tangible efficiencies and inspire a more digital mindset among employees.

Lets look at some of the options for delivering automation using Office 365, SharePoint Online and Wizdom.

1. Flow

Flow is an Office 365 tool that has made workflow and automation much more accessible to non-IT professionals. Flow delivers the power of automation through easy-to-use templates and the ability to build workflow experiences in the browser without leaving a page. For example, a site administrator might have created a list in SharePoint and wants to add some workflow associated with that list, such as adding a notification email if somebody adds an item to the list of a specific value. This can now be done easily within the page just by pointing and clicking.

There are also connectors inside Flow that allow interaction with third party systems. So, for example, you might want to raise a ticket on Jira every time somebody adds something to your SharePoint list or make a request to a third-party API based on some criteria. Before Flow doing that would have been very technical, but now Flow allows content editors and power users to set up their workflows independently.

2. PowerApps

PowerApps is another Office 365 tool which provides another option for automation, as well as the ability to create new experiences for users. PowerApps comes with its own app for mobile devices which can be used by those without an Office 365 license.

If you want to create some automation for a mobile workforce that use their own devices and dont have Office 365 identities, then PowerApps can be used to deliver functionality that will kick start various internal processes. For example, perhaps you want to create various approval workflows for simple business requests such as ordering a new uniform, requesting travel or raising an IT ticket. PowerApps can help you to automate employee requests via a handy mobile app.


3. Power BI

Power BI brings automation to versatile and attractive dashboards which can display the latest statistics, KPIs and other metrics. Because all dashboards update automatically, it means that reporting which previously had to be done manually and was hard to maintain, is now effortless. Power BI is used by everybody from management teams who want a snapshot of the latest company KPIs in real-time to Office 365 teams who want an overview of the adoption of different tools.

Power BI is incredibly powerful because it can pull data from a variety of sources, both within Office 365 but also from external resources. Once trained, power users should be able to create and administer several highly useful dashboards which can be consumed by any user. You can also put in options for different reports to be generated, based on the values of the data flowing in.


4. Wizdom forms and polls

Wizdom provides easy ways for content editors and site administrators to create forms and polls for users to enter information which can then be used to kick off a workflow and deliver an automated process. Lets say a content editor uses Wizdom Forms to easily build a form using drag and drop elements. Because data entered by users in the form can be captured inside a SharePoint list, it then means that list can be combined with Flow or one of the other tools to effectively create a business application. This can be straightforward to configure and end up delivering a powerful solution. A great example might be a form for booking maternity leave which would generate emails and approvals to various people that need to be involved and informed.

A similar approach can combine Wizdom polls with Flow to create workflows. For example, if an IT service was rated by users as poor in a Wizdom poll, you could automatically kick of a workflow to start a follow-up process with that user.


5. Artificial intelligence

AI is likely to become the way to deliver automation in the future, for example using chatbots as the interface to receive information to kick off workflows, but also to power different automation processes within Office 365. In fact, Wizdom will shortly be implementing some AI-powered automation into its toolset, with the ability for a bot to suggest automatic content tagging for any article as part of the standard publishing workflow. In this case, AI uses language understanding services to make sense of text and match phrases and keywords to a company taxonomy.

We can increasingly see AI as being part of automation, with new tools becoming available for content editors to be able to make meaningful independent configurations which exploit AI.

6. SharePoint workflows or SharePoint designer workflows

Before Office 365 if a SharePoint intranet needed any process automation (such as custom staged approvals) an IT professional might use SharePoint Workflows or SharePoint Designer Workflows to build the workflow. Using these tools today is still a valid approach for IT professionals, and there are other options in SharePoint too, but you need to be very savvy with how SharePoint works and be confident to make it succeed. For complex workflows and for less experienced power users who havent received the right training, initially speaking to your IT function or implementation partner is always the best first step.

Lets automate!

Automation and workflow are no longer specialist activities for central IT functions. Office 365 and tools like Wizdom are unlocking the potential to set up simple automation for power-users and even content editors. We think thats going to have a beneficial impact on organisations, not only in terms of making efficiency a habit, but also in creating a more digitally-confident workforce.

With several options, including Flow, Forms, Power BI and PowerApps, and with AI creating opportunities in the future, any organisation not currently considering automation-at-scale may be missing a trick. If youd like to discuss automation, workflow and improving processes using Office 365, SharePoint and Wizdom then get in touch!

See the new Wizdom on SharePoint Modern Pages experience

Wizdom have recently released Wizdom on Modern. Wizdom on Modern integrates Wizdom with the new SharePoint Modern Pages experience which aims to be a much simpler and user-friendly way to publish pages and articles on SharePoint. Wizdom is moving all its functionality so that it is available on Modern Pages as well as the old Classic Pages. Watch this short video to see from the back end how easy it is for an editor to publish a news article on Wizdom within the new SharePoint Modern Pages experience. In this video you also see how easy it is to create multiple language versions of the same article and target them to different locations using Wizdom’s targeting functionality.

We use cookies to give you the best experience on our site. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find more about the cookies, please see our Privacy Policy