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SharePoint, Teams, Viva, Intranet-in-a-Box – What’s The Right Intranet Choice For Your Organization?


Nithya Rachel

SharePoint, Teams, Viva, Intranet-in-a-Box – What’s The Right Intranet Choice For Your Organization?

Meet Joe, the CEO of a fast-growing SMB. Like many other growing companies, Joe’s company faced unexpected challenges due to expansion. His HR team struggled to retain talent as employees quit, citing reasons like operational inefficiencies, cultural differences, lack of training, and disengagement. Joe recognized the need to enhance employee experience and internal communication and set out to find an effective tool for this purpose. His executive team came up with several suggestions including Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Viva and an Intranet-in-a-Box. Confused, Joe sought the help of Eric, a business consultant, for a recommendation.

Eric used an analogy of a house to describe these platforms to help Joe arrive at a decision. He compared SharePoint to the partition walls of a house, Microsoft Teams to the plumbing system, Viva to the décor and the intranet to a house’s foundation. In this article, let’s explore these platforms as Joe and Eric evaluate them.

Microsoft Teams

Like the plumbing system of a house, Microsoft Teams is great for instant connectivity. Employees can communicate via text messages, make audio and video calls, share documents, and schedule meetings. Microsoft Teams also has a built-in polling feature, which could be useful for creating polls and gathering employee feedback. But some employees may overlook important updates if multiple Teams channels are open on the application. Also, measuring employee engagement was challenging with limited built-in analytics.

Microsoft Teams uses SharePoint in the background for file storage. When users share files, they go into the channel’s root folder on SharePoint. However, finding files within SharePoint after a user closes a channel can be challenging. An intranet, on the other hand, offers more flexibility for organizing and storing files based on personal preferences, making it easier for users to find the information they need.

Teams is great for instant messaging when you are in small groups but it doesn’t really get interactive in large groups. People either turn off the notifications or they don’t get to it. While email and Teams will always have its place, we weren’t successful in achieving what we wanted until we got the intranet which is more visually appealing.

Microsoft Viva

Microsoft launched Viva in 2021, a suite of employee experience tools to help companies adapt to remote work models. Microsoft offers six components as a part of the Viva Suite – Viva Learning, Viva Connections, Viva Topics, Viva Insights, Viva Goals, and Viva Engage. Viva components can be integrated into Teams and other Microsoft 365 applications.

  • Viva Learning is a centralized hub for companies to share resources such as courses and training videos.
  • Viva Topics is an AI tool that companies can use to organize and find information, such as documents and projects.
  • Viva Insights uses artificial intelligence to analyze data from various sources, such as Outlook and Calendar, to provide insights on employee work habits and commitments.
  • Viva Goals helps align teams with an organization’s priorities.
  • Viva Engage provides a space for employees to connect and engage in conversations.
  • Viva Connections is a customizable app that you can integrate into Microsoft Teams to send company news and engage employees with recognition programs.

Microsoft offers Viva Connections as part of the Microsoft 365 bundle. The other three components can be purchased individually or as a part of Microsoft Viva Suite. Viva Connections is built on SharePoint and presents information from SharePoint sites within Microsoft Teams. It offers a partial range of features that Joe wanted on a company intranet. For example, Joe wanted to integrate a range of legacy systems and third-party applications to build a digital workplace for his employees, for which an intranet was a better alternative. Still, like the décor of a house, Viva Connections could enhance employee engagement by extending an intranet’s capabilities into Microsoft Teams and providing an integrated employee experience.

Microsoft SharePoint

SharePoint has gone through several transformations since its debut in 2001. The current version, SharePoint Online, is a cloud-based document management and collaboration platform. Some versions of Microsoft 365 come bundled with SharePoint Online. Like the partition walls and doors of a house, Joe could create separate spaces for different teams to work and collaborate. But the default settings of SharePoint Online did not support the collaboration and communication needs that Joe wanted. So, Eric suggested customizing SharePoint to meet the specific needs of the organization or look for a feature-rich, readymade intranet-in-a-box solution. Eric acknowledged that SharePoint customization requires more resources, takes time to develop and maintain, and recommended SharePoint intranet-in-a-box as a better alternative for Joe’s scenario.

Custom SharePoint vs. SharePoint Intranet-in-a-box

Joe could invest in SharePoint customization or opt for a ready-to-use, intranet-in-a-box platform to create a personalized user experience. Customizing SharePoint is expensive, time-consuming, and requires outsourcing or hiring an in-house SharePoint team. Eric also informed that poorly implemented customization could result in security vulnerabilities and expose sensitive business data.

PeopleOne Intranet-in-a-box

PeopleOne empowers you to send instant notifications directly to all users, including frontline workers. By leveraging PeopleOne, Joe can reach frontline teams and communicate critical business updates effectively. PeopleOne comprises pre-built intranet components. Once configured, organizations can customize their intranet’s branding and design elements and add or remove employee engagement components to suit their specific audience. A few compelling reasons to choose an intranet-in-a-box over the other options are:

  • Readymade, time-tested intranet features that can meet the needs of any organization.
  • Quick deployment with minimal setup time.
  • Cost-effective when compared with custom development.
  • User-friendly interface and easy navigation.
  • Flexible pricing models.
  • Dedicated post-implementation support.

Joe’s Decision

A well-implemented intranet solution can serve as the command center where employees start their day. Microsoft Viva or Microsoft Teams still need a SharePoint setup in the background and may only replace some capabilities of an intranet. On the other hand, PeopleOne checked all of Joe’s requirements and after its implementation, Joe could see several improvements. Does Joe’s situation resonate with your business scenario? We encourage you to talk to our experts about building an action plan to suit your organization’s unique requirements.

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