Harnessing SharePoint as an Intranet Platform
SharePoint is a powerful platform that can be used to create and manage intranet sites for organizations. In this article, we will explore how SharePoint can be harnessed as an intranet platform, including its features, benefits, and best practices for intranet design and development.
What is SharePoint?
SharePoint is a web-based collaboration and document management platform developed by Microsoft. It provides a centralized location where employees can access and share information, collaborate on projects, and manage documents. SharePoint can be used as an intranet platform to create internal websites that serve as a hub for communication, collaboration, and information sharing within an organization.
Features of SharePoint as an Intranet Platform
SharePoint offers a wide range of features that make it an ideal choice for building intranet sites. Some of the key features include:
- Document Management: SharePoint allows organizations to store, organize, and manage documents in a centralized location. It provides version control, document check-in/check-out, and document approval workflows.
- Collaboration: SharePoint enables employees to collaborate on documents, projects, and tasks. It offers features such as team sites, discussion boards, calendars, and task lists.
- Search: SharePoint includes a powerful search functionality that allows users to quickly find the information they need. It supports full-text search, metadata-based search, and search refiners.
- Social Networking: SharePoint provides social networking features such as user profiles, activity feeds, and microblogging. These features promote collaboration and knowledge sharing within the organization.
- Customization: SharePoint allows organizations to customize the look and feel of their intranet sites. It provides a range of customization options, including themes, page layouts, and web parts.
Benefits of Using SharePoint as an Intranet Platform
There are several benefits to using SharePoint as an intranet platform:
- Centralized Information: SharePoint provides a centralized location where employees can access and share information. This improves communication and collaboration within the organization.
- Improved Productivity: SharePoint streamlines business processes and automates manual tasks, resulting in improved productivity. It provides features such as document workflows, task management, and project tracking.
- Secure Access: SharePoint allows organizations to control access to sensitive information. It provides granular permissions and security features to ensure that only authorized users can access confidential data.
- Scalability: SharePoint is a scalable platform that can grow with the organization. It can handle large amounts of data and support thousands of users.
- Integration: SharePoint integrates with other Microsoft products such as Office 365, Outlook, and Teams. This allows for seamless collaboration and information sharing across different tools.
Best Practices for Intranet Design and Development
When designing and developing an intranet site using SharePoint, it is important to follow best practices to ensure a successful implementation. Some best practices include:
- Define Objectives: Clearly define the objectives and goals of the intranet site. Identify the key features and functionality required to meet these objectives.
- User-Centric Design: Design the intranet site with the end-users in mind. Consider their needs, preferences, and workflows when designing the site’s layout and navigation.
- Information Architecture: Plan the site’s information architecture to ensure that information is organized in a logical and intuitive manner. Use site columns, content types, and metadata to categorize and tag content.
- Engage Stakeholders: Involve key stakeholders in the design and development process. Gather feedback and incorporate their input to ensure that the intranet site meets their needs.
- Training and Adoption: Provide training and support to employees to ensure that they understand how to use the intranet site effectively. Encourage adoption by highlighting the benefits and promoting its use within the organization.
Outsourcing SharePoint Development
For organizations that do not have the in-house expertise or resources to develop a SharePoint intranet site, outsourcing SharePoint development to a specialized agency can be a viable option. A SharePoint development agency can provide the necessary expertise and experience to design and develop a customized intranet site that meets the organization’s specific requirements.
When outsourcing SharePoint development, it is important to choose a reputable agency that has a proven track record in SharePoint development. Look for agencies that have experience in intranet design and development, as well as expertise in SharePoint customization, integration, and migration.
Managed SharePoint Services
In addition to custom SharePoint development, organizations can also benefit from managed SharePoint services. Managed SharePoint services provide ongoing support and maintenance for SharePoint intranet sites, ensuring that they are always up-to-date, secure, and optimized for performance.
Managed SharePoint services typically include services such as:
- Site Administration: Managing user permissions, site settings, and site content.
- Backup and Recovery: Regularly backing up SharePoint data and implementing disaster recovery plans.
- Performance Monitoring: Monitoring the performance of the SharePoint environment and optimizing it for optimal performance.
- Security Management: Implementing security measures to protect SharePoint sites from unauthorized access and data breaches.
- Upgrades and Updates: Applying patches, updates, and new features to keep the SharePoint environment up-to-date.
SharePoint is a powerful platform that can be harnessed as an intranet platform to create internal websites for organizations. By leveraging SharePoint’s features and benefits, organizations can improve communication, collaboration, and information sharing within their organization. Whether through custom SharePoint development or managed SharePoint services, organizations can harness the full potential of SharePoint as an intranet platform.