Intranet portal design has evolved considerably as a result of Office 365 and SharePoint. As more organizations come to understand and embrace the Digital Workplace, employees expect a centralized, seamless user interface that they can access anywhere, anytime.
When it comes to your Intranet portal, beauty and functionality only go so far. The content that is displayed on the Intranet portal for your organization and how it benefits employees is going to be the defining line in user adoption and a successful Intranet on Office 365 and SharePoint.
There is no shortage of content that can be added to the Intranet portal. It’s important to strike a balance between operational content that is essential for all employees to be aware of and personalized content that is going to benefit just one team or one department.
What most organizations don’t realize is that in order to have content you have to get content. It’s a Catch-22. While employees of an organization clamor for content they don’t understand what it takes to provide that content. When they are then approached to submit content they avoid the task or put it off. This leaves frazzled and overwhelmed content managers who work hard to provide relevant, contextual Intranet information.
Providing employees with the ability to personalize content in conjunction with organizational content will increase usage and collaboration and help them do their jobs better.
For example, picture a salesperson in charge of the government sector who finds a website containing the latest RFPs for his or her state. The ability to link relevant content directly on the Intranet will greatly improve workflow, reduce time-consuming searches, and increase user adoption of the Intranet.
A lot of businesses become enamored with big, beautiful Intranets with sleek layouts and vibrant visual imagery. They want a stunning, well-sized picture to go with the latest company announcement. Or, they want to see who the new hires are, not just read about them. There are awards given to Intranets for achievements in design and beauty.
However, bigger is not always better and neither is beauty when it comes to Intranets. What people don’t realize when it comes to designing an Intranet and making it look good is that beauty comes at a price. Is your budget ready for that?
Forward-thinking business executives for small- to medium-size organizations (SMBs) are starting to realize that a “Holy Trinity” of technology, collaboration, and integrated business processes can exist together that lead to a next generation front office.
Advances in cloud platforms like Office 365 can provide transformative opportunities for SMBs that have never before been available. This “Holy Trinity” can exponentially improve productivity, competitive influence, and slash traditional IT costs for SMBs.
New IT Cloud Infrastructures are Transforming Operational Models for SMBs
Currently, many SMBs run their organizations on traditional IT infrastructures composed of disparate systems that evolved from an organic IT approach to an automated approach with siloed department functions. As a result, these SMBs face overblown IT budgets that are driven by maintaining multiple systems and platforms, redundant data entry, and superfluous administration.
Additionally, for these SMBs to stay competitive and serve a more distributed workforce, management is under pressure to modernize in order to support mobile devices, eliminate VPNs, and provide a common platform on which to easily do business. The negative impact for SMBs is that these current IT infrastructures could hinder growth and reduce employee productivity.
In the chaos of rapid growth, many organizations added siloed departments, each with its own procedures, policies, and systems. Many of these siloed departments use different hardware and platforms, different security or sign-in schemes, separate maintenance procedures, and separate recurring costs. How many separate systems do your employees have to use? How many different systems does your IT department have to maintain?
As marketing continues to move forward in a digital direction, there will be no end to the number of tools, ways, strategies, services, applications, processes, both internal and external, that professionals must track, manage, organize, share, and create daily. Here is an example:
Does this look like your day? Are you overwhelmed yet? Because this is what a typical day of a marketing professional looks like. Even with multiple marketing staff, it can still be stressful. But, if you are part of a small business and the only marketing staff member is you, it’s downright taxing.
So, with all this marketing mayhem, how do you organize it all? How do marketing professionals manage everything? How can staff track all of the campaigns, social media, web traffic and updates, service requests, and so on? And, just as important, how do external employees, such as Sales or executive management access the materials they need?
Microsoft continues to innovate with features that unify a Digital Workplace. Some of our favorite updates here at SP Marketplace is what Microsoft is doing with People, Planner, and Power BI.
People - A New Profile Experience
People are the driving force behind every organization, and Microsoft has put a lot of effort into improving the way we see people in a Digital Workplace. The new Office 365 Profile experience focuses on providing information in an intelligent, holistic, and integrated way. Soon, you will find this new profile experience everywhere that you find people in Office 365. To find out more, check out Microsoft's article on the Office Blog.
Power BI - New Navigation Experience
Power BI is Microsoft's solution for providing business intelligence in a modern way. It allows organizations to quickly and easily build beautiful reports across a multitude of data sources. If you have not started using Power BI, you are really missing out. In fact, people value Power BI so much that Microsoft is updating the navigation experience to make it easier to find the many reports that users are creating. You can expect to see this new experience coming in May, and you can read more about this update on the Power BI blog.
Hiring new employees can be a tedious, chaotic process. Post a job and hundreds of applicants, if not more, immediately inundate your email inbox. Wading through the mass of resumes and reviewing applicants for the right experience and skills can be arduous.
Finding the right people is often the number one challenge to growing the business. So it’s important that a structured hiring life cycle is implemented in an organized, well-planned way so that HR staff and managers don’t waste time on applicants who don’t fit the skill and experience level, and instead focus on the ones who do.
Hiring new employees can be a long, complicated, and tedious process. Department managers and staff in charge with selecting and hiring an employee must weed through hundreds of resumes, spend hours interviewing candidates, and finally select the candidate who is not only right for the business but also for the position.
Once an employment position is filled, it might seem as though the hard work is over. On the contrary, the hard work is just beginning. Employee success often begins with how quickly and how effortlessly they can get up to speed at the business, within the role they will play, and the duties they will perform.
Additionally, onboarding new employees involve tasks not just related to the human resources department but the department for which they will work, and possibly others. This can lead to complications for HR because now they must cross-functionally track and manage tasks. Not only must HR staff track and manage the tasks that are related directly to HR, but they must stay in step with tasks associated with other departments that are in line with current rules and regulations.
In our last blog “The Hidden Issue of Siloed Departments and Organic IT Chaos,” we discussed the impact of siloed departments that operated in isolation of each other at businesses. As the business grew, these siloed departments, such as HR and IT, added their own separate applications and systems. The result was a chaotic IT infrastructure, or what we call Organic IT.
Organic IT has a chaotic effect on the business, from IT costs to interdepartmental communication to employee productivity.
In our last blog, “The Need for a Digital Workplace on Office 365,” we talked about Organic IT - systems and applications that arose naturally as the business grew. At the time this was necessary from a departmental point of view in order to set into place a way for employees to receive services, follow procedures, submit requests, and ask questions.
The downside to this approach of Organic IT is that interdepartmental communication and access to employee-facing business processes, such as time off or expense reporting, is completely separate from one another. This presents a number of problems when employees need to interact with multiple departments and receive services in order to effectively do their job.