SharePoint powers your intranet throughout your connected workplace. And now is the time to modernize it building with SharePoint and Microsoft 365 – to reimagine the role of the intranet, powering employee experiences that inform, organize and engage employees and harness collective knowledge.
Microsoft disclosed many new announcements at this week’s Ignite 2018 conference (#MSIgnite) in Orlando, FL – including ways to:
SharePoint helps you create and broadcast your message throughout your intranet. Content is dynamic and immersive, including video and mixed reality. And the structure of the portal itself is dynamic, adjusting to changes in your organization and workforce. It’s about getting things done. Finding where you need to go—with effective navigation.
“Every time we had a design idea, we found a way to build it with SharePoint and Office 365—the possibilities are limitless. We iterated quickly, learning and developing at the same time, so we appreciate the intuitive, versatile features.”
- Cheryl Bartel, Manager of Platform Systems, Helmerich & Payne
We’re excited to share this with you for the first time and look forward to working with you as a trusted partner to achieve your desired outcomes. Let’s dive into the details of what was disclosed…
It’s time. It’s time to improve the performance from your intranet. It’s time to put the power of all your content, people and information in the pocket of each and every employee – especially when they are mobile. It’s time to improve your return on investment. Build your modern intranet on SharePoint in Office 365 and get the benefits of investing in business outcomes – reducing IT and development costs, increasing business speed and agility, and the up-leveling the dynamic and welcoming nature of your intranet.
We announced a lot of tech to help you along the way…
New megamenu layout for site and hub navigation - Increase the value and space of your site navigation. The new megamenu options allow for multiple levels of hierarchy at once - no fly-outs needed. This will enable you to better organize and showcase the related content and sites associated under that hub site.
Personalized web parts – Give a personalized experience to your site and page visitors – so they see the content that is theirs, and meant for them to experience. When using personalized webparts, people will see their recent sites, their recent documents and news tailored for them. You can personalize any page or news article. When you add a personalized webpart to the page, it is aware of who is signed in and gives them a unique, relevant experience to the content and information you are promoting to them.
Audience targeting for News and Highlighted content webparts - You can better define what news articles and pages appear on the home experience of your site by configuring what is visible to specific groups. Each person will have a unique experience that complies with what you wish them to view without creating multiple audience-specific sites, you can serve them all from within a more centralized location with a personalized, targeted experience. Audience targeting support will be enabled in news, pages and other web parts so that you can define and target who best to reach with content and site experiences by using Office 365 Groups.
As the rich capabilities of Organizational news move to production, you will empower all communicators to keep groups, departments and divisions up-to-date with team news. SharePoint News is a content distribution system that works across the spectrum of personal, team and organizational news and helps customers get their content to their audiences across SharePoint apps and experiences. News works across all modern sites in SharePoint – Team sites, communication sites and hubs. And it enables you to get your message to the right people – even if the news is published on the internet using News links to bring it into the flow of where your people consume work-related information.
Sites: header layouts - Now, site owners can reclaim some of the vertical space at the top of the site and highlight the main page content instead. There will be three new choices: standard, minimal and compact.
Sites: adjust the footer of a site - When you change the look of your site, you can now add a site footer to showcase common information you wish to highlight at the bottom of your site.
Central asset library – provide easy access to your organization’s approved images that can be leveraged by everyone. When a person needs an approved image, or one that was purchased for licensed use throughout the intranet, they can click on “Your organization” and navigate files and folders of assets that are centrally managed for use in title regions and the Image webpart.
Web part: countdown timer – Site owners and members will now be able to show a countdown timer to important launch dates, key meetings, campaign ends, etc. on their site home page, within subpages and/or within a news article on team sites, communication sites and hub sites. Simply add the web part to your page or news and tap in the target date and time to count down to. And voila, everyone can see how much time until that important date and time.
Enable communication site experience at the root of a tenant – we know one of the most important sites of a your Office 365 investment is the root site, the default one that is created and has the shortest URL: https://[yourTenant].sharepoint.com. And now it’s time for this to be a real place to communicate. The default for new tenants will be that a communication site gets provisioned at the root site. Start the root off right, and the rest of your intranet will grow and flourish off of it. Note: existing tenants will also have options to enable the communication site experience at the root of their tenants. In 2018, we are rolling it out with a limited scope and will gradually cover more root site scenarios for existing tenants.
You’re not alone. Learn more about how to build your modern intranet in Office 365.
Hubs let you organize your intranet and drive consistency. They are powerful tools – flexible, dynamic building blocks for your company intranet – connecting collaboration and communication. Associating sites together in a hub site enhances discovery and engagement with content, while creating a complete and consistent representation of your project, department or region. We’re pleased to bring new capabilities to further organize and promote content across your divisions.
Events web part rolls up events from associated sites - Like the News web part and Site activity, commonly used on the home page of a hub site, you can now leverage the Events web part to roll events up from associated sites so that the aggregated view of all events appears at the hub site level.
Create associated site from within hub site itself - Make governing sites associated to a hub site easier by having them automatically associated and created from within the hub site itself. You'll connect sites to hubs by using a new button right on the hub site itself -- when you tap it, you get our normal new site experience and the site will be automatically associated to the hub site.
Create, associate/disassociate, plus report on hub sites in the SharePoint admin center in Office 365 - The SharePoint admin center in Office 365 will now allow you to create SharePoint hub sites and associated other sites once the hub site exists. This also provides a view into hub sites as they exist allowing for common admin tasks like reporting, contacting and managing sites - now including hub sites from the admin center user interface. The hub site association column also lets you see the sites associated with a hub.
Approval on association - A flexible approval process further empowers hub site owners and site owners to make requests and programmatically adapt to changes within their growing, dynamic intranet.
Learn more about hub sites in the SharePoint hub sites planning guide.
Take your intranet with you to stay connected and informed about important content, news, sites and people while on the go – for those in-between moments.
We’re pleased to share the latest round of mobile innovations – all driven by customer use and feedback…
Document library access – As you tap into a SharePoint document library, you will stay within the SharePoint mobile app experience (for viewing and navigating) before taken through to the integrated OneDrive app - where you can perform richer actions on files. This same SharePoint document library viewing and navigating is coming to the Outlook Mobile app, too.
Organizational news support – As you tap into the SharePoint mobile app News tab, you'll now see support for organizational news - which brings greater control, process and reach to how news can be published and consumed throughout your organization.
Create news links - With News links, you can now bring in news articles from external sources. And now you can do this from your mobile device’s share option - through to the SharePoint mobile app. Once you share it, the news article goes into the SharePoint news service as a new News article. And when a person clicks on it, they will be taken to the original source to read the article. Note: this feature will initially only be on the SharePoint mobile app for Android.
@mentions within comments - When viewing a news article within the SharePoint mobile app, you can now directly @mention a person from within your organization and they will be notified - aka, drawn into the article and your response to further engage on what's happening around you. Bring people into the discussion - @mention them.
Create and stay up to date while on the go with SharePoint mobile apps: https://aka.ms/GetSPmobile.
In all, we encourage you to build out and organize your intranet. Establish the sites you need and ensure your users can create the sites they need. Once established, associate them to hub sites to organize related sites and projects. As you progress year over year, keep creating and sharing dynamic, data-rich news articles.
If you didn’t catch Jeff Teper’s general session, “Content Collaboration in the Modern Workplace” at Ignite [9/24/18], I encourage you to watch the session, right now ;).
We want to empower you and every person on your team to achieve more. Let us know what you need next. We are always open to feedback via UserVoice and continued dialog in the SharePoint community in the Microsoft Tech Community —and we always have an eye on tweets to @SharePoint. Let us know.
—Mark Kashman, senior product manager for the SharePoint team
Q: When is this all being released in Office 365?
A: The above blog marks the disclosure of numerous feature and capability announcements. Our goal is to release all the items to Targeted Release customers in Office 365 by the end of the first half of calendar year 2019. You can expect future blogs and admin message center posts to raise attention to specific change management dates per each item to designate initial availability roll out in Office 365, with refined information about timing and duration of roll out.
BONUS IMAGE – full “Contoso Landings” sample communication site (header-to-footer):
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