O365 Architecting SharePoint – Connecting The Dots: Part III

If you haven’t, please review Part II prior to reading the rest of this article.

From an Enterprise Intranet Perspective, your business and more specifically, the Executive Leadership/Management, has an agenda around what will be surfaced on the Home Page of the “Enterprise Level” Intranet environment.

I need to clear here that the scope of this article is the Enterprise Level Intranet Home Page. [This article does NOT relate to other sites found in O365 such as: collaboration, groups, communities, project, team, profile/my site, etc.]

The content most likely to appear and that you would expect on an intranet home page should resemble the likes of the front page of USA Today … minus all of the advertising.

As we reference your favorite News Site, take note of the various sections with each having a distinct purpose to Inform, Educate and Engage the target audience(s).

  • Top Stories
    • [purpose] broaden audience awareness of, to inform about, to educate, to engage the audience in whatever the next steps might be;
    • [appeal] include image and quick summary
    • [feature] audience can click on the story for more details
  • Our Picks
    • [purpose] promote a specific topic, feature, person, area, etc.
    • [appeal] include image and quick summary
    • [feature] audience can click on the story for more details
  • Videos
    • [purpose] promote a specific topic, feature, person, area, etc.
    • [appeal] include image and quick summary
    • [feature] audience can click on the video for more details
  • Money, Sports, Tech, Travel, Reviewed, Experience, Voices, etc.
    • similar purpose, appeal and feature characteristics; keep concise for topic

Writing For The Web

Writing well-formed stories for consumption by your Intranet audience is different than writing a document or an email. You have to begin to structure your content more inline with those in the Marketing and Communications specialties. More inline with the likes of a newspaper. Why?

  1. There is limited space on the intranet Home Page
  2. Not everyone is interested in the same thing
  3. New employees will seek differently than seasoned employees
  4. You want to feature the most important relevant content highest
  5. You want your employees to be informed, educated and engaged
  6. You want your employees to review what’s on the intranet and then “Get Back to Work”

Within each section/topic, you may provide a series of images each with their own summary that your audience can click on for greater detail. Some content owners will need to Write News Stories and get better versed in Writing For The Web. It’s not difficult but it requires more discipline in the finer techniques of writing.

What Not To Wear On Your Intranet

From the Executive Leadership/Management perspective, how should your intranet be dressed. What intranet apparel and appeal represents your business well. What exemplifies the Mission, Vision and Values of the business best. What will support the overall expectations and culture of the business journey.

Have you ever thought of the intranet home page being a reflection of the priorities, the character, the thoughts, the behaviors, the trust, the integrity and ultimately the identity of Executive Leadership/Management.

The intranet is an inward expression to the employees of the inherent culture of any business… similar to an expressed identity. Like the favorite speech from Animal House, words and expressions mean everything to affirming and strengthening the Identity of a group, business, family, etc.

Signs You Have Strayed From The Intranet Strategy

A few examples around the intended or in-intended messages that may be conveyed by surfacing specific content on the Enterprise Intranet Home Page:

  • #1 [Home Page Content] Todays Weather is front and center on the intranet
    [Intent] The weather should be my top priority as well; there may be a fire or tornado drill soon so dress accordingly.
  • #2 [Home Page Content] My outlook email is front and center on the intranet
    [Intent] Looking at my email should be my top priority.
  • #3 [Home Page Content] My outlook tasks is front and center on the intranet
    [Intent] Looking at my tasks should be my top priority.
  • #4 [Home Page Content] A carousel of stories is front and center on the intranet
    [Intent] Watching the carousel of stories until they no longer repeat should be my top priority.

The intent of each section on the Intranet Home Page must have a unique purpose, must fulfill specific objectives and must be clearly communicated throughout the entire organization and be relevant to new and seasoned employees alike.

The above examples are usually the first requirements expressed by the major stakeholders of an intranet until they realize that they really don’t match well with the overall Intranet objectives and that there are other places within Office 365 where these requirements are already being met.

I have actually experienced the above scenarios with clients and have included references to 14 signs you’ve lost the intranet plot to demonstrate common abuses of the Enterprise Intranet Home Page for other consulting perspectives. Protect against the Intranet Killers and for the best results, align with the Intranet Strategy.


So you want a great intranet, here are some resources (wireframes, screenshots, examples) for your review.


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