Improve Your Intranet & Make The Most Out Of Office 365: Join Me At The SharePoint Conference 2019

by Richard Harbridge on March 10, 2019

In this post, I want to share a couple of quick recommendations around Intranets in Office 365, some resources for further reading and highlight the opportunity for us to connect at the SharePoint Conference in May this year.

The Intranet/Digital Hub Is Still Important! 

There is a concern we hear from customers and colleagues at conferences. “Is the Intranet less important or no longer as important in the post Microsoft Teams, Slack and modern digital tool world? Yes! Organizations may be leveraging new meeting and chat tools like Microsoft Teams, they may have already established collaboration sites/spaces, enterprise social tools, and other infrastructure that makes modern employees more digitally ready to meet industry needs. The Intranet or Digital Hub still provides a better experience (if done correctly) in three key areas that amplify investments in the supporting areas of a digital workplace:

  1. Navigation: While conducting meetings, connecting with colleagues and working is easier than ever when an organization embraces tools like Microsoft Teams those same tools don’t scale well in helping people navigate the, often, hundreds of spaces that they work. Roll-ups, aggregation, dynamic navigation and more are all easy to implement (including with OOTB capabilities) in Office 365. Want to get back to a recent space you were working? Regardless of what technology that space was using? Our Intranet is the answer. Want to navigate across hundreds of sites/spaces? The modern, filterable and easily navigable site directory experience in the Intranet is still the best place to go – especially if it’s blended and integrated with that global navigation, we all know and love.
  1. Personalization: Most modern tools we use are becoming more and more personalized. They learn or listen to our preferences and try their best to provide personalized recommendations or insights. The challenge is that these tools are not incorporating key insight from your organization, they way you conduct your business, the way roles and staff work, and the way people should work to achieve the kinds of outcomes you are looking for. Modern personalization is powered by intelligent services, data, and input from your organization and one of the best places to surface that is within the Intranet itself. Whether that be via modern bots, and chat interfaces, recommendation engines, predictive search or navigation, or by predictive answers to questions based on comments/social submissions. All of these patterns and more are accessible to modern organizations and are often far easier to implement than most organizations realized once they fully understand what capability is available OOTB and how strong the Azure and ecosystem have become in supporting improved personalization.
  1. Integration: While tools can and should be integrated to improve experiences and “make things easier” for employees at the end of the day most integration with the digital workplace is about creating a hub, dashboard or one place to go for employees. This is still a hugely important aspect of a successful Intranet design, and Office 365 Intranets are better set up for this than, arguably, any other Intranet in the marketplace. This is because they are already integrated into intelligent ways with the core Microsoft Digital Workplace, and easily extensible and integrated with hundreds of other systems and services via services like Flow, Azure Logic Apps, SharePoint, and the vast third-party ecosystem that has already been established.

Want To Know More?

Connect with me for a 1:1, Download 100+ Pages Of Guidance and/or Come Join Me At The SharePoint Conference.

If you haven’t already taken a look at it – we have published over 100 pages of free expert guidance and advice on SharePoint and Office 365 Intranets in this whitepaper: Intranets With Office 365: What You Need To Know – The Definitive Guide To Intranets With Office 365

In only 2 and a half months the SharePoint Conference will be back in Las Vegas on May 21st through the 23rd (with more time if you want to join us for workshops). This event is one of two major Microsoft events in 2019 where the Microsoft product team will be announcing their roadmap updates for SharePoint and the Office 365 collaboration and content services changes that are ahead of us. This is an amazing conference with deep dive technical sessions, great networking, incredible perspectives and a significant amount of Microsoft leadership/announcements.

There will be over 150 speakers at the event and over 200 sessions. Whether your interest is in SharePoint, Office 365, Planner, Teams, Microsoft Flow, Power Apps, Yammer or more – this is a great event to block in your calendar and register to attend. You can save an additional 50$ with code HARBRIDGE. If you sign up for a workshop package, you can also bring some sweet gadgets home such as a Xbox One or a Cortana Smart Speaker! Register today at:!/register?utm_term=HARBRIDGE

Want To Know What I Will Be Presenting On & Talking About?

I will be presenting one session at the conference and I will be conducting one full day workshop.

Session Highlight: Intranets and Digital Hubs with Office 365: What you need to know

There is a growing trend of organizations moving to “the cloud” to meet their intranet needs. While many organizations are running their Intranets “on premise”, many are considering entirely cloud-based solutions or running them on platforms like Office 365.

The question for many companies is not ,“should our intranet be built with Office 365?” but, “how should we integrate or build our Intranets with Office 365?”. This is even more true today with the emergence of new modern Intranet capabilities and continued innovation from Microsoft that must be reconciled with enterprise Intranet/Digital Workplace needs.

In this session, I will explore what is listed below (and more):

  • How to address sprawl issues via improved, dynamic, and personalized navigation build based on OOTB capabilities and best practice design patterns.
  • How to improve governance and lifecycle with controlled provisioning, default metadata and good Information Architecture practices.
  • How analytics are changing, and search is improving and how to best ready your organization and integrate your Intranet with the considerable innovation and new capabilities in this space.
  • How to handle news, events, and page authoring and how and why to embrace modern SharePoint to support these needs.
  • Why mobile needs to take advantage of the first party apps, and how that can be done best.
  • How Yammer, Teams and modern social enterprise can and should be integrated with your Intranet.
  • How to take advantage of Microsoft Stream, Forms, PowerApps, Flow and more to improve your Intranet.

Workshop Highlight: Strategy & Success With Office 365: Practical Tools & Techniques For The Strategist, Information Architect & Analyst

I am extremely excited to share that I will be running a FULL DAY workshop based on the half day ones I have run in the past on this subject. In this full day workshop we will have more time to cover EVEN MORE content and practices.

People are complex. Office 365 is complex. Add the two together and you get some of the most challenging, difficult, and stressful situations, especially if you are responsible for facilitating shared understanding between them.

Join me to learn about actionable techniques to improve, simplify and amplify your leadership, business analysis and information architecture efforts with Office 365. Walk away with improved confidence when dealing with business and non-technical related challenges of Office 365, and be familiarized with effective tools and techniques that make Office 365 implementations more successful.

Our topics, where we will dig into best practices will include:

  • Aligning with The Microsoft Roadmap
  • Planning & Implementing for Scale
  • Aligning with Industry Trends
  • Pro-Active Planning
  • Visualizing & Communicating Better
  • & Much More!

Hope this helps,

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