Every company using either the Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium or E3 to E5 plans have SharePoint Online included. Office apps are often fundamental to the success and productivity of many companies. But so many of them that would never consider sending an email without Outlook or creating a spreadsheet without Excel ignore the business-critical services that are gained by using SharePoint.
A company with Office 365 sometimes just doesn't think to use their SharePoint Online—and this powerful feature goes untouched. However, they're missing out on a key productivity feature: the ability to create a secure corporate intranet website.
Building a basic intranet with SharePoint is easy
No matter the size of your company, an intranet site is essential for private document management and collaboration inside the organization. With SharePoint Online, your organization can also use it to share files and content with external vendors, partners, and customers. Beyond document management and sharing, you can use SharePoint Online to build websites for specific departments inside your company. This is extremely useful for managing and maintaining various projects.
The problem many companies face with creating this type of intranet is the need to hire a full-time web developer to set up and maintain it. SharePoint Online solves this problem because setting up basic intranet sites can be done from the Office 365 Admin Panel. Just by assigning an existing Office 365 user in your company as a SharePoint owner, an intranet site can be created and managed without any knowledge of HTML. SharePoint also makes it easy to add your company's branding to the intranet with a wide range of custom colors. For companies with multiple teams, this helps intranet users know where they are on the site. For instance, the home page of a company intranet might have the company logo and a blue banner, the finance team can have their own intranet with a green banner, and a product team could have a black banner with the product icon. Customizing most sites and pages in SharePoint can be drag-and-drop simple.
SharePoint and Office 365 are a perfect combo
Using SharePoint to build a corporate intranet makes sense because it allows you to consolidate many business functions onto a single platform. Again, if your company has invested in Office 365, then SharePoint comes with it. Microsoft integrated SharePoint Online into Office 365 so you can capitalize on your existing SharePoint and Office 365 investment. For example, you can open and edit Word documents and Excel spreadsheets from SharePoint with online collaboration features such as co-authoring. SharePoint Online stores everything in the cloud, so collaboration can happen from anywhere and any device connected to the Internet. Not only can you be in your office on the laptop typing in the same document your co-worker is typing in using their iPhone on the plane to meet a client, SharePoint automatically tracks the changes made by all of the collaborators. SharePoint also makes it easy to set up workflows for these documents to be reviewed and approved before publishing. This can be a game changing collaboration feature for your team because it means you no longer must email docs back and forth with tracked changes.
Intranets, extranets, and security
What makes these collaboration features most compelling is the fact they are inherently secure. This is possible because Office 365 and SharePoint Online are based on the enterprise-grade Microsoft Cloud. Just like you use the cloud-based Office 365 Admin Panel to set up and assign email accounts for your employees, you can assign specific users in your company varying levels of access to SharePoint sites. You can also use SharePoint to set up extranet sites for vendors and clients outside of your organization. SharePoint reduces the risk of data leakage by allowing you total control over what these external users can see and do on the extranet. Although the administration of SharePoint intranet and extranet sites is unified with a single cloud-based panel, your intranet (and all of your company assets) are securely separated from what you share with external users.
Try a SharePoint intranet
Companies with Office 365 who have intranets based on SharePoint are more productive because of the way it helps employees collaborate securely while streamlining business processes.
See below on how to leverage Amaxra's experience with SharePoint for your intranet.
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