SharePoint is the most widely used intranet portal in the world. Companies that use SharePoint do so because of its versatility and usefulness as a platform. For most companies, SharePoint works out of the box; for others, there is always the option to customise it using custom SharePoint development. As a team member, if you want to deploy SharePoint in your company, it is critical to do the basic groundwork before starting the process. The first step is arriving at the correct SharePoint questions and finding the right answers to make the Sharepoint intranet project planning process as seamless and productive as possible.
Here, we have compiled a list of SharePoint questions you can discuss with your internal team to get better insights into your actual needs as an organisation and how well SharePoint can meet them.
What is it that we want to achieve using SharePoint?
As a project, your team needs to list the goals they would like to achieve through SharePoint. For someone in operations, this could mean simplifying workflows, whereas for someone in Quality, this could mean getting through the upcoming quality audits. Identifying the goals also helps get a clearer picture of the SharePoint portal for end users in different departments.
The goal could also be a business problem you want to solve. Your company has multiple sources of information, and it is getting increasingly tough to keep track of them. Here, you can leverage SharePoint’s document management capabilities to help employees easily access the correct information from the right source. Ensure that departments or divisions structure the process and compile a final list for all stakeholders.
Who all are in the team?
While constituting teams for the SharePoint intranet project planning, having a clear distinction between their roles is ideal. Right at the outset, the requirement will be of a team that can manage the project; therefore, it can be called the Project management Team. Constitute a Portal Management team responsible for the long-term maintenance of the SharePoint portal once it is rolled out.
For project management, companies with sufficient internal SharePoint development capabilities can create a team of development and management experts to lead the project. For companies where SharePoint development is not a core expertise, an external SharePoint Consultant will be required to carry out the project. In this scenario, your company will need a team of experts to interface with the external consultancy and work with them to get the portal ready within the set timeframe.
During the development phase and after the deployment, the role of the portal management team becomes more evident. Give conditional access to confidential content in intranet portals based on internal needs. Therefore, a group created from the IT, Internal Communications and other relevant departments can look into the portal’s management and upkeep in the long term.
What are the pain points of users?
‘Pain point’ in business parlance means the various issues end users might face with a particular product. In this context, it would mean the multiple issues employees across different work functions might face while carrying out their daily duties.
Depending on the size of your organisation, you can undertake an internal survey with pointed sharepoint questions to identify the existing pain points. Send formal questionnaires or organise group discussions with relevant stakeholders to gain an in-depth understanding of pain points. The pain points, when tabulated, will become the primary reference point for creating the list of features and functionalities that should be part of the intranet portal.
In companies where an existing intranet is deployed, the start point of the SharePoint intranet project planning process should be the issues that current users face with the system. Even for companies looking to create an intranet portal for the first time, this approach works because a SharePoint intranet portal can solve bottlenecks related to document management, quality control, communication etc.
What content will it need to support?
This is one of the most essential sharepoint questions that you will need to find an answer to. Content management capabilities are one of the biggest reasons companies choose SharePoint for their intranet portal. At any given point, companies have content in various shapes and sizes from each department. The SharePoint portal is this central repository, and its effectiveness helps team members efficiently work while accessing the correct information.
Create a list of the content types to be placed in the intranet portal before starting the project. An internal audit will better understand the content situation, and the team can formulate a content strategy to plan things more efficiently for the project.
Collaborate with existing service providers and internal experts to seamlessly migrate content from an existing system. Identify the current location of content and create document libraries in the SharePoint portal for efficient management. As the number of content pieces increases, managing it becomes more complex. The team can therefore look at segregating content based on its use, origins, file types, validity, size etc. and configure SharePoint accordingly.
There will always be an outflow of content to facilitate work in larger companies where it is standard practice to work with external vendors. In these specific cases, it is ideal to create a collection of sites that are separate from site collections that are only used for internal purposes. A particular group of sites will act as a safeguard against sharing critical data to any third party by accident.
Is our Active Directory in good shape?
Generally, organisations purchase bulk licences of Microsoft products for their employees. These Licenses are tied to the employee’s identity, making access to different products seamless. The details of their roles, divisions, locations etc., are stored in an Active Directory for easy reference.
Review and clean up data in the Active Directory for better personalisation before rolling out the intranet to all employees. Depending on your organisation’s size, this could be a one-day task or something that could take months to achieve across the network. Initiate the SharePoint intranet project planning process early to ensure employee readiness when the intranet portal is launched.
Do we need SharePoint out of the box or customised?
With its advanced capabilities and features, SharePoint works out of the box for many organisations. For organisations with more complicated hierarchies or workflow structures, the need to customise the SharePoint portal will arise. Once the set of pain points is identified as part of the SharePoint questions, it becomes clear that the portal will need several features and functionalities to deliver the best results.
Once this is assessed, teams will fully understand the level of customisation needed in the portal. Custom SharePoint development is a specialised area of expertise that Neologix has, and we have carried out multiple such projects for a diverse set of clients in different parts of the world. Our experience in this area tells us that custom SharePoint development works best in companies where the intranet portal addresses the needs of employees from different departments and is also a central resource for disseminating information and storing relevant content.
An in-depth understanding of the pain points will shed light on this, as it will become clear that your SharePoint portal might need custom development. Companies will be running different software platforms for different internal needs, which must be integrated with SharePoint to make it more efficient. Depending on the complexity, you can always approach a SharePoint custom development expert to carry out the customisations promptly.
Who will have access to the portal?
Defining access should be on the list of SharePoint questions. Intranet portals are home to all kinds of information and data. Companies with a data security framework will manage the portal’s security at the site level. Assign role-based permissions to users for access to relevant information based on their function.
Group portal users according to departments and hierarchy levels to provide appropriate access. Creating access groups also means creating groupings that can be excluded from accessing certain information on the portal. Implement special permissions for external vendors while maintaining data confidentiality by segregating users into groups.
How do we drive usage internally?
A feature-rich intranet is always the result of diverse stakeholders coming together and working towards delivering a portal that meets everyone’s needs. By involving people from across departments in the SharePoint intranet project planning process, different employees will feel more connected to the project. Review department-specific features and functionalities with respective teams for updates and course corrections.
This would seem like an exhaustive process, but in the long run, it creates legitimacy for the portal, and it eventually becomes something that the ideas given by everyone have created. This approach will ensure that people from across the organisation find it helpful after deployment. Additionally, conduct an internal communication campaign to generate excitement for the portal launch and promote quicker adoption among team members.
SharePoint intranet project planning is a critical step organisations should take before getting into the actual development and deployment of the portal. A planned approach minimises the risk of pitfalls and also makes it futureproof. Increased collaboration for creating the portal will be a prelude to the better productivity and efficiency it will deliver after its actual deployment.
We hope you will use these questions to kickstart your SharePoint portal project and find the correct answers to help you get the most out of it. If you have any further queries about a share point portal, please contact us at email@example.com or +971-521043226. Our team has decades of experience developing and deploying world-class SharePoint portals, and we would be happy to help.