Three ways to design your organizational Intranet using Microsoft SharePoint

By | January 5, 2017

For any business organization, an intranet is the foundation for establishing sound internal communication. It facilitates the flow of information, which is the life-blood for an organization. Right information at the right time to the right person is the only key for the sustained performance of the entire organization. An organization is usually divided among different authority and functional levels. It is important to clearly establish- who will report to whom, and who can have permission to access to what kind of information. Furthermore, today’s business enterprises are becoming more and more complex due to the challenges they face in meeting the customer requirements. All this requires you to build a sound intranet depending on the structural and functional complexity of your organization.

Microsoft SharePoint has been established as a great collaborative software solution to build the perfect Intranet for any organization. It provides with a number of templates, which can help you create a new on-premises SharePoint or SharePoint Online Site. As a comprehensive platform for creating intranets, Microsoft SharePoint includes numerous helpful features. Some of which are: search, Content management system (CMS), news, employee directory, team collaboration spaces, blogs, and wikis.

Here, we will discuss that in what way we can structure the intranet in a most effective manner. The structure or hierarchy of sites is crucial to determine the coherent flow of information between the entities within an organization. Three ways can be suggested to decide it as follows:

1.  Multiple sites collection: Each department having its own sites collection:

In this design, each department, such as finance, marketing, human resource etc., including home page, has its own site collection. Each site collection has unique navigation, branding, security groups, metadata. Such an arrangement helps the department to set up its own security features for each subsites in the same sites collection. However, this is perfect fit for very large organizations, where individual departments are extremely large and complex. Often, there is no frequent communications between these departments.

On the flip side, it is not suitable for mid-size organizations, where inter-departmental communication is frequent and also each site collection have to maintain common branding, metadata and security, maintaining separate sites is not cost effective. Also, to establish a global navigation is not an easy task.

2.  Single site collection: One Home page, and all departmental sites are subsites to it.

In this case, there is one home page for the entire organization, and the departments have their sites just one level below to it as subsites. This design has an advantage over the previous one by facilitating the global navigation throughout the intranet inherently. Moreover, other goals like common branding, consistency with taxonomy and SharePoint groups are easily achieved. A single SharePoint Administrator can manage the entire sites collection.

The drawback in this model is that to create its own navigation, branding, and metadata by each department is a challenging task.

3.  Single site collection: functional hierarchy of subsites for each department:

A third variant of sites design is based on the functional divisions within the organization. Each department with its unique metadata, security, navigation and branding has set up its own homepage (at level 2) just below the enterprise home page (at level 1), which is further inherited to their subsites (level 3).

The third topology is usually most preferred, as it fits the best to the modern complex organizations, which may not be giant, but there is often a great degree of interdepartmental communication. However, it requires migration tool, in case you want to reorganize the subsites.

Now, if you want to know about which topology is the best for your organization, please click here to discuss with our SharePoint Consultant.

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