The global pandemic and the enforced shift to remote working has dramatically altered the nature of work and our relationship to the digital tools we need to get our job done.
Pre-pandemic, intranets excelled at giving employees access to the data, information, people, tech and tools needed to do their work.
And during the early stages of the lockdown, intranets were a vital place for employees to get the latest up-to-date information on policies and alerts.
Yet, it quickly became apparent that when companies had to dramatically up-scale their remote work environments to continue operating, intranets couldn’t provide all the necessary tools to work effectively.
As a result, we witnessed a mass and accelerated adoption of Microsoft Teams, which is fast becoming one of the most significant ecosystems in technology today.
It’s the platform where all Microsoft 365’s services can be accessed. For example, if you upload a file in Microsoft Teams’ team , it’s stored in SharePoint. Chats are stored in the users Outlook with shared files in the users OneDrive. And whenever you record a video, it’s via Stream with the file stored in OneDrive etc.
It’s no wonder Microsoft Teams has quickly become the place where work is done.
Employees can have one-to-one or one-to-many conversations there. And people can now congregate in project-based or departmental ‘teams’ and collaborate to get their jobs done in ways not possible before.
So, will Microsoft Teams replace the intranet?
The short answer is of course, no. Intranets still have a vital role to play.
Although good, Microsoft Teams can’t do everything alone. It can’t provide the visual stories, brand perspectives and leadership insights in the way that intranets can.
And currently, its search functionality isn’t a patch on SharePoint’s. Although Microsoft is busy working to improve this, the foundations of a good intranet are built on structured data, which is why search is so much better in this platform.
But a vital question is, can intranets survive without Microsoft Teams?
Those with an on-premises intranet will say yes. However, if your company is one of the hundreds of thousands now using Microsoft Teams as a daily digital workplace, then perhaps the answer will be more complex.
So, in an ideal world, it’s better to integrate the two platforms to bring out the best features of both.
Marrying up an intranet with Microsoft Teams will ultimately make the end user’s life, and from a comms perspective – reaching the end user, much easier.
As Jeff Teper recently said at Microsoft Ignite 2020:
“The future of work isn’t going to be solely remote or in the office, but a continuum of both. As more work becomes hybrid, customers need the simplicity of having all their tools working harmoniously.”
So, here we explore why intranets and Microsoft Teams should be used together.
- Easier to find information, content and people in one place.
By integrating a SharePoint-based intranet into Microsoft Teams users doesn’t have to search for information, the information comes to them. From within a single platform, they can see their data from Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive and from any application coming from Power Apps. Therefore, by combining the two platforms the end users can be more productive and efficient.
- Empowers employees to build their own small digital workplaces.
We all know that getting a project over the finishing line is hard to do. Everyone has their own personal ecosystems, notebooks, and to-dos. Yet, by combining both the power of the intranet within Microsoft Teams, users can build their own small communities, or project places, where they can communicate and collaborate. This helps to drive innovation, efficiency and engagement by bringing users, information and conversations into a single collaborative space.
- Brings corporate and personalised comms into the digital workplace.
Combining intranets and Microsoft Teams will enable users to aggregate their news with relevant content from not only the intranet, but from the teams they’re a member of or feeds they have access to. Information is therefore conveniently grouped in one place, presented in the digital workplace where they work in every day.
- Provides access to real-time content and comms.
Internal comms can promote any news or page to a tab within Microsoft Teams and users are instantly alerted whenever there’s an important company update in real-time. In addition, colleagues can now access and edit the same files in real time – making collaboration so much easier than before. And thanks to the mobile app, colleagues can have access to real-time information, anywhere and anytime.
As Microsoft continues to take a Teams-first, Teams-only approach to innovation, and has set out to build the co-innovation, collaboration and communication experience all within Teams, it makes sense for your intranet to be housed there too.
As workplaces adapt and hybrid working patterns become the new normal, who wouldn’t want their employees to have access to a digital workplace that marries communication and collaboration channels along with organizational information so users can do everything they need to do, in a single place?
Therefore, we believe the future of digital workplaces should integrate both intranets and Microsoft Teams, so colleagues can be more productive, more engaged and more connected.