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How to Create an Intranet Portal Using Office 365

Leverage Office 365 to improve collaboration and efficiency within your organization

Many businesses with Office 365 aren’t fully utilizing the platform and all of its features especially when developing an intranet portal. Instead, they’re only using the platform for email, file sharing and applications like Word and Excel. This is just the tip of the iceberg; there’s so much more to Office 365. Think of it like your mobile phone… you wouldn’t only use it to call or text because there’s so much more you can do with it.

While SharePoint comes with an “intranet”, it’s really only a home page template with a newsfeed and library, but there’s so much more that can be done with it. Instead of the out-of-the-box intranet, many businesses need more customization to really enhance communication, collaboration and productivity.

What Should Your Intranet Actually Look Like?

Ultimately, you want your intranet to reflect your organization and make your employee’s lives easier. The size of your company and its operations will determine whether you need a basic or advanced structure. The major difference between the two is that the advanced structure focuses on collaboration like storing documents, managing activities and sharing information. This is especially useful in departments such as sales or service.

When developing the intranet, user adoption needs to be top of mind. Companies sometimes make the mistake of creating a different user experience for each department’s portal. This causes employees to become frustrated with the system and hinders adoption as well as productivity. In order to combat this issue, the user experience must be consistent across the site to make it easier to use.

Don’t forget to reflect your branding in your intranet. A lot of this can be done using themes inside of SharePoint. However, if you want to take it to the next level, you’ll need to hire a SharePoint consultant to make a branded master page. Be careful about doing this yourself or hiring the wrong company as there could be problems when you upgrade SharePoint to the latest version.

Should You Build or Buy Your Intranet?

Did you know that the average intranet costs more than $40,000 and takes more than 15 months to implement? Modalis Research Technology found that 70-80% of businesses consistently use the same basic features in their “custom-designed” intranet. These features include:

  • Company-Wide Communication (policies, procedures and announcements)
  • Employee Collaboration (staff directory and forums)
  • Departmental Portal Support (sales, marketing, finance, etc.)
  • Human Resource Self-Service (time off requests and expense submissions)
  • Process Integration (links to critical business applications like CRM and email)

Since the majority of organizations all use the same features, there really is no point of wasting money or time on an Intranet built from scratch. Instead, you should start with a template and customize from there. Many development companies have these templates already made but don’t tell you so they can make more money.

Biz Technology Solutions offers pre-built Intranet portals with all of the features listed above and then some. We can install, configure, brand and customize your portal in less time and for less money. This is a perfect solution for small to mid-sized businesses who want a customized Intranet at an affordable price.

Fill out the form below for your free Intranet roadmap and consultation.

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