As with anything else, branding has a big impact on that adoption rate of your SharePoint environment. Your users will be more inclined to engage if you offer them something that is not only useful, but aesthetically pleasing. In our upcoming 8-part series of blog posts, we will address the steps that need to be taken in order to build out a successfully branded SharePoint site.
You run a business so you already know that branding makes a huge impact on decision-making. This is no different for your SharePoint environment. Your users will be more inclined to engage if you offer them something that is not only useful, but also aesthetically pleasing. Whether it’s an extranet or intranet that you’re creating, the effort you put into the interface directly reflects to your users the level of importance you give to the platform. The more importance or value they perceive, the more likely they are to engage.
In this upcoming series of blog posts, we will address the 8 steps that need to be taken in order to build out a successfully branded SharePoint site. Below is a high-level summary of the questions that will be addressed:
- Information Architecture - Information Architecture (IA) is like a blueprint, it’s how you organize information so that it’s easy for the right people to find it. SharePoint obviously isn’t the only platform that needs a well-defined IA, but it certainly can cause a lot of headaches and frustration when it is not strategically planned. There are countless ways to present content depending on business needs (i.e. location, business unit, services, etc.), we will look at ways to determine what will work best for you.
- Department Spaces - Each department has unique functions and, therefore, have unique needs for information. It is important to ensure that the environments you create for them will be user-friendly and effective. We will address how to design individual department pages and what types of information they should contain.
- Collaboration Sites - Collaboration, when used effectively, can be a game-changer for your business. SharePoint makes it easy for teams and groups to collectively manage, update, and share information - minimizing duplications of effort and streamlining communication. It is important, of course, to ensure that your collaboration sites are built strategically and planned out to ensure effectiveness.
- Project Sites - The project site capability on SharePoint allows you to capture tasks and assign them to various people within your organization, store and manage project-related documentation and track project team events on a common calendar. This can be a huge benefit to some businesses and we will help determine if yours is one of them.
- SharePoint Theme - As we mentioned above, branding is essential to adoption. Just as your company branding speaks to your customers, the theme that you choose for your internal environment speaks to your team and will determine its success. A messy, overcomplicated theme will push users away, while a simple, user-friendly space will maximize your efforts. We will look at who needs to be part of this discussion and how you can set yourself up for success.
- Custom Widgets - Of the advantages of SharePoint 2016 is the ability to customize your environment and tailor it to the needs of your organization. Custom widgets help make this possible. We will explore some of the options available (Anniversary widget, Birthday widget, Event calendar, PTO widget, On sale widget, etc.) and consider how they can help increase productivity and adoption rates.
- Responsive Needs - Just as your website needs to be built for customer mobility demands, your internal structure needs to accommodate the same concerns for your team. Will they be using mobile devices to access? If so, you will need to consider that when planning out your site.
- Training - This probably sounds like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised by the number of companies that do not teach employees how to take full advantage of their SharePoint environment. You can make your training program whatever you want it to be. Whether you decide to customize your own videos, hold regular in-person demos or host webinars for remote individuals, it is important to let your audience know that help is available.
One important note to point out is that if you are not gifted on the area of design and/or CSS; do not attempt to brand SharePoint yourself. You want to represent your business well with a good design that generates positive response. As they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Work with a SharePoint branding specialist to ensure you meet that goal.