It’s all about integration
An intranet is no longer just a landing page, it is your organisation’s one-stop digital workspace. It’s where your colleagues can collaborate, access key company knowledge, and locate their business tools. Those business tools will include an array of systems such as Office365, communication platforms (e.g. Yammer, Slack, Teams), Google apps and shared drives. So how can you organise these systems and make it easier for your colleagues to navigate them all?
Why does integration matter?
Your colleagues could be wasting valuable time searching for links, struggling with logins, and generally getting frustrated with the multiple systems they need in order to do their jobs and communicate with their peers. This isn’t just a loss to the business in terms of working hours – it kills the individual’s productivity and satisfaction. It could also pose a security issue, if your colleagues feel impelled to write down logins because the systems aren’t linked up. And let’s not forget one of the most talked-about workplace subjects over the past 18 months: remote working. If your colleagues used to rely on desktop computers and office settings, being suddenly located at home may have been a difficult adjustment, both mentally and logistically. The persistent remote and hybrid working models mean it’s more important than ever to provide your workforce with an efficient and linked-up digital environment. Your SMLWRLD intranet holds the answer.
What do we mean by intranet integration?
In a nutshell, businesses need to streamline their digital workspace, bringing all those systems and tools together into one “hub” for employees to operate from. You might think that integrating all your business tools and systems would be a large, costly project – but it doesn’t need to be. The key is for your systems not just to be located together, but to “play nicely” with each other. SMLWRLD bespoke intranet solutions are built on a Microsoft tech stack, which means they cooperate seamlessly with Microsoft applications, including Sharepoint. So users can launch applications such as Outlook, Teams, Yammer and Office programs directly within the intranet platform. And integrating with third-party applications (such as Slack, Facebook@work, Dropbox and any other business tools) is no problem either. Where logins aren’t being handled by an Active Directory, the intranet can perform a “handshake” to handle the individual’s login details, without the user needing to enter separate credentials.
All the tools and systems that your company uses on a regular basis are listed in one easy place. No need for individuals to bookmark all these tools on their personal browser. No need to spend time and effort finding out which tools are used for what, which is even more crucial in the world of remote working. A company’s entire digital ecosystem is in one place – the intranet.
Take a look at our integration demo video in the SMLWRLD Tour series
Dan Jones, MD of SMLWLRD, talks in more detail about how a smart integration can be more than the sum of its parts. Take two integrations in particular – MS Teams and SharePoint:
In the remote-working era, we all use Teams every day to stay in touch with colleagues. But have you ever tried to use Teams as a repository for documents, knowledge, etc? It is terrible – documents get lost in an unsearchable, unnavigable mess. The best approach is to use Teams for what it is good at (real-time communication and collaboration), and use the intranet for storing documents and articles.
The real benefit comes from a close integration of the two entities, so that staff can effortlessly and frictionlessly switch between the two environments. This is achieved as follows:
- In the intranet, every person pic displays their Teams availability status. Clicking on their profile or directory listing will show buttons to either launch a chat, voice call or video call directly in Teams.
- Specific Team chats can be embedded into intranet pages.
- Conversely, in Teams, intranet pages can be added as additional tabs to specific chats.
- A dedicated Intranet Teams Bot pushes out notifications and messages from the intranet into a dedicated “intranet” chat for each employee. This allows important messages and broadcasts to be communicated to employees, without the need for dedicated desktop or mobile apps, as they come through to devices as Teams notifications.
- All of this is facilitated by Active Directory Single Sign On (SSO), and associated permissions are automatically obeyed.
SharePoint is a great document management system. But it makes a very poor knowledge management system. Documents are uploaded into specific lists. Each list is on a specific page. Pages sit within sites. It is incredibly easy to get lost as you navigate around sites and pages, never quite finding the document you were looking for. The search function is not that good either. An intranet, on the other hand, makes navigating the company’s vast knowledge base simple and intuitive. And the search results are generally a lot better. But how do you combine the benefits of SharePoint’s document management tools with an intranet’s ability to find them? Integrate the two. Here’s how:
- Specific SharePoint lists can be embedded onto intranet pages. No more clicking around SharePoint trying to find that document – it can be found via the intranet, but still stored in SharePoint.
- SharePoint documents can be added to intranet search results, so no need to search both places separately.
- For users that are on SharePoint, the intranet can be added as an “App” to the Microsoft 365 apps menu for simple back-and-forth.
- All of this is facilitated by Active Directory SSO, and associated permissions are automatically obeyed.
Your intranet should be the simple, single entry point for all questions, tasks and enquiries – integrations link all of a company’s digital tools together, and make this possible.
In the next blog post we’ll look at the data behind integration, and how it affords new levels of insight into your user engagement..