The Microsoft digital workplace new tools to get to grips with

The intranet is no longer one thing. While the intranet may be the foundation of the digital workplace, it is made up of several platforms and tools. If SharePoint has always been your focus, prepare for the new wave of Microsoft tools to enhance your ways of working.

You have a digital workplace, even if you dont have a digital workplace strategy yet. Its every electronic and online tool you use to get work done throughout the organisation. Ideally, it empowers people to work at anytime and from anywhere, but even that old accounting software is part of the digital workplace.

The intranet may be the foundation of your digital workplace, but theres so much more involved. If SharePoint has always been your focus, prepare for a new wave of Microsoft tools. Heres how and when to use eight Microsoft offerings.

SharePoint 2013

Save and store documents to your SharePoint Team Site for collaboration, reviews, and sharing.

If you have SharePoint on-premise, you need to know if youve got a Standard licence or an Enterprise licence. The enterprise edition has more features (including Business Intelligence, for when you want to build portals / dashboards).

If you have SharePoint Online (cloud), you could benefit from more frequent upgrades and better integration with Yammer.

OneDrive for Business

Save documents here when you dont really need to share them. OneDrive for Business is separate from OneDrive, which is for personal use.

When youre attaching multiple files in Outlook, Outlook will suggest you share them via OneDrive reducing the duplication of files and making sure people always have the latest version.

Office 365 (Midsize Business / Enterprise)

The Office suite of apps that we all know (Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook), but now Office is a subscription service, rather than licencing the programs as we used to. Office 365 includes Office Online the viewing, creation, and editing of Office files in your browser. Single and bulk-licences for the desktop versions of Office (Office 2013) may still be available from your Microsoft rep, but Microsoft is pushing the Office 365 subscription route.

Lync + Skype

Lync is the workhorse that connects you to your colleagues. Its real-time chat, virtual meetings, video conferencing and it can replace your internal telephones. Lync connects to Skype (which Microsoft bought in 2011), and many individuals use Skype at work, with or without ITs blessing.


Add collaborative and social features to your intranet, but dont expect perfect integration just yet. You can save and share documents directly within Yammer, but maybe its better practice to put them into SharePoint and share a link to them via Yammer.

Office Graph

The technology that underpins how Microsofts products get to understand your activities, your content and how you are connected to people in your organisation.

The Office Graph is what keeps track of who you know and what you do online. It encompasses all Office 365 apps Exchange email SharePoint Yammer Lync external RSS – and your external social networks.

Its a little bit like an artificial intelligence that monitors the digital signals your work and actions create.


The first app to be powered by the Office Graph Delve (previously known as Codename Oslo check out the very compelling presentation about this exciting innovation) brings you curated content from across your organisation, personalised for you based on your online activities and connections to colleagues. When you get Delve as part of Office 365, later in 2014, youll enjoy visually discovering what your teammates are working on, and all documents youve recently touched.

If you need to collate your own work from over the months, Delve helps by pre-collecting content related to you. Such as modified by you this is great when you need to re-use your content. In the past, youd need to trawl all the separate SharePoint Sites (Team Sites) and OneDrive folders, but Delve brings it all to you.

Your current tablet and smartphone

The digital workplace is an expansive term for all the digital tools that help you get stuff done. Some people may be tied to their desks, some people may live in their inbox, but many knowledge workers join their engineering colleagues in being mobile workers; hot-desking, working in partners offices, and while travelling.

Whether youre an iOS or Windows phone / tablet user, you can find the official Microsoft apps to let you continue working on the go, including:

  • OneDrive for Business app
  • Yammer app
  • Office 365 apps (individually, Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • OneNote app
  • Outlook app
  • Lync app

Beyond the apps, SharePoint itself can be made partially or fully available on mobile, empowering more accessible communications for field workers and commuters.

The digital workplace can seem fuzzy, even messy, but by working with your IT department, your HR and Comms leaders can create governance that supports new ways of working while maintaining security across devices.

Take a look at our recent work to see how we shape SharePoint and Office 365 into the perfect intranet and collaboration platform.

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