No matter the platform, your intranet and digital workplace needs to feel like an extension of your company rather than a canned or OOTB (out-of-the-box) product. That is why the benefits of Intranet personalization are so important. However, before we get into the SharePoint Intranet portal benefits, we will break down their importance and why you should consider Microsoft 365.
The platform you choose has a long-lasting effect on your employee experience. Learn more about how employee experience impacts and is impacted across your entire workplace in our definitive EX guide.
In this article, we will cover:
If the benefits of having a strong digital communication platform were clear before the pandemic, they are now. Organizations dependency on technology, including collaboration tools such as SharePoint and Microsoft Teams, is at an all-time high due to the pandemic. Just as companies seem to have determined the right approach for the new work from home standard, the end of the pandemic is in sight, and employees desire something different.
They are tired of being restricted to work-from-home environments due to a lack of personal interaction in the physical we have all been feeling.
A recent study showed that 73% of employees are saying they want a hybrid environment. So, it makes sense that 66% of leaders are looking at ways to redesign their offices to be more hybrid friendly. Regardless, it is safe to say that employee dependency on technology will continue to rise and will require a whole new approach for your digital workplace.
Predicting and adapting to the future of hybrid work will be one filled with interesting challenges. That is why, now more than ever, it is essential to ensure the strength of your digital workplace fundamentals. While proper planning for your SharePoint Intranet should include a roadmap, and a strong understanding of how to plan one, how you personalization your digital workplace is a critical component to it’s adoption and success.
One of the reasons companies invest in an Intranet is to connect their employees to the brand further. This connection is key to keeping your employees engaged with the company, whether they are at the office, working from home, or on the road.
Keeping them invested becomes particularly challenging as your organization grows and might deprioritize updating and improving your intranet and digital workplace.
However, with effective branding and personalized touches on both the company and individual level, you will create an environment that feels comfortable and becomes an extension of their day. Whatever your reason for reprioritization, the primary advantages are undeniable enough, and Microsoft is only adding to them.
Have you ever heard of customer satisfaction? Of course you have! Just as you may have heard about employee satisfaction.
But what about customer effort scoring? Or, more importantly, what about employee effort scoring?
Well, the customer effort score is pretty easy to understand. Unlike customer satisfaction which is a lagging indicator, this is a predictive indicator. It essentially measures how hard it is to engage or buy your product/service.
Think about the equivalent model in the enterprise. We have employee satisfaction (a lagging indicator) on how satisfied they are with digital tools or the digital workplace. Still, we COULD be spending more of our energy on the predictive indicator of how hard it is to get work done and how those digital tools/digital workplace makes that easier or improves that scoring.
Just like we have customer effort scoring and customer satisfaction, we have employee satisfaction and employee effort that we can target and should actively improve/measure.
You might even think about how ‘making it easier’ could be measured in several ways from integration, business process automation, improvements in navigation and search, and of course, personalization impact. Efficiency, productivity, and engagement are all driven by more personalized experiences, and it’s instrumental as part of that effort to improve employee effort scores.
There is a growing trend of organizations moving their digital workplace to Microsoft 365, or Office 365, to meet their Intranet platform needs. While many organizations are running their SharePoint portals on-premises, in a private cloud, or on public cloud offerings like Azure – many have already started or moved to Microsoft 365 powered Intranet experiences.
This article will highlight Microsoft 365 innovation in the form of key SharePoint intranet portal benefits and web parts that help personalize your digital workplace. If you are looking for a complete list of the top benefits, best practices, and much more, we have something for just that.
Download our definitive guide to Microsoft 365 Intranets and Digital Workplaces and discover insights based on our experience with hundreds of customers in a wide variety of industries and organization sizes.
There are and will continue to be more web parts that facilitate a beautiful, personalized experience aesthetically and technically.
Web parts are building blocks of your pages on your sites. They make it easy to customize environments to your company’s needs.
There are a good number of personalized web parts already in existence. What’s more, they are straightforward to add together into your own “My Dashboard” experience for users or to be integrated and interwoven into the key landing pages within your intranet.
Note: Keep in mind redirecting to other highly personalized experiences such as your watch list in Stream, your Delve Boards, MyAnalytics/Insights, and more are all valid ways to help users engage with personalization built into Microsoft 365.
The following is a quick summary of the most apparent OOTB web parts MSFT has for personalization today.
Make any environment more personal to the user by leveraging the My Feed web part, which allows each user to have the most relevant information on the corporate page. This is an excellent addition to any Intranet’s home page.
Deliver content of all kinds that is relevant to your audience with the highlighted content web part. Essentially, you can pull up targeted content, so each department only sees what is relevant to them.
Since content can be targeted with other supportive metadata, you can make it personalized to the user via your recent documents. Also, via audience targeting and those filters, you can create simple experiences like “your HR policies.”
The news web part is an important element for keeping your company up-to-date and knowledge management. It has built-in capability to both support audience targeting AND recommended news for that user. This is further improved with the Microsoft Viva Connections News Feed, which also brings in information in a unified feed from Microsoft SharePoint, Teams, Yammer, and Stream.
The Sites web part makes it easy to have all the relevant sites for a user in one location.
One of the big benefits of Intranet personalization is the time it saves your employees when technology is fit to their needs. Reduce countless hours searching for a document you just worked on by pulling up each employee’s recent documents up in their environment or on a site. Just one of the ways Microsoft 365 helps with document management.
This is the perfect web part to make sure users act on pages and news that interests them. Users can save pages, news posts, and documents for later.
Since the dashboard supports audience targeting, you can use it as you would highlighted content to increase personalization even more. Don’t underestimate this, as quick links haven’t supported audience targeting, and the dashboard is a big opportunity for Microsoft to continue to invest and differentiate over time.
The following are web parts from the Resources view in Microsoft Viva Connections. Bringing these web parts to the SharePoint App Bar and potentially into SharePoint as web parts for greater personalized dashboard design options is advised, when they become available.
Are you looking for one source to stay up-to-date on all Microsoft 365 roadmap updates? Take a look at our Status Update blog on the Microsoft roadmap, reviewed, and updated periodically.
We have put together 15 benefits of Intranet personalization including 7 general benefits and 8 Pages, News & Site Management Benefits. The two benefits represent the front and back end of your personalization capabilities with Microsoft 365.
The following are general out-of-the-box benefits of Intranet personalization, across all of Microsoft 365, that will better your digital workplace experience when you switch.
Simplify and improve employee experiences by presenting information (top navigation links, news, quick links, and more) relevant to particular groups or users within the organization. Out of the box features included with SharePoint modern are audience targeting for content, roll-ups, and even things like navigation experiences make it easy for anyone to find information.
Developing richer personalization is made easier by leveraging SharePoint Online’s audience capabilities, deep permission control, rich AD integration, and industry best practices for Microsoft 365 development. This offering is particularly compelling when coupled with AD groups based on dynamic membership.
Many vendors have additional personalization features that enable more user control and subscription-like models. What’s more, some even have invested further in ensuring the data you target (such as AD attributes) is always up to date and reliable.
Enable a new level of organization, personalization, and access to all of the apps and services that matter to them from anywhere in your digital workplace by leveraging the Microsoft 365 app launcher and the Microsoft App Bar.
The App Launcher, App Bar, SharePoint Home, Office Home, and many other Microsoft 365 experiences provide quick access to personalized and dynamic navigation to get back to recent documents, sites, and work you have been performing.
Keep staff connected with real-time updates on system alerts, personal reminders, and communications (new emails, group likes, etc.) from anywhere in your digital workplace by leveraging the Microsoft 365 notification bell/pane.
Aggregate and keep employees informed on important activities for them to know by accelerated custom development and Microsoft 365’s integration capabilities (Power Automate & Azure Logic Apps).
Enable rich page authoring experiences that provide content contributors with re-usable and configurable controls, components, sections, and design/templating support.
Many vendors significantly improve the experience with even more management and re-usable templates or more components/widgets.
Enforce quality is maintained with a highly configurable set of publishing and approval features via both built-in publishing and Power Automate capabilities.
Ensure security and compliance by leveraging SharePoint’s comprehensive permission management and Microsoft 365’s information protection and lifecycle management capabilities.
Simplify site creation and consistency in design using site templates, site designs, headers, footers, and site branding/theming, and more.
Provide improved self-service site creation and site lifecycle by building on the SharePoint platform using industry best practices while also providing options and approaches for extending this model to tailor it to your organization’s needs.
Vendors can improve this experience with even more powerful design capabilities that make it easier to configure templated branded sites and to update/leverage more accessible site templates that might require less technical skills. They can also often improve the request, provisioning, and lifecycle process around sites.
Improve user engagement and participation with liking, commenting, easy sharing, and other key capabilities in pages, news, and sites. This can be further enriched with pre-built integration between Yammer, Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft Stream.
Personalization is an important piece of a successful intranet and digital workplace. However, these SharePoint Intranet portal benefits are just the beginning when it comes to the ones provided by Microsoft 365.
We have combined years of knowledge and experience in the Microsoft 365 Intranet space to provide you with most of the information you will need. In this whitepaper, learn how to enhance employee engagement, improve content management systems, increase productivity through increased team collaboration, and enhance your internal communication efforts on a large scale.