In today’s fast paced and ever evolving world many organisations value the ability to communicate and collaborate effectively with their staff, whether to drive productivity, improve efficiency or as a way of keeping valued members aware of company strategy and direction.

Despite SharePoint being used widely by many companies as the solution of choice for communications and collaboration many organisations are still struggling to get the best out of the features it offers and find it challenging to increase adoption.

In this blog post we will look at five simple ways of improving usage of your SharePoint intranet by leveraging some of the functionality SharePoint 2013 has to offer.

1. Aggregating intranet content from different sources

In order to truly create a centre of excellence, organisations should consider aggregating content from many different sources available through social tools. Surfacing data on your intranet from sources like LinkedIn, Twitter and Yammer means that organisations do not have to produce all their content themselves but can look to draw in external expertise as well as from thought leaders in their field. This will not only lower costs of content production internally but can also draw in interesting perspectives and add to a culture of innovation internally.

2. Utilising ‘Follow’ & ‘Share’

SharePoint 2013 really does have some great features that are often overlooked, for example the ‘follow’ and ‘share’ features are simple ways of colleagues tracking which documents they are interested in and sharing that information with others. With the ‘follow’ feature users are notified when a change is made to anything they are following whether conversations or documents.

The ‘share’ feature allows individuals to share relevant sites and documents with colleagues they feel will benefit from the content. Both these functionalities are ways for people in the organisation to take control of getting up to date information and distributing what they have learnt to others.

3. Encourage users to use their ‘My Site’

The SharePoint ‘My Site’ can be compared to a user’s Facebook page for the workplace. ‘My Sites’ serves as a user’s personal page for sharing information about their skills, expertise and interests with others in the company. It also gives a user a central location to manage and store contacts, documents and anything they want to refer back to easily. Users can also personalise their ‘My Sites’ for an element of uniqueness.

4. Deliver Messages through Videos

Using rich media content, in particular video, instead of just written content helps employees to digest more content. Research has shown that people respond more to visual content rather than something they have to read. Messages delivered through videos can be short and impactful which is an effective way of sending out information to the business. You can even go one step further to allow users to comment on videos that are added to the intranet so you can gain feedback on what they actually think about the topic.

5. How about mobile compatibility

‘Mobile readiness’ has become somewhat of a mantra for internal communications and IT specialists, but what does it actually mean?

Mobile readiness at its best means that your site is fully responsive and shows up quickly in an attractive manner no matter what browser or device is being used. Simply put, your site design ‘responds’ whether someone is using Chrome, Firefox or the latest iPhone 6.

In Forrester’s article ‘Seven trends to shape the future of enterprise applications and ERP’ Forrester supports that ‘the potential of mobile applications to transform business processes hinges not only on the speed and convenience of mobility itself, but also on the unique capabilities of the devices to sense, respond to, deliver and capture information in real time.’

In this mobile age it’s fair to say the biggest improvement any organisation can make to improve usage of an intranet is to make it mobile compatible.

Your company may want to consider rolling these features out slowly or even start with a pilot to a small group of people to test their response. The key is to get ‘buy in’ from the users themselves which should gradually improve adoption. Remember you can always decide to add more functionality onto the intranet when usage increases.

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