Why SharePoint for Intranet is a Solution for Undetected Problems

Why Now for SharePoint Intranet

Business leaders and staff continue to run into issues with managing a more distributed workforce than ever before while managing more uncertainties and volume of information ever before. SharePoint is a proven technology platform to help people to streamline access to information and create efficiencies in communication without incurring excess storage or email clutter by leveraging the core platform designed to help teams work and communicate more effectively.

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Common Challenges addressed by SharePoint Intranet

Tidal wave breaking for Sharepoint for Intranet artcile on the challenges faced by businesses

It’s a common problem that most businesses have, and the problem almost always evolves over time from something that is not particularly a big deal into something that hinders your business. 

The problem is the lack of an effective file storage and collaboration solution. The reason this problem evolves over time is that while the problem is insidious, it is not obvious. While it can become very impactful, it is hard to quantify.

It’s easy to point to an operations problem and say we need a better system or an information security problem and say we need a better anti-virus. Everyone understands these things, they’re tangible solutions to tangible problems, and they can be easily quantified in terms of labour hours lost to inefficiencies, opportunities lost to a lack of automation, or data loss to hackers. It’s currently much harder to quantify the pain that comes from not having an effective file storage and collaboration solution, and because of that, it is rarely solved and often not even recognized.

How to Know if your Organization is Suffering from this Problem?

See if any of these pain points sound familiar:

  • There is no central point for distributing corporate and team communication – People rely on email to keep employees informed about things that are important to them.
  • Your organization’s files are spiraling out of control – You have vast amounts of files, consisting of many duplicates, and you don’t know what to keep, what to archive and what to delete.
  • Your employees regularly copy files to their local machine – or their personal storage area, for easier access which circumvents IT and Document Controls
  • People are cluttering up their inboxes by sending attachments back and forth.
  • Cross-department folder clutter -You created departmental folders where people are supposed to store their files, but because your users often need to collaborate with people in other departments, hybrid inter-departmental file shares are springing up such as “Finance-Procurement”,  “Engineering-Marketing” or “IT-Compliance”, further adding to the mess.
  • Lack of confidence with document requests – If an auditor asked you for the latest version of a file, you’d start sweating because you know where it should be.
  • There is a lack of consistent procedural knowledge and compliance across your users – Many wouldn’t be able to tell you what the correct procurement procedures are, how to request new software for their team, or how to find the find document templates. But that’s OK because if they need to know, they’ll just ask someone..

You may have recognized a few of the issues above but may be wondering how much of a problem this really is. When users wanted better collaboration they started using Teams to work on documents, or they signed up for Miro, or they started using Google Docs, or DropBox. It’s no biggie. And sure, we have to deal with a constant stream of people not knowing quite what to do, a vague feeling of unease that we don’t have a handle on our document controls, and departments not being perfectly aligned, but that’s just normal, isn’t it? It’s not a problem.

What Major Issues Arise if Gaps Aren’t Addressed?

tidal wave approaching surfer for sharepoint intranet article on challenges that come

You are correct that it is normal, but you are wrong that it’s not a problem. The pain points above cause the following kinds of insidious downstream impacts, which gradually creep up on you over time and can be hard to identify, let alone diagnose:

  1. You are spending more on file storage than you should.
  2. Your employees are spending part of each day explaining how (and why) something should be done in this particular way, and dealing with the inefficiencies that result from people not doing it that way.
  3. Your records management/compliance / IT team knows that there’s this really big mess of files that needs to be dealt with one day, and they just hope it doesn’t fall on their plate to do it.
  4. Your employees feel anxious whenever they need to engage with another team’s processes, because they’re not sure how to do it, and so they put it off.
  5. There is a lack of consistency, alignment, and communication between teams
  6. Employees are not engaged

And honestly, this is barely scratching the surface of what the actual impact might be of not having an effective file storage and collaboration solution. And the worst thing about this is that it’s not even a particularly expensive problem to fix. A new ERP deployment will set you back millions of dollars. We’re talking here about a problem that can be solved in a fraction of the cost of a new ERP. And if your business has Microsoft Office 365 licensing, then you already have the solution available.

How SharePoint Intranet Provides a Path Forward

Surfer riding a wave as a path forward from strategic issues

SharePoint is the leading intranet platform on the market, and for good reason. Your intranet should streamline all shared information & knowledge across your organization, whilst creating an efficient operating model for your content owners & writers. It should organize files intelligently and dynamically so that everyone has access to what they need, and they know where to find it. It should be a digital focal point that represents your company values & branding. It should make it easy for people to share and collaborate when it is appropriate, and make it easy to lock down files when it isn’t. It should be easy to retain visibility on who has access to what and allow for easy integration with other lines of business applications, other communication channels like email and Teams, and other productivity tools like the Office suite. And it should be easy for your team to administer and evolve it over time, with simple user-friendly interfaces that don’t require a lot of technical knowledge. SharePoint does all this, and more. And it does this better than any other solution on the market.

Pre-SharePoint OnlineLife after SharePoint Online
Lack of a central point for communicationSharePoint Online can be configured as the hub for all corporate and team communication, designed to fit in with your organization’s branding, themes and culture, with a modern media-rich look and feel, dynamic content that adjusts to each user
Duplicate filesSharePoint allows you to have a single version of a file but show it in many different locations
Employees can’t locate the files they needSharePoint allows you to tailor content to the user, making relevant content more visible

It also includes a powerful search engine similar to a Google search
Lack of cross-department collaborationSo many options here, from file-level sharing permissions, to collaborating on documents using cross-functional Teams sites (this functionality uses SharePoint Online), to having a document be accessible from multiple locations but all link to a single file.

Whatever your specific needs, SharePoint Online will likely have the right solution
Spending too much on file storageSharePoint Online includes 1TB of free storage per organization, plus 10GB for every user license you have. So, if you have 100 users, you’ll have 2TB of free storage.

Additional storage can be purchased for about $200 / TB / month.

To put this into perspective, 1TB roughly equates to about 100 million PDF pages.

That said, SharePoint is a challenge to get right. It lacks a framework to help you make it fit your organization, so you can easily get off on the wrong foot. And many businesses are still living in the bad old SharePoint days when it was little more than a glorified dumping ground for files. That’s why you need a partner who can get you going in the right direction, and then enable your team to keep you moving and evolving as your business grows and needs change. 

Our Process to Enabling SharePoint Intranet Efficacy

Stairs under water symbolizing how SharePoint for Intranet can be a solution

Mindfield is in the business of making your SharePoint Intranet a driver for efficiency and collaboration within your organization. 

  1. All of our engagements begin with a content strategy workshop to determine how much information you have & the best way to prioritize it.
  2. We know this is the quickest way to start developing navigation & experiences that work best for your audience. Then we’ll develop each individual site iteratively, maintain close contact with stakeholders so we can adjust and evolve each site as needed. The whole time we’ll have regular check-ins and updates, at a frequency that works for your team
  3. The final phase is the rollout and adoption – how do we take our new intranet to the masses, and make it stick. We use proven change management frameworks and strategies to ensure that the new SharePoint delivers the business value that you need.
  4. The next key activity is branding & User Experience (UX) design. It’s tempting to focus on design before identifying content – but a good experience is one that promotes the correct content in the correct order.
  5. The final phase is the rollout – how do we take our new intranet to the masses. We will focus on proven adoption strategies – and how different groups may require a different approach.

SharePoint for intranet

Mindfield Consulting helps organizations refine their Microsoft 365 and Office 365  investments to deliver ease of use, improved security, and effective use of resources for organizations dealing with complexity, evolving needs, and a formidable amount of content, data, and communication modalities. We help organizations identify the right products and provide extended support. We help organizations find the right mix of packaged and custom software from planning service delivery, to remote locations, to global trading systems for precious materials and resources. Mindfield Consulting has over two decades of experience delivering technology that meets every mission. Our client’s win when they are empowered with the right technology and the right people for over 22 years across Canada and US. Mindfield specializes in IT Audit, Office365 ServicesSharePoint Intranet Consulting, and SharePoint Migration Service.

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