Ultimate Guide on How to Use SharePoint (and Intranet)


Times when users just hated visiting the company Intranet because it’s a „boring“ SharePoint are long gone. With Microsoft’s new concept of Modern Intranet, things can get really beautiful, nice and easy to use and in a much quicker way. SharePoint is an answer, but not the answer with all the new kids on the block. In this article we’ll outline what are top 5 of the building blocks of a modern SharePoint Online Intranet and how to start using them with just a few easy steps.

Generic Use of SharePoint (and Intranet)

SharePoint’s most popular role has been as a platform to manage documents. Since it has moved online in Microsoft 365, it has evolved a lot. It’s now a platform for true collaboration, sites, portals, Intranet and automation.

Creating sites (Team site or Communication site) is meant to be a simple task in SharePoint. Those sites can be very generic, such as a site for a particular project, department or community. Users can post to the site and manage content in a delegated fashion, without the need for a webmaster. Everyone with the proper rights can contribute and collaborate.

Create a SharePoint Team site to provide a location where you and your team can work on projects and share information from anywhere on any device. A team site includes a group of related web pages, a default document library for files, lists for data management, and web parts that you can customize to meet your needs. Use a team site when you want to collaborate with other members of your team or with others on a specific project. With a team site, typically all or most members can contribute content to the site and the information is limited to only the members of the team or project and specific stakeholders. If your intention is to simply broadcast information out to a broad audience, a communication site is the better choice. With a communication site, typically only a small set of members contribute content that is consumed by a much larger audience.

Use SharePoint Communication site to share news, reports, status, and other information in a visually compelling format to broad audience. Communication sites are responsive and can be viewed from anywhere on any device. With a communication site, typically only a small set of members contribute content that is consumed by a much larger audience.

 

Create Site SharePoint

Use SharePoint with OneDrive

OneDrive is a Microsoft cloud storage service (technically part of SharePoint Online) that lets you securely store your personal files in one place, share them with others, and get to them from any device connected to the Internet. Think of it as your personal repository – a cloud version of My Documents. Files are always in sync and available to access even when you’re offline. With OneDrive, your files are always with you and ready to share. In terms of longevity, OneDrive ​is great for work in progress.​​​ Here are some examples of when using OneDrive might be the best choice across Microsoft 365:

  • You want to share individual files with just a few people, or not share them in general.

Documents you place in OneDrive for are private until you share them. You can share files individually and work on Office documents with others at the same time. This makes OneDrive a great option for draft documents that no one else needs to see. For example, you might be creating a blog post and you’d like a few colleagues to review it before you post it. In this case, you expect people to use the document once without needing additional storage or context information. All they need is a link to the document with editing permissions. In addition, with the modern comments in Microsoft 365 Apps, you just mention someone with the @-tag and they receive an e-mail with a link to your comment.

  • Post a file from OneDrive to a Teams channel for review.
  • You can’t identify an existing team site where your document belongs, and you don’t think the purpose of the document warrants creating a new one.
  • You want to synchronize your files in the cloud with your local device. Let’s go through the steps so you can see how simple the process is.

 

Go to a document library and click on Sync

 

OneDriveSync_1

 

Follow the instructions and in a couple of seconds or minutes the files will be visible in your windows explorer:

 

OneDriveSync_3

 

Use SharePoint with Teams

Microsoft teams is a hub for teamwork. It’s an app that helps you pull together a team and work together using that instead of email and channels instead of just folders. It’s a workspace for you and your team where you can securely edit files at the same time and see likes, mentions, and replies with just a single tap. You can customize Teams by adding notes, websites, and apps to any channel. Since Teams is a cloud service, you can use it anywhere, on any device. It’s built with the idea that having fun at work doesn’t just make you and your team more productive, it makes you all more creative.

When you’re collaborating in real time, it is a great time-saver to easily access files that are important to your project.  Files shared on Microsoft Teams are available right where you are having conversations and meetings, and your team can own them together. Documents shared in Microsoft Teams are stored in SharePoint, so you get the best of both worlds, easy access from Teams but metadata, integrations with PowerApps and Power Automate through SharePoint.

You can communicate through threaded and persistent chat and keep everyone in the know. In Microsoft Teams, you can also privately chat with any contact, even when they’re offline – that’s especially convenient when your contact is in a different time zone. With persistent conversation history, you can start and continue exchanges at any time. Use private chat to coauthor a document in real time and to continue collaborating after a call. You can even pin important chats for easy retrieval.

Teams can be public or private.  Public teams are open to anyone in your organization. Membership in private teams is controlled by the team owner(s).

 

MS Teams_1

 

Use SharePoint with Lists

Microsoft Lists is your smart information tracking app in Microsoft 365 that helps you track information and organize work.  You can get started from Microsoft 365, from Microsoft Teams or from within SharePoint.

 

MS Lists

 

In Microsoft 365, select the App launcher, all apps, and then Lists.

 

MSLists_2

 

Select a new list. You can create a list from scratch, bring in table data from Excel, or reuse the formatting from another list. Or use one of the prebuilt templates (Issue tracker, Employee onboarding, Event itinerary, Asset manager, Recruitment tracker, Travel requests, Work progress tracker, Content scheduler, Gift ideas or Expense tracker).

 

MS Lists, create New List

 

Let select Issue tracker template list, review the look and details of the template and click Use template.

 

Issue Tracker

 

Enter the name of the list, description, choose a color, choose an icon and select where to save it.

 

 

And that’s all, you are ready to use the list and track your issues.

 

Issue Tracker

 

Use SharePoint with the Power Platform

 

Microsoft Power Platform provides organizations the opportunity to empower team members to build their own solutions through an intuitive low-code or no-code set of services. Citizen developers can now join code-first developers as a team to build mobile and web-first apps by utilizing Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI, Power Virtual agent and AI Builder. Combined with hundreds of available connectors out of the box in the Microsoft Dataverse it is easier than ever to create impactful solutions from one person or the entire organization. Plus, with seamless integration between Power Platform applications built by your team and familiar Microsoft products such as Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Azure or SharePoint Online, organizations can break down traditional data silos to move together towards success in this new world of work. Microsoft Power Platform is everyone’s home for low-code development.

It is very easy to start using Power Platform with SharePoint Online. Go to a list or document library and select Integrate:

 

SharePoint Intregration

 

And that’s it, now you can start building your own Power Apps, Power Automate or Power BI dashboard/report.

Take advantage of the all-new Viva platform

Microsoft Viva empowers people and teams to be their best by bringing communications, insights, learning, and knowledge into an integrated employee experience right inside Microsoft Teams.

Viva Connections is your gateway to this experience, allowing you to stay engaged and informed no matter where you work. Connections is customized for your organization and personalized for you with the feed of relevant news, announcements, and conversations, so you are always in the know and a dashboard connecting you to company resources and tools from Viva and across your digital workplace. You can tailor Viva Connections for every role, from frontline workers to executives, to keep everyone connected and engaged.

Viva Insights helps you work smarter and thrive with personalized reminders. To prioritize time for focused work, coaching, and learning, take regular breaks and mindfully wrap up your workday with a virtual commute. For managers and leaders, Viva provides insights and recommendations to foster healthy successful teams and build personal and organizational resilience. For example, Viva can help a manager see if a team is at risk of burnout, then take action to help them develop healthy work habits and feel balanced. Viva insights helps you understand the impact of work patterns on people in the business, then drive and measure change while protecting personal privacy every step of the way. With viva you can foster success and well-being for you, your team and your organization.

Viva Learning brings all your learning resources together in one place. You will find content that’s been assigned to you and recommended from a variety of sources including your own custom content, learning management systems, and top content providers, including LinkedIn Learning and Microsoft Learn. With Viva learning becomes a natural part of your day and lets everyone learn in the flow of work. It’s easy to find, share, and discuss learning and organize resources to foster a learning culture. Managers can assign learning and track competition to accelerate onboarding. Viva Learning enables employees to develop their skills and grow in their careers and as a person.

Viva Topics magically connects you to knowledge and experts. When you come across an unfamiliar topic or acronym, just hover. No need to search for knowledge, with Viva Topics knowledge finds you. Just click to find people, resources and conversations related to the topic. Have a question, just ask. Viva Topics has the answer or calls in topic experts and it uses AI to build topic pages automatically and make sure sensitive content remains protected. With Viva Topics you can harness the knowledge of your organization and connect people to that knowledge in the apps they use every day.

 

Microsoft Viva brings communications, insights, learning, and knowledge together into an integrated employee experience, so everyone can be their best and the whole organization can thrive.

To access Microsoft Viva, go to Microsoft Teams and click on the 3 dots in the left navigation panel.

 

Teams-Viva

 

If you don’t see Viva Connections, Topics, Learning or Insights click on More apps and type Viva in the search bar:

Conclusion

Microsoft has really put a lot of efforts in crafting the Modern Intranet. We’ve shown you just a glance – the top 5 most used tools that can make a great SharePoint Online Intranet. With a myriad of other tools and integrations possible, IT teams can easily get overwhelmed. We at Impactory are here to help and guide you on your Modern Intranet journey. Reach out to us to discuss your ideas!

Additional Resources

  1. Want to know if SharePoint is for you? Read our expert review on it.
  2. Migrating to SharePoint Online? You can find helpful tips in our detailed blog post.
  3. How to make SharePoint Intranet GDPR compliant? Read our guide


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