SharePoint can be a revolution in internal communications, productivity and engagement. It can be the foundation upon which a strong business culture thrives.
As a SharePoint consultancy, we say this with the greatest respect, but the worst thing any organisation can do with SharePoint is to take it straight out of the box and plug it in.
No two businesses are the same, or share the same challenges, structure, incentives, employee demographics or even personality types. Logically then, it takes a bit of fine tuning to ensure that what is built is something that employees can engage with and get excited about. But for best results, serious attention is required, where all aspects of building a SharePoint intranet are carefully considered, from design through to roll-out.
Having built intranets for global organisations that often have to work perfectly across different continents, languages and cultural and technical divides, we know that it’s a complex process and we won’t pretend otherwise. But putting that complexity aside for a moment, below we look at a few of the intranet principles that are essential for finding digital feng shui.
Where SharePoint excels is as an enabler. It makes it easy to bring companies together and unite them around an exciting premise, project or campaign, offering the tools and communication platforms to very effectively facilitate almost anything.
We’ve helped to design and build a lot of intranets over the years, and our favourites are always the ones that have unique, exciting ideas wrapped into them. For example, we helped one company use SharePoint to crowdsource the redesign of its flagship product, allowing employees across the company to have a hand in creating an iconic design that would pass through the hands of tens of millions of consumers.
Another example would be a museum-style brand archive we designed within Yammer that brought together some of the most inviting stories, images and designs from across one company’s entire heritage, putting its culture in historical perspective, and solidifying its values and internal brand. As a bonus, that project also inspired a new product branding idea based on some of the forgotten gems of the past, a product that would go on to be a huge commercial success.
A more practical example of an engaging SharePoint idea-led project we helped create is one in which employees were asked to pretend that their budgets were their own money, and were incentivised to collaborate on how they would want to spend it. The cost savings from this project totalled close to a million pounds.
Coming up with the standout campaigns that will drive intranet engagement and showcase the merits of an idea is something that is easier said than done. Particularly because knowing where to look for inspiration isn’t always easy, but SharePoint can help here too.
One way to do that is by keeping tabs on what employees are searching for, and whether they’re getting the results they’re after. In doing so companies can build and improve on what their organisations need and at the same time pick up clues as to what people care about the most – topics that could be turned into a wider campaign.
On a practical level, search analytics also let businesses find out not only what searches return good results, but whether they commonly get clicked on. That all makes it much easier to gain a qualitative understanding of whether your intranet is giving employees what they need. This and SharePoint’s other metrics can also be used to find out exactly how well an existing campaign is working and whether to carry it forwards or try something else.
So eventually your SharePoint intranet is doing what you want: people are using it to facilitate their best work, share great examples and collaborate on exciting new projects. Perhaps you find yourself thinking: “when so much great work and great thinking is clustered on my intranet, wouldn’t it be great if I could share some of that content more widely across the business and the diverse systems that it uses?”
This is actually one of the most underrated functions of SharePoint, but nevertheless a valuable opportunity to not only get the message out but encourage wider adoption in the same stroke. All SharePoint content is compatible with a standard RSS feed, making it universally shareable at the click of a button (or two). RSS means Really Simple Syndication, and that sounds good to us.
Above are only a few select examples of how to make the most of your SharePoint and harness it’s power to deliver tangible business benefits, but hopefully they’ve encouraged you to dust off your thinking cap and take a serious look at what SharePoint can help you to achieve, from productivity right through to culture.
To find out more about SharePoint’s hidden gems and how it can deliver against your goals and requirements,
give us a wave and we’ll come chat to you.