SharePoint is all about communication and collaboration and is an ideal out-of-the-box tool for those who need a modern intranet platform. Being part of the Microsoft suite also means integration with other applications is seamless, creating a more streamlined and efficient experience for everyday use.
To demonstrate how SharePoint and Microsoft applications could have a positive impact on housing providers, TSG recently hosted a webinar about the benefits of using SharePoint as a modern intranet platform. We were joined by two of our housing customers, Transform Housing and Lincolnshire Housing Partnership, and discussed with them the main drivers for their intranet projects, why they chose SharePoint, and how this supported improved communication, collaboration and positive change within their respective organisations.
During the first lockdown, an intranet was identified as being a critical tool for Transform Housing so its implementation was accelerated as part of the housing provider’s programme to provide digital support and updates to staff.
Before the implementation of SharePoint, Transform’s communications had started to become inefficient as the world turned to remote working; it needed a solution that allowed housing staff to be able to instantly access the data they needed. It was also important to have a central location for information across all departments, as well as consideration for new starters.
Claire Davidson, IT consultant, Transform Housing, said, “We really needed technology that didn’t rely on IT. We wanted to start off small and focus on this being the entry point into SharePoint, which is a much bigger piece of work than just the intranet as we look at our wider EDRM requirements.”
With a Microsoft-first strategy already part of Transform Housing’s digital strategy, the project began with a fresh approach and a blank slate.
Named Milo by the staff (Masses of Information Logically Organised), the homepage layout was a vital part of the project, so we worked with Transform to ensure it had relevant content that staff members would be likely to access regularly. This included key links, updates, news and announcements, a ‘how do I…?’ section, departmental sites and the IT status of internal systems. The ‘key links’ section in particular used Microsoft Forms and Power Apps, staying in line with its Microsoft-first approach and strategy.
As a result of implementing the intranet, there has been a significant reduction in emails and more collaboration between teams via the intranet.
Lincolnshire Housing Partnership
LHP is implementing a digital strategy to provide a modern, agile working environment that uses technology to achieve an efficient, effective and tailored experience for its staff.
The housing provider needed to bring together two separate organisations into a single platform in order to promote its combined way of working and foster a joint set of values and purpose. A centralised location that was accessible to everyone via desktop and mobile devices was also needed to support all use cases.
SharePoint offered the flexibility, ease of access, development and integrations that would hit the key areas LHP wanted to address in its Microsoft-first strategy and would maximise RoI from its investment.
In a similar manner to Transform Housing, LHP wanted an intranet that was easy to navigate for all departments. A strong focus was placed on the information that would appear on the ‘BaseCamp’ landing page, again named by LHP’s staff.
The landing page includes content such as news, integration with social channels on Microsoft Teams to display live posts, social media integration, weekly updates from the executive team, key events and useful links.
Carole Galsworthy, head of ICT and digital services, Lincolnshire Housing Partnership, said, “BaseCamp allows everyone to intuitively find the content they’re looking for.”
Another important aspect of the intranet for LHP was to support its employees’ wellbeing as they work from home. To support this, LHP created a ‘round of applause’ app using Power Apps; employees can accumulate points given by colleagues, see how far away they are from their next goal and view colleagues’ feedback.
Galsworthy said, “It’s a really simple and easy way for everyone to say thank you.”
The intranet project has improved employee collaboration and the round of applause app has been a big hit with LHP’s staff.
If your organisation needs a modern intranet environment similar to Transform or LHP, please get in touch or to view the full webinar, please get in touch with TSG at email@example.com.
Tony Hughes is a housing solutions strategist and Kirsty Marsden is the housing service design lead at Technology Services Group (TSG).