How to Plan your New Succesful Intranet in M365

Microsoft SharePoint, which is part of M365 (Microsoft 365) allows you to create an intranet for your company using a ton of tools and options. If you have an extensive team, it might take you some time to implement a successful Intranet in M365.

However, with the right planning and people on the job, you can easily bring the sites together and streamline your workflow. Since SharePoint lets you create a functional Intranet without coding, it’s easy to work with.

In this guide, we cover the aspects surrounding the successful implementation of an Intranet.

Understand The Goals of Current Stakeholders

The most functionally effective and successful Intranets are the ones that not only look good but also promote engagement and get people to do work. While the lookbook may motivate people to work, the alignment of the Intranet with your business goals is even more important.

All companies have business goals and strategic plans that drive investment decisions and policy-making. To make your Intranet successful, you should align it with your goals.

Additionally, your goals will determine which initiatives are must-haves in the Intranet. While some other technology points can be complete, an Intranet is never ‘done’ since the priorities and policies in your organization are dynamic.

At any given time, when creating an Intranet, you need to consider the current priorities of the key business stakeholders and the organization.

Additionally, you must look at the survey data on employee satisfaction. It should give you a clear idea of what the employees need and the key shortcomings you need to work on to implement a successful Intranet.

Consider Governance

If the searching capabilities of your Intranet are poor because too many irrelevant things pop up in the search, that hints towards a governance issue. When creating a new Intranet in, you should consider the architecture beforehand.

Such decisions are easier to take early in the process, so do not delay them. Here are a few things to look at:

  • Who will be authorized to provision new sites? After provisioning, which process will ensure that these sites show up in the search navigation or key bookmarks?
  • How often will the site content be reviewed? Who is responsible for this content?
  • When moving from your existing Intranet to the new site, do you still want to use the same pattern?
  • Do you have people in your organization whose job description is to edit the content on Intranet sites?
  • What does your retention policy say about the Intranet content? Does it have to be classified due to its sensitivity, or can it be retained?

More on Governance here.

Identify the Intranet Initiatives

After you’ve done sufficient research about the goals and needs of your organization, it’s time to identify the initiatives. For this, you should work with the Intranet stakeholders and also identify the barriers that might make implementation difficult.

Surely, you’ll ultimately put all solutions to action for addressing the initiatives for your Intranet in M365. But prioritizing certain projects will ensure higher user engagement and smoother workflow. Follow the given criteria for judging each initiative:

  • What will the return on investment be?
  • How many people in the organization will use it?
  • Is it solving a real problem?
  • Can we build it in a considerable time frame?

More importantly, you should determine how each initiative impacts the users, especially in terms of ease of implementation.

When determining which initiatives to prioritize, don’t just look at the system metrics. You should consider the overall impact on the business. For instance, let’s say your initiative is to educate the workforce about the benefits of the Benefits site.

  • The key content in this regard will be training videos and announcements.
  • The business owner will be the HR department.
  • In this case, the success metric will be reflected by the number of views on the training videos and the news posts.
  • The overall business impact will be the reduction of help requests by X% – X being the number you worked out during your research.

Here’s another example. Suppose your initiative is to improve consistency and reduce the time taken to develop proposals. The initiative falls under the Marketing site.

The key content will be proposal templates and slides highlighting the company’s business value. The metrics for success will be slide downloads and the alignment of the sales team.

Finally, the overall business impact will be an X% reduction in the time taken by the workforce to create proposals. Likewise, you can do the same for all your initiatives to implement a successful Intranet.

Work on Pilot Scenarios

To determine if an Intranet in M365 would work properly, you have to work on pilot scenarios and determine the ideal solutions for the people dealing with them. Here are some questions to consider:

  • What do the site visitors want to learn or accomplish?
  • Who are these visitors?
  • What technology are they using?
  • What determines the success of the solution?
  • Which information needs to be promoted?

For instance, if the visitor is the employee who needs to learn how to use the portal for self-services benefits so that they can make updates, the success will be determined by a reduction in help requests.

Besides, it would be best if you made a design brief for creating a user experience road map. It will show you how the site will operate. Here’s an example:

User Journey ComponentDescription
ScenarioAnnouncement Site: A one-stop place for the workforce to learn about the organization’s goals and get the latest news about industry events and meetings
UsersAll employees
ValueIncrease workforce alignment with industry initiatives and raise awareness
User JourneyThe employees get a news post about an upcoming industry event The employees attend the virtual event The recording is shared with employees who could not attend
MetricsLive views Engagement Recording views
Stretch GoalsContinued engagement Improved employee experience and satisfaction (checked through a survey)

Conclusion

Moving your existing sites to the Intranet in M365 is a positive step for the organization. However, it needs a certain level of planning and business goals alignment.

The guide touches on all the topics you need to consider in order to implement a successful Intranet in Microsoft 365 for higher productivity and objective fulfillment.