An intranet on Office 365 is built on the SharePoint framework and it integrates Office 365 tools, which extends it into an intranet and digital workplace solution. It is a central location where you can easily find the information, people, and tools you need to get things done. It provides employees with a platform where they can engage, be up-to-date with the latest company information, share their ideas, and collectively contribute to the company’s goals.
One of the greatest advantages of an intranet on Office 365 is its cloud-based nature. This means that the applications and storage that you use are hosted and run on Microsoft servers and made available to you via the internet.
The cloud-based nature of Office 365 has a number of beneficial implications for your business. For one, you no longer have to worry about crashes or disasters, as you would if you ran an in-house solution. Because all of your data is in the cloud, Microsoft takes total responsibility for support, maintenance and backups. In addition, your data remains safe and secure under Microsoft lock and key, yet you can still access it from anywhere at any time using only an internet connection.
Here is a list of some of its other benefits:
1. Cost saving
When an intranet is hosted on-site, companies have to incur an enormous cost, not only from the hardware perspective but also from a software licensing perspective. Additionally, there is the space requirement – a server room, where all the machines will be housed.
Office 365 on the contrary is offered as a subscription plan which has a predictable monthly cost that can be canceled at any time. Your subscription plan includes free backup services and upgrades and can scale alongside you as your business grows and you need more user licenses and storage.
So, in conclusion, you save on hardware and software costs, space and utility costs, and since an Office 365 intranet is a cloud solution you may also be able to save on office rent and salaries, when you allow your employees to work remotely.
2. Get started in minutes
Unlike an on-premise solution which can take months before you can use it, with Office 365 you go online, sign up and start the trial. You can be up and running within minutes and your users can access the intranet and reap its benefits immediately. No server installation, no software purchase, no upfront capital expenditure! You pay as you go and can scale your subscription up or down depending on your needs.
3. No IT Knowledge Required
Office 365 is so easy to set up and use, you do not need any specialized IT staff to do it for you. You can be up and running quickly, which helps you remain focused on the task at hand; running a successful business, increasing productivity and keeping your employees motivated.
Office 365’s administrative interface is intuitive and its web-based portal can be accessed by only designated individuals, who can set up users and give them permissions so they can start using Office 365.
4. No compromising security
Up until now, allowing employees to access the intranet from anywhere meant using VPN clients and or opening up your firewall and putting your security at risk. Now, with the intranet in the cloud, you are free from these IT headaches and your intranet is available at any time and from anywhere, with guaranteed uptimes and high-end security.
To read more about Microsoft Office 365 security, go here https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/trustcenter/security/office365-security
5. Product improvements favor the cloud
Since Microsoft is heavily promoting the cloud, all upgrades and updates are completed on the cloud platforms first. So, you will have an advantage over non-cloud offerings if you are on Office 365 – getting the latest features right away.
6. Greater Scalability
With Office 365, you can choose as many or as few of its service offerings. You can keep it very simple using just Exchange for email and OneDrive for document storage, or you can add the whole deck of tools including project server capabilities.
What would have involved getting a team of experts together, negotiating the feature list, documenting the requirements, preparing a plan, developing the tool and testing it before rolling it out to the staff; is now available at the click of a button.
7. Facilitates collaboration and communication
Office 365 provides a number of collaboration and communication tools that can be used by an organization to create a social experience. These tools offer some overlapping functionality which could be confusing for the user and they may not know when to use what tool, but this can be easily overcome if the organization provides guidelines for their use.
Some popular collaboration tools that Office 365 currently provides are:
- Teams – this is a chat-based workspace which brings together people, conversations and content, and can be used for team collaboration, and since Microsoft Teams is integrated with Office 365, members get access to additional collaboration tools like Skype to make voice and video calls, and access to document libraries to store and share files.
- Communication Sites – these were rolled out at the end of 2017 and support company-wide employee interaction. News and events published on a communication site will be available to all the employees in an organization, which is an important feature that HR can use for publishing organizational content like policy updates and corporate events.
- Hub Sites – this is a new feature introduced this year. Hub sites help provide an organized, consolidated view of the data and activities within team and communication sites which is very helpful to get updates across multiple sites in one place.
- Yammer – which is a social networking feature and is used for group chats and discussions. Its primary purpose is to support forum-like communication. When Yammer is integrated with a SharePoint team or communication site it allows employees to exchange ideas and opinions right on the site’s page.
- Skype – which is used for instant messaging, voice calls and video conferencing.
- Exchange online – which provides a central place for all emails, calendars, contacts and tasks.
An Office 365 intranet also facilitates document collaboration, which allows multiple users to work on a document simultaneously, as well as simplifies the document review and approval process by providing tools to set up workflows.
Where project management is concerned, the intranet makes communication easy through dashboard views of projects where individuals can see and be aware of each other’s tasks and their due dates, view the project calendar, initiate discussions, and set up meetings.
Communication to all staff is made easy for the HR department by providing them with publishing tools can broadcast important messages about policy updates, news and alerts, or an employee recognition story.
8. Supports remote work
Being a cloud offering, Office 365 is available from anywhere where your users have an internet connection, and it can be accessed on any device – desktop, laptop or tablet. And since all work is accomplished on the intranet, companies have the option of sanctioning remote workers which results in cost savings in the form of requiring smaller office spaces and the readiness of employees to work for less wages.
Employees have the flexibility to work when it is most suitable for them, and from anywhere that they fancy – a coffee shop, the local park, or on a train.
9. Ready-to-go Intranets
There are a number of vendors that are in the business of selling ready-to-go intranets, built on Office 365. These not only offer a great user interface and tie all the Office 365 tools into one offering, but they also offer customization of the site with corporate branding and flexibility of placing widgets on a page.
Some of these ready solutions also offer added functionality like Employee Management, Forms Management and Performance Management, which may be very attractive to companies that need these tools but do not have the bandwidth to develop or purchase expensive licenses for them.
If you are already on Office 365 but want to get more out of it, or you are in the market for an intranet and want to learn how Office 365 can help, please take advantage of our free resources or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to assist you.