SharePoint Intranet Development: A Comprehensive Guide
SharePoint is a powerful platform developed by Microsoft that allows organizations to create and manage their intranet websites. An intranet is a private network that is only accessible to employees within the organization. It serves as a central hub for communication, collaboration, and information sharing.
Benefits of SharePoint Intranet
SharePoint offers numerous benefits for organizations looking to develop an intranet. Some of the key benefits include:
- Centralized document management: SharePoint provides a centralized location for storing and managing documents, making it easy for employees to find the information they need.
- Collaboration and communication: SharePoint offers a range of collaboration features, such as document co-authoring, team sites, and discussion boards, enabling employees to work together more effectively.
- Customization and flexibility: SharePoint allows organizations to customize their intranet to meet their specific needs, with options for branding, layout, and functionality.
- Integration with other Microsoft tools: SharePoint seamlessly integrates with other Microsoft tools, such as Office 365, Outlook, and Teams, providing a unified experience for employees.
- Security and access control: SharePoint offers robust security features, allowing organizations to control access to sensitive information and protect against unauthorized access.
SharePoint On-Premise vs SharePoint Online
SharePoint is available in two deployment options: on-premise and online. On-premise SharePoint is installed and hosted on servers within the organization’s own infrastructure, while SharePoint Online is a cloud-based solution hosted by Microsoft.
The choice between on-premise and online SharePoint depends on various factors, including budget, IT resources, and specific requirements. On-premise SharePoint offers more control and customization options but requires a higher upfront investment and ongoing maintenance. SharePoint Online, on the other hand, offers scalability, automatic updates, and lower upfront costs but may have some limitations in terms of customization.
Intranet Development Options
When it comes to developing a SharePoint intranet, organizations have several options:
- Outsourcing SharePoint Development: Organizations can hire a SharePoint development agency to design and develop their intranet. This option is suitable for organizations that lack in-house SharePoint expertise or want to leverage the skills and experience of professionals.
- Custom SharePoint Development: Organizations with in-house SharePoint expertise can choose to develop their intranet internally. This option provides more control and flexibility but requires dedicated resources and expertise.
- Managed SharePoint Services: Some organizations opt for managed SharePoint services, where a third-party provider takes care of the infrastructure, maintenance, and support of the SharePoint environment. This option allows organizations to focus on their core business while ensuring a reliable and secure intranet.
Best Practices for Intranet Design
Designing an effective intranet requires careful planning and consideration of user needs. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:
- User-Centric Design: The intranet should be designed with the end-users in mind. Conduct user research and gather feedback to understand their needs and preferences.
- Clear Navigation: Ensure that the intranet has a clear and intuitive navigation structure, making it easy for users to find the information they need.
- Mobile-Friendly Design: With the increasing use of mobile devices, it’s important to design the intranet to be responsive and accessible on different screen sizes.
- Consistent Branding: Apply consistent branding elements, such as colors, fonts, and logos, to create a cohesive and professional look and feel.
- Engaging Content: Provide relevant and engaging content to keep employees informed and motivated. Use a mix of text, images, videos, and interactive elements.
- Regular Updates: Keep the intranet up to date with fresh content and regular feature enhancements to encourage user engagement.
SharePoint intranet development offers organizations a powerful platform for creating a comprehensive and efficient internal communication and collaboration hub. Whether you choose to outsource SharePoint development, develop it in-house, or opt for managed services, it’s important to consider user needs, best practices for intranet design, and the specific requirements of your organization. With the right approach, SharePoint can transform your organization’s intranet and improve productivity and collaboration among employees.