As more organizations come to understand the value and impact of an Office 365 Digital Workplace, it will be increasingly important for businesses to successfully bring together all the necessary components. By doing so, businesses will empower employees to be more productive and proactive in their jobs while making business easier and more efficient.
To address the needs and the core components of a Digital Workplace, a new concept is emerging called an Operational Portal Structure, and it is the logical next step for businesses to move forward. But what is an Operational Portal Structure? And, more importantly, what is the impact on your business now and going forward?
To put it simply, an Operational Portal Structure transcends an Intranet, which is focused on communication and collaboration, by allowing your organization to easily, efficiently, and consistently do business internally across traditional departments using Office 365 and SharePoint.
More specifically, an Operational Portal Structure is a set of portals through which employees work, collaborate, and access internal services. Quite often, small to medium size businesses experience out-of-control internal chaos among different departments that is a result of an organic IT infrastructure that originated when the business grew department by department.
An organic IT infrastructure is defined by department siloes that feature numerous separate applications, logins, and processes that departments brought in and used for their own needs as the business grew.
Each department has its own set of technology, policies, processes, ways to collaborate and communicate, forms of managing documents, applications, and logins. In order for an employee to request services or find resources from a department can be frustrating because of the lack of consistency about how to interact with the department.
Employees experience different methods of requesting services, finding resources, and fulfilling processes. Because each department grew independent of one another, there was no future planning allowing for a common, consistent infrastructure to bring everything together cohesively into a unified interface. As a result, employees found it difficult to request services and find resources. And this ultimately made doing business inside the organization challenging, frustrating, and downright painful.
As a result of this organic IT infrastructure, job efficiency, performance and productivity, and employee self-sufficiency is negatively impacted. This is where the importance of an Operational Portal Structure becomes evident and essential.
An Operational Portal Structure lets organizations unify work and technology to make it easier for employees to do their jobs. Additionally, it solves the problem of cross department chaos perpetuated by an organic IT infrastructure. A common approach is applied to providing employees with everything they need to successfully perform their jobs and receive services, such as documents, media, business intelligence, and more.
The Operational Portal Structure is at the core of a Digital Workplace that creates a central workspace with a common user experience that allows employees to access all the information, communication, and processes necessary to get their jobs done.
Operational Portals – Where Work Gets Done
An Operational Portal Structure is a set of portals that includes an Employee Self-Service Portal and Department Portals from which employees work, collaborate, and access internal services. It includes much of the work functions in departments, which might include a Help Desk, knowledge base and employee facing processes. It also can include documents and media, and the portal serves as a place for a department to deliver services, both internally and externally.
Following the example from customer service oriented industries like bank branches or chain restaurants, it is important to provide the customer with a consistent and intuitive design of the place where they go to get services. So why not do the same across internal service departments like IT, HR, Facilities, Administration and others in your organization? This is where Employee Central and Employee Portals in department sites play a role.
Department Portals also can play a role in department staff productivity. They can serve as a space for staff to collaborate (through Office 365 Groups), manage business processes, and track service requests. Department staff can access news and information while having discussions with other team members using Office 365 services like Skype for Business or Planner. They can schedule meetings or events, work within groups and teams, and also share conversations with one another. The Department Portal becomes the place to work from and access appropriate collaboration tools.
Department Portals also are designed to include a Service Portal. This is where the business’ customers, whether internal in the form of IT or external in the form of a Customer Portal, can arrive and submit requests, access resources, get the latest information and news, and get self-service through resources like a knowledge base.
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