DO NOT create intranet with SharePoint at first

image “At first” is the key issue here.Often intranet is the first project undertaken by IT. This is not the best choice.

Find out what is the best way to ensure maximum benefits from SharePoint.


Estimated reading time 4 min

The Problem

I have seen this happen with many customers. That is why I am writing this article. It may sound like I am discouraging usage of SharePoint. That is absolutely NOT true. I am actually trying to maximize the benefits you derive from SharePoint.

Here is what happens:

  1. Decision is taken to utilize SharePoint (either on-premise or Office 365)
  2. The first project taken up is to revamp the Intranet
  3. Most companies have some kind of intranet already.
    It may not be perfect, it may be in pockets, it may be using older platforms, whatever…
    But now it has to move to SharePoint
  4. At this stage neither the IT team nor the users have any exposure to SharePoint functionality and practical usage
  5. Now the planning, architecture discussions start – often with partners and in some cases with Microsoft as well.
  6. Typically these roles are involved in the project: IT, Security Team, HR, Corporate Communication, Marketing, Learning & Development, Top Management.
  7. The discussions go on and on, many designs are created and refined endlessly
  8. Wireframes are created and recreated over and over again
  9. Migration of existing content is tedious or extremely difficult
  10. The project drags for months and years
  11. Everyone is wanting to have all the features of older intranet into the newer one
  12. Finally, if and when the project does finish – it is way over budget and extremely delayed
  13. Usually it is forcibly rolled out with lots of compromises to the original “vision”

We must not let this happen. This is the wrong way to handle the power of SharePoint. It is also the wrong way of increasing the adoption of SharePoint.

Why am I saying this is wrong?

Because, at the end of the project, we end up creating something which already existed. It may look slightly better – but the benefits usually do not justify the time and expenses put into the project.

What is right?

Remember that SharePoint is created for “SHARING”. All the sharing and collaboration features are available out of the box. These features can be utilized right within Office tools.

Therefore, the first step of a SharePoint adoption program should be to streamline teamwork and eliminate sharing of items using email.

This is done by using the following approach:

  1. Promote benefits of OneDrive For Business to all employees
  2. Encourage them to store items on ODEB and then share links
  3. Shared calendars and task lists are created on SharePoint
  4. Provide a team site for each team to store the departmental documents
  5. Educate ALL users about the benefits and power of SharePoint
  6. Run a contest to reward early adopters
  7. Promote usage of Shared OneNote notebooks
  8. Encourage people to capture data using SharePoint lists
  9. Create business mapped document libraries using Content Types
  10. Encourage savvy users to take control of their team sites.
    Give them a quota, empower them and then leave them alone!
  11. Involve designers / corporate communication to refine and finalize the theme of SharePoint sites to suit your corporate needs.
  12. Once the intranet usage has stabilized and it has become second nature to all employees, go ahead and work on other parts of the platform including Intranet and LOB applications.


All other projects like Intranet revamp, rewriting / writing line of business applications using SharePoint,

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