Using SharePoint as a modern intranet for your housing association

SharePoint is all about communication and collaboration and is an ideal out-of-the-box tool for those who need a modern intranet platform. SharePoint is used to create websites and gives your organisation a secure place to store, organise, share, and access information from any device. Being part of the Microsoft package also means integration with other applications is seamless, creating a more streamlined and efficient experience for everyday use.

With a need to unite disparate workforces, and wellbeing as a priority for many housing associations, having a centralised intranet platform can be a great solution to support and improve communication, collaboration and create positive change within many organisations.

What is an intranet and why should your housing association have one?

An intranet is a private network, accessible on various devices, that’s used to support an organisation with collaboration and communication between employees. Essentially, it’s a centralised area where employees can access relevant company information, data and files.

The benefits of your housing association having one can be increased productivity and employee engagement, keeping important documents stored and shared securely between necessary teams. SharePoint allows integration with other Microsoft applications meaning it gives you more flexibility and creativity when it comes to designing your intranet.

So, what tips do we have when it comes to implementing a robust intranet solution?

Drive collaboration and employee engagement

If your employees aren’t familiar with the concept of intranets or your current intranet has become outdated and unused, it could be a good idea to have them involved with the naming process for your new intranet platform. This can give them a good idea of what to expect when the intranet goes live, provide an opportunity to give you feedback on what their expectations are, and encourage ownership of the platform from early on.

Our customers, Transform Housing and LHP brought their teams together to do this with their intranets.

Transform named its intranet ‘Milo’, which stands for Masses of information logically organised.

LHP named its intranet ‘Basecamp’ promoting the idea that it was a centralised hub for information and the go-to area for all employees.

Define regular content and navigation

The content employees first see when they land on the homepage needs to reflect what they’re likely to want access to. This also needs to be as easy to navigate as possible, as well as being optimised for mobile use for those who require access to the internet when out in the field.

Take Transform’s landing page as an example. In the planning and research stages of the project, Transform ensured it understood what its employees needed most from the platform. When you begin developing an intranet, it’s important to include these scoping stages within your planning so that the end product reflects the needs of the end-users. For Transform, this resulted in the inclusion of key links, Transform updates, news and announcements, a ‘How do I?’ section, department sites and the IT status of internal systems.

When it comes to navigation, it’s a good idea to give each department their own space of the intranet to house content and assets relevant to their area of business. In the image below, you can see how Transform utilised its navigation space to include all departments and give them their own pages to use within the intranet.

Utilise integrations with the Microsoft suite and other applications

This is how you can help the intranet to become a more collaborative experience for everyone using it. SharePoint is part of the Microsoft ecosystem and as such, it integrates seamlessly with other applications in the suite.

A good example of integration with other applications is LHP’s “Round of Applause” app. Built with Power Apps, employees can accumulate points given by colleagues, see how many points away they are from their next goal and view colleague feedback.

Easily accessible from its intranet platform, LHP’s Round of Applause app demonstrates how you can use Microsoft’s other applications to create a seamless and centralised experience to support employee engagement, wellbeing and communication.

SharePoint is a low-code, low maintenance option

SharePoint lends itself well as an intranet platform because it’s a low-code option for with extensive out-of-the-box functionality. Thanks to this, SharePoint is quick to develop, with little to no bespoke development work required to achieve a comprehensive intranet solution.

Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean you can’t create a customised intranet that wraps perfectly around the needs and requirements of your organisation. SharePoint’s flexibility and scalability make it an extremely powerful platform that is capable of delivering an intranet portal that can evolve with you.

Join us at Housing Technology 2021

We’ll be discussing this and more at the Housing Technology Conference 2021, in the new virtual event space and at our presentation. Join us in the booth and at our presentation on day 1!

We’ll be taking you through a journey and teaching you about how your housing association can use Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven document management, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Power Apps solutions to drive productivity and transform collaboration.

You’ll also be able to visit our team on TSG’s digital stand to chat about all things Microsoft, including Office 365 and Dynamics 365. Be sure to catch us there if you’re attending!