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Three-Level Model Guide for SharePoint Intranets
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SharePoint Online
Oct 19, 2022 8:08 PM

Three-Level Model Guide for SharePoint Intranets

by HubSite 365 about ClearBox Consulting (Wedge Black)

Pro UserSharePoint OnlineM365 Hot News

Master the three-level model for SharePoint intranets to improve governance, enhance user experience, and optimize search functionality.

A Comprehensive Analysis of Building SharePoint Intranets: A Three-Level Model Approach

ClearBox Consulting's Wedge Black dives into the intricacies of SharePoint intranet design, focusing on the importance of a three-level model approach. The model not only brings an organized approach to intranet design but also aids in enhancing user experience and avoiding potential governance issues.

Typically, intranet development on a platform like SharePoint is driven by content focus and could be as straightforward as using two or three site types for construction. This often results in a decent intranet structure. However, considering the three-level model might allow for better overall information management and more robust governance policies.

The impact of your design decision manifests in various ways, especially in the way search scopes operate on your intranet. The search scope for the core intranet is limited to specific sites linked to the hub site. On the other hand, SharePoint's search extends to the entire Office 365 with personalized results, incorporating internal comms and various types of sites including OneDrive and others.

At Level 1, the all-employee intranet appears relatively simple. All communication sites are associated with the home site or hub site; this is where the hub site displays its unique power. Site association creates an intranet-wide shared menu, making content from the comm sites easily visible if designed accordingly.

In this model, the central hub site is promoted to what Microsoft calls the 'home site,' although using a hub site as it is an available option. This choice affects the default search scope where using a home site enables a full SharePoint search, while using a hub site limits the search scope to the core intranet alone.

Transitioning to Level 2, we're introduced to the organic and extended intranet that might include independent comm sites and openly permitted team sites. Being unassociated to the home hub site, these sites appear as islands in a sea of SharePoint.

The second level of the intranet can be crafted, albeit less confidently, due to potential site creation from non-designated members. Though their existence can be somewhat uncertain, it's important to understand that these sites are excluded from the intranet search scope and are only part of the SharePoint search, making their traceability somewhat challenging.

Moving to Level 3, referred to as the SharePoint/Office 365 collaboration level, you’ll find everything from Teams chats to OneDrive files. These spaces are typically private and only designated members have access. This level still falls under the SharePoint search scope but is personalized, showing only what a particular member can see and access.

In this model, it's crucial to understand the intranet isn’t the entire digital workplace but just one element of it. The digital workplace comprises everything from HR systems to external websites, considering both Microsoft systems and other platforms.

Understanding this model provides valuable insights into user experiences when designing and managing your intranet. It also encourages you to consider the navigation, user journey, and search scope choices within your intranet. For more insights on SharePoint intranet models, check more information about the SharePoint Online digital workplace here.

Summing it all up - The importance of strategic intranet design

In conclusion, the three-level model of SharePoint intranets contributes to a more organized, efficient, and functional user experience. With careful planning, thorough user education, and solid governance groundwork, intranets can become a powerful tool elevating organizational productivity, collaboration, and employee satisfaction. While the process may seem complex, the resulting digital workplace will significantly benefit your organization in the long run.

Read the full article The three-level model of SharePoint intranets

SharePoint Online - Three-Level Model Guide for SharePoint Intranets

Learn about The three-level model of SharePoint intranets

For individuals interested in gaining comprehensive knowledge about SharePoint Intranets, there are a few areas to focus on. Key areas include understanding the three levels of SharePoint Intranets, practical applications, design implications, and information management. These areas can be covered in-depth through a few specific training courses.

In the realm of SharePoint, the three-level model of Intranets is a subject that requires focus. This model includes three levels. The first level is exclusively for all-employee intranets representing the core intranet. The second level is an organic intranet – constituted by sites not chiefly associated with the main intranet. The third level encompasses SharePoint and Microsoft Teams, which include team sites and OneDrive content.

  • Training on understanding and designing the structure of the levels can be gained from course soffered by Microsoft, Coursera, and Udemy.

  • In terms of practical applications, professionals should understand how SharePoint Online can build an intranet for internal communication and reference materials. Information can be obtained from resources such as Microsoft documentation and EdX.

  • Different intranet designs have diverse search scopes. Webinars and tutorials by Microsoft, Coursera, and other professional training platforms can aid in understanding this aspect of navigation and user journey.

  • Professionals should understand that SharePoint Online (used subsequently two times henceforth) search, which covers the entirety of Office 365, only reveals results the individual has access to view. This includes intranet, communication sites, team sites, and OneDrive material.

  • Finally, the attribute to comprehend is the information management structure. Microsoft documentation can provide sufficient insight into governance implications and achieving an effective user experience with SharePoint.

Understanding how sites are associated with the home site or hub site equips professionals with the knowledge of the shared 'intranet-wide' menu. Professionals should also be aware that design decisions affect the default search scope. A unique home site enables full platform search, while a hub site limits the search scope to the core intranet. Another design element is the secondary hub site, which could serve a specific purpose or support a knowledge management section.

The deeper levels of the SharePoint ocean also warrant attention. These deeper levels contain independent sites that exist as islands and cannot be located via intranet search but can be found via SharePoint search. SharePoint is often more complicated than it initially appears. The intranet and the wider digital workspace should be seen as part of the same ecosystem, encompassing not only SharePoint and Office 365 but also other organizational systems.

Ultimately, it is essential to recognize the importance of considering the full user journey when designing the intranet. The return route from a site outside the core intranet to the main intranet must be considered, alongside establishing a clear pathway for users to find these more independent sites again. This raises the key issue of information management and governance. Understanding the need for clearly defined intranets with visible boundaries forms an essential part of this education.

Finally, a successful professional should understand that digital dexterity tends to be lower than anticipated, and easy solutions are often appealing but can lead to unnecessary complications. The ability to achieve this understanding consistently comes with comprehensive knowledge about SharePoint Intranets and the user experience that is best gained from the previously mentioned training courses, webinars, tutorials, and additional documentation.

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