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How to Build Great Intranets that Drive Business Value

Produced by Steve Nathans-Kelly

At KMWorld Connect 2021, Microsoft MVP Susan Hanley discussed how organizations can use Microsoft Viva Connections to build more successful intranets.

Great intranets don't require Viva Connections, but Viva Connections helps you think about how you can take your intranet to the next level, said Hanley. "No matter what, your great intranets are always going to need a clear vision. You are going to need governance. You're going to want to include opportunities to connect and collaborate. And, again, the modern intranet experience in SharePoint allows you to bring Yammer right into SharePoint without people even having to go to a separate destination—so you can bring the Yammer into the intrnet without asking someone to go to a different place. And, again, that's another big advantage of Viva Connections, bringing a whole thing into Microsoft teams—and now the place where I'm getting my work done is also the place where I'm consuming the intranet."

In addition, great intranets require a plan to ensure that they're kept up-to-date, said Hanley. "How do you get there? Well, the first thing you need to do to get to this beautiful, modern intranet experiences is you need to understand what's important to the organization. What are the 'big organizational rocks' that we're trying to achieve? Because we need intranets deliver business value, and we need to understand what are the metrics that are important to our organization."

In addition, Hanley said, it is important to understand what is important, not just to the organization as a whole, but to each and every user, each and every site, and each and every experience. "It's really about the consumer of the information and virtually all of the capabilities inside Viva Connections get better when you target them to the unique audiences or the specific audiences that you have in the organization. That's what is key to making the experience personalized."

In order to do that, the intranet must be planned thoughtfully. "We're obviously not building a personal intranet for every single individual in the organization, but we're trying to understand the key audiences that we've traditionally called personas and understand what is the kind of information that that group of people needs," said Hanley. "And then we need a way to identify who those people are—like creating a Microsoft 365 group or an Azure Active Directory group that basically puts people in buckets. And once I have those groups, I can target my information, my news, my pages, my applications—to people who are in those audiences. So if you're not in, you don't see the content. If you're in, you see what is targeted to you.

Save the Date for KMWorld 2022—November 7–10, 2022—JW Marriott | Washington, DC!

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