Putting It All Together: The Components of an Operational Portal Structure at the Core of a Digital Workplace
In our last blog "Putting Office 365 to Work with an Operational Portal Structure," we introduced the concept of an Operational Portal Structure (OPS) and how it is the contextual core of a Digital Workplace. We explored the meaning of an OPS, its evolution, and how it can be realized through Office 365 and SharePoint Online.
In this blog, we will take a deeper look at the core components of an OPS, what is necessary for it to be part of an Office 365 Digital Workplace, and why.
The Intranet home page is the gateway to an OPS that serves as the entry point to a Digital Workplace for your organization. It is the place an employee would start his or her day or visit throughout the day to see what is new with the organization.
With the Intranet home page, employees can go to a central location to see all the latest news, information, and events related to the organization. This content can be spread out across the entire organization or targeted to certain groups and departments.
The Intranet home page navigates employees to different portals and services in the OPS. However, this content needs to be personalized in both its navigation as well as all links for the employee.
Employee Self-Service Central
For many organizations, the Employee Self-Service Central component of an OPS is a new concept. But it provides a central place for employees to access frequently used services, resources, and processes they need to do their job. It centralizes commonly used functions rather than having them separate for each department. As a result, businesses can reduce siloed department chaos and prevent time-consuming communication in the form of telephone tag or sending multiple emails that often get lost.
As part of the Employee Self-Service Central, there are three areas that streamline employee services and processes. They include:
As part of an OPS, department portals go beyond simple peer-to-peer collaborative team portals to serve as an operational point for functional teams like IT, HR, Finance, and others to conduct business and offer internal services.
It is designed not only to drive productivity of department staff in the Staff Portal, but it also includes a Service Portal for employees to access functions that involve information, services, and specific functional processes like HR or an IT Help Desk.
Think of a MyIT or MyHR branded internal service portal. Department portals also come in the form of divisions or operational groups. An important trait of department portals is the inclusion of a Staff Portal and a Service Portal.
The overall design of the Staff Portal provides department staff members with key operational resources and processes to get work done and be productive. For example, if an employee is part of the IT staff, he or she has a Help Desk, asset tracking, and other common department functions like tracking vendors or warranties.
The Staff Portal also includes a knowledge base, team links, as well as links to an Office 365 Group and frequently used services. From this portal, staff can link directly to discussions, OneDrive, Planner, and other Microsoft applications. Staff can also see the latest activities like open cases, service requests, announcements, and dashboards.
The Service Portal, while part of the overall department portal, is different from the Staff Portal in that it is specifically designed for employees to access and request services, find relevant documents and forms, see the latest announcements from the department, and find answers to their questions through a knowledge base. With the Service Portal, an important objective is to make it easy for employees to do business with the department.
Department portals play a crucial role in bridging traditional siloed departments by providing a consistent design and experience across functions. Using best practices from service industries like banking and restaurants, it is important that the design and experience across service outlets is intuitive and consistent. This is why it is important that all Service Portals follows a consistent design that allows employees to submit a Service Request, access a knowledge base, see the latest news and announcements. It also should have filtered content specific to the employee using it, including My Service Requests, documents, and processes.
To realize the vision of the Digital Workplace, the OPS needs to integrate with Office 365 services and feature a consistent user experience that can be accessed from within the portal or by the App Launcher in Office 365. If an employee is in their department portal, he or she should be able to access email, people and groups, dashboards, and planner. And the look and feel of the Office 365 Digital Workplace needs to carry through.
Now that you understand the building blocks, how can you transition your organization to an Operational Portal Structure? In our next blog, we will discuss how to deploy an OPS and the steps your organization needs to take.
Is it better to build it or buy it? Find out in our next blog at www.spmarketplace.com/digital-workplace-blog.
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