Staff Intranet Development: A Guide for Successful Implementation
Implementing a staff intranet can greatly improve communication, collaboration, and productivity within an organization. A well-designed and developed intranet can serve as a central hub for employees to access important information, documents, and tools. SharePoint is a popular platform for intranet development, offering both on-premise and online solutions. In this guide, we will explore the steps involved in designing and developing a SharePoint intranet, the benefits of outsourcing SharePoint development, and the importance of customizing the intranet to meet the specific needs of your organization.
Benefits of SharePoint Intranet Development
A SharePoint intranet offers numerous benefits for organizations of all sizes. Some of the key advantages include:
- Centralized Information: A SharePoint intranet provides a centralized location for employees to access important information, documents, and resources. This eliminates the need for multiple platforms and reduces the time spent searching for information.
- Improved Collaboration: SharePoint intranets facilitate collaboration among employees by providing features such as document sharing, version control, and real-time co-authoring. This allows teams to work together more efficiently and effectively.
- Enhanced Communication: With features like news feeds, discussion boards, and instant messaging, SharePoint intranets promote better communication within the organization. Employees can stay informed about company updates, share ideas, and ask questions.
- Increased Productivity: By providing easy access to information and tools, SharePoint intranets help employees save time and be more productive. Tasks such as submitting leave requests, accessing HR forms, and finding company policies can be done quickly and efficiently.
- Customizable and Scalable: SharePoint intranets can be customized to meet the specific needs of your organization. Whether you need to add custom workflows, integrate with other systems, or create unique branding, SharePoint provides the flexibility to tailor the intranet to your requirements. Additionally, SharePoint is scalable, allowing your intranet to grow as your organization expands.
Designing a SharePoint Intranet
Designing a SharePoint intranet involves several key steps:
1. Define Objectives and Requirements
Start by clearly defining the objectives and requirements of your intranet. Consider what features and functionality are essential for your organization, such as document management, employee directories, or project collaboration. Identify any specific branding or design guidelines that need to be followed.
2. Plan Information Architecture
Next, plan the information architecture of your intranet. This involves organizing and structuring the content in a logical and intuitive way. Consider creating site collections, subsites, and libraries to categorize and store different types of information. Use metadata and search functionality to make it easy for employees to find what they need.
3. Create User-friendly Interface
The user interface of your intranet should be intuitive and user-friendly. Consider the needs and preferences of your employees when designing the interface. Use clear navigation menus, consistent branding, and responsive design to ensure a seamless user experience across different devices.
4. Customize with Branding
Customize the intranet with your organization’s branding to create a cohesive and professional look. Use your company logo, colors, and fonts to reinforce your brand identity. Consider creating custom themes and templates to ensure consistency throughout the intranet.
5. Test and Gather Feedback
Before launching the intranet, thoroughly test its functionality and usability. Gather feedback from a group of employees to identify any issues or areas for improvement. Make necessary adjustments based on the feedback to ensure a successful launch.
Developing a SharePoint Intranet
Developing a SharePoint intranet involves the following steps:
1. Choose the Right SharePoint Version
Decide whether you want to develop an on-premise or online SharePoint intranet. On-premise SharePoint offers more customization options and control over the infrastructure, but requires dedicated IT resources for maintenance and updates. SharePoint Online, on the other hand, is a cloud-based solution that offers scalability, automatic updates, and lower upfront costs.
2. Set Up SharePoint Environment
Set up the SharePoint environment based on your chosen version. For on-premise SharePoint, this involves installing and configuring the necessary hardware and software. For SharePoint Online, simply sign up for a subscription and create a new site collection.
3. Configure Security and Permissions
Configure security and permissions to ensure that only authorized users have access to sensitive information. Define user groups and assign appropriate permissions to different areas of the intranet. Regularly review and update permissions as needed.
4. Customize with SharePoint Apps and Web Parts
Customize the intranet by adding SharePoint apps and web parts. Apps provide additional functionality, such as document management, project tracking, or employee directories. Web parts allow you to display dynamic content, such as news feeds, calendars, or task lists.
5. Integrate with Other Systems
Integrate the SharePoint intranet with other systems used within your organization, such as HR systems, CRM software, or project management tools. This allows for seamless data exchange and improves efficiency.
Outsourcing SharePoint Development
Outsourcing SharePoint development can be a cost-effective and efficient solution for organizations that do not have the in-house expertise or resources to develop and maintain a SharePoint intranet. By partnering with a SharePoint development agency, you can leverage their expertise and experience to ensure a successful implementation.
When outsourcing SharePoint development, consider the following:
- Experience and Expertise: Look for a SharePoint development agency with a proven track record and experience in developing intranets. Check their portfolio and client testimonials to assess their expertise.
- Customization and Flexibility: Ensure that the agency can customize the intranet to meet your specific requirements. Discuss your objectives and requirements in detail to ensure they understand your needs.
- Communication and Collaboration: Effective communication and collaboration are crucial for successful outsourcing. Choose an agency that provides regular updates, has a transparent communication process, and encourages collaboration throughout the development process.
- Support and Maintenance: Inquire about the agency’s support and maintenance services. A reliable agency should offer ongoing support, regular updates, and troubleshooting assistance.
Implementing a staff intranet can greatly benefit an organization by improving communication, collaboration, and productivity. SharePoint intranets provide a centralized platform for employees to access information, collaborate on projects, and stay informed about company updates. By following the steps outlined in this guide and considering the benefits of outsourcing SharePoint development, you can ensure a successful implementation of your staff intranet.