A major difference between the SharePoint Modern and Classic UI, is that the Modern UI editor and web parts are built much like popular website building tools (Weebly, Wordpress, Wix etc). That makes them easy to use. Unfortunately, the designers did not seem to realize that building an Internet page is very different than an Intranet. The main difference is the audience. Internets are generally pages built for the masses - anonymous users generally viewing information only. Whereas, an intranet audience is not anonymous. It is made of authenticated users who have different information needs based on role, function and level. The content in an intranet needs to allow targeting, and provide governance (security), over what is shown and who can change it based on the user.
Unfortunately that is not how much of the content management works in the SharePoint Modern and Communication Sites. It is the reason it is generating many articles of concern, here is a few:
I want to emphasize though, we are not saying Communications Sites themselves are bad, just beware of how their out-of-the-box content management works. Continue on to learn more.
The Difference is in how the Content is stored
In an internet most of the content is either on the page itself or is controlled by a web part. The content is simple and does not have a lot of intelligence about who should see it. Unfortunately, that is the way most of the Modern UI web parts are designed from Microsoft. News content (wikis) is stored in the general Site Pages library along with all other site pages on the site (including home pages!). They are hard to manage and governance is non-existent. Links and images are stored in the web part themselves on the page so again there is no way to target them. Announcements do not exist, and Events has no targeting or even a calendar view. Quite a step back from the Classic UI web parts that pulled content from lists like Promoted links.
Intranets require real Content Management
An Intranet needs a content management system which sources its content from lists rather than inputting it into a webpart on the web page itself. With the content in a SharePoint list, you can use meta data fields to define who can view the content, how long it should be displayed and even set permissions against it for security. You cannot do that with simple content in web part. Also, it is important that the list the content is stored in is only used only for that content. Microsoft implemented the News function via Wiki pages that reside in the main Site Pages library. This is the same library that all site pages (like the Home Page) are stored, which creates a big problem with security. What if your Content Manager accidentally deletes the Intranet's main Home Page?
Content Management is not done on the page but rather through the lists and libraries which can be organized into a Content Management Dashboard.
How we fixed this in the Modern UI
Having been providing SharePoint Intranet and Department portal templates now for over six years, we understand the best practices for managing content on an intranet site. We already had Lists for Content such as Announcements, News, Events and Promoted Links. We even had the feature to roll-up chosen News, Announcements and Events from Departments into the Intranet Home with approvals.
So the back-end content management structure was there, we needed a way to display it nicely on a modern site page. There were no supporting web parts.
What we did was to develop our own new content web parts for the Modern UI that use SharePoint lists for the content. Each of them sources from the specific lists already used in our solution templates and provides content targeting, governance and filters in a Modern UI page. Content Managers don't have to edit the page every time to change the content, they just go to our convenient Content Management Dashboard. Best of all, if it is used on multiple pages, it can be used over and over again with re-entering it. Our News web part presents the News Content just like the Microsoft web part. Rather than simple links from the Microsoft part, we can use Promoted Links from a list, using our Promoted Links web part. And finally we can actually display announcements, highlight alerts and target them using our new Announcements web part. That is what real Content Management is all about!
So now we can offer the best of all worlds, the ease of use of the Modern UI pages, and the robust content management of traditional SharePoint. Check out our new Intranet Solution templates for the Modern UI and Communication Sites at www.spmarketplace.com.
Compare our Content Web Parts to the out of the box Microsoft Parts