Insync Tech Talk , Tech Expert , | 2019/06/03 at 2:30pm

SharePoint home sites – the heart of an intelligent intranet

The SharePoint Conference held in Las Vegas earlier this year announced several new innovations to its namesake’s product offering with the prime focus being on the recently released SharePoint home sites. 

Developed to further engage employees, enable team collaboration and enhance productivity, Microsoft regards home sites as a significant step in bringing an intelligent intranet to organisations.

For those unfamiliar with the offering, SharePoint home sites are ‘landing pages’ for organisations. They provide employees with news, conversation, video and other content that reflect the organisation’s priorities and brand. 

A ‘communication site with superpowers’

SharePoint has been established for more than a decade and in that time has powered award-winning intranets for customers in Australia (such as the ATO via our friends at Engage Squared) and around the world. In the past three years, SharePoint has accelerated time-to-value with flexible solutions, engaging experiences and AI-powered search and content management.

Now, with SharePoint home sites Microsoft is increasing customer time-to-value even further.

Dubbed by Microsoft enthusiasts as ‘a communication site with superpowers’, SharePoint home sites will be accessible on any device and will have the capability to:

  • Share news and content with employees depending on their role
  • Encourage productivity with personalised information, navigation and content
  • Engage staff with conversation and video via Yammer and Microsoft Stream
  • Connect the workplace with megamenu navigation and Microsoft Search

A SharePoint home site will effectively become an organisation’s aggregated news source. News published to this ‘landing page’ is marked as ‘official’ and can be seen by everyone with access to the home site. It will connect to the SharePoint start page (previously known as ‘SharePoint home’), which enables users to save any news and content they’ve flagged for later review.

Unlike traditional intranet portals which typically used to have a long build time, SharePoint home sites can be deployed within minutes. With no code required, the home site can be customised and designed to reflect company brand and priorities.

Other innovations announced at the SharePoint Conference included:

  • Q and As for Yammer

Yammer is a popular tool for connecting employees and enabling them to voice their ideas and offer feedback. With Yammer’s new question and answer feature, an employee can ask a question and a group admin can highlight the best answer. This will make it easier for all staff to find answers to questions they may have about different aspects of an organisation. Bot-like intelligent replies to frequently asked questions can also be enabled with this new feature.

Microsoft also confirmed that e-discovery for Yammer will now be available to all companies using Yammer groups via Office 365. Australian businesses with European branches will also benefit from the availability of in-geo data storage for Yammer in the European Union to meet EU data requirements.

  • Enhancements for Microsoft Stream

Microsoft announced that video can now be securely recorded, uploaded and shared from the Microsoft Stream mobile app for android and iOS. Conference delegates were also shown how polls, quizzes and surveys can be inserted into videos using Microsoft Forms.

  • Easier collaboration for shared libraries on OneDrive

A new feature of the OneDrive web application will enable users to sync files to their PC or Mac, preview more than 320 file types, and comment on non-Office files. It will also be easier for staff to collaborate on files with both internal and external users, within the sharing policies allowed by an organisation.

If you want to hear how your organisation can benefit from SharePoint home sites please get in touch.