Strategic and Technical Reports

Guiding You Through the Complex Maze of Modernizing your SharePoint Intranet

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Organizations need help simplifying SharePoint intranets

You know what an intranet does, you know what it can do for your business, you just need a kick-start so you can move forward quickly.


Straightening the Modern SharePoint Intranet Maze

The Overview report outlines the strategic vision for your Modern Office 365 Intranet. It provides a complete picture of the Straighten The Maze standardized approach and helps you define your strategy.

We review how Intranets are built today without common guidelines and architecture and how these things can help many organizations. We’ll help you get out and stay out of painful situations many of us find ourselves in.

This report offers the scaffolding and blueprints for a more agile method. One that is based on standard practices and guidelines, so we can all stop reinventing the wheel. You’ll learn a fresh strategy that will leapfrog your Intranet project forward to a Modern integrated SharePoint Intranet that is prepared for the future of SharePoint technology.


Straightening the Intranet Architecture & Navigation Maze

The Architecture report guides you through all of the CORE phase components of your SharePoint intranet ecosystem. Our standardized architecture diagram is delivered as a map that consisting of over 500 items. Architecture is represented by four models (Navigation, User Experience, Technical and Topic Organization) that give a 360° view of the standard CORE architecture.

Example page framework and page screen captures are provided for home pages and section lead pages. Microsite use-cases will provide a complete picture of how you can leverage their power and apply them to your organization for maximum potency.

A topic map is included for a complete knowledgebase in great detail—its that book on the shelf of how your business operates and what your policies and procedures are. Its your internal Wikipedia.  The map shares over 400 of the most common topics and their organization. The topics have been gathered from over 100 award-winning intranets that represent companies of all sizes and industries. It includes descriptions, naming and tagging recommendations.

The files are customizable, and your Project Manager will use them to stay on top of all the details, to document decisions and demonstrate alternatives real-time. This report even includes guidance for list and library configuration and shares formatting JSON to make standard lists more attractive and easier to consume. Note: all architecture files are delivered in MindJet Mind Manager format. Read this blog post to learn why.


Straightening the Intranet Planning Maze

The Planning report provides detailed templates and guidance so you are fully equipped as the expert Project Manager using this model. The Intranet Planning report includes:

  • A project plan that walks through each step in detail and will give you a deep understanding of each project activity. It is a great starting point for you to personalize and build your new Intranet’s plan to Go-Live and beyond.
  • A functionality timeline is integrated in the plan. This links your roadmap to its SharePoint functionality. Your technical and change management teams will love this non-standard view. It helps them understand when each technical service is coming on-line, making it easier to stage training and introduction efforts.
  • A professionally-designed PowerPoint slide deck will help you tell the story of a modern integrated standards-based SharePoint Intranet.
  • A presentation script will help you gain confidence in the content and make it your own.
  • Guidance to help you educate Executives, Stakeholders and Contributors to gain their critical support. You'll be well prepared to effectively handle objections that may arise.

This report helps you spend less time on the internal sales effort and more time taking action.

In Development


Straightening the Metadata, Term Store and Taxonomy Maze

The Metadata report shares the ins-and-outs of all of the components used in Metadata management (Term Store, Terms and Term Sets, Site Columns, Content Types, Content Type Hub) and how they can work together to make your Office 365 and SharePoint ecosystem more flexible and future-ready. We’ll review how to keep your Term Store organized and eliminate redundancy. We’ll break-down the standard term sets that everybody needs in order to classify stuff, present and organize stuff, tag stuff and relate stuff to similar stuff. We review which term sets are worth your time to create and which ones will turn into a full-time-job, so they’re best to purchase (plus I provide a cost-effective resource).

Metadata is the keystone to a modern, integrated SharePoint Intranet. Learn how to use the components of metadata to reduce administration effort and increase the flexibility of your SharePoint ecosystem. Including why the term store is a better place to put your multiple-choice column options than a multiple-choice column is, and why a Yes/No term set can be better than the boolean Yes/No column. Site Columns aren’t just for segregating items in a list or library, learn how they can supercharge your ecosystem and propagate your term sets everywhere. We’ll tap into the power of the Content Type Hub, a secret site whose job it is to feed term-stuff to your ecosystem.

This report is the infrastructure side of the metadata equation. It works in companion with the Pages and Content report, which includes page architecture, keyword tags and revealing related information on the page.

In Development


Straightening the Page & Content Maze

The Page and Content report dives below the surface and defines the information and features to include on each type of page. Page structure IS the user experience as people navigate through and interact with your Intranet. We define the various types of pages you’ll need, provide design, wireframes and web-part guidance; including detailed configuration specs for web parts used to connect related content via keyword tagging.

We’ll discuss simple governance requirements to keep your content healthy and properly connected. Simple steps that will ensure an ongoing exceptional experience for your users.
We’ll walk-through the practical steps to map your existing Intranet’s content to the new environment. We’ll extract reports from your existing SharePoint Intranet and match it up with the new system’s content map and tag contributor assignments.

We’ll create page “templates” and I’ll show you how to apply them to existing pages using PowerShell commands, thus supporting an agile approach to developing your new SharePoint Intranet. This approach allows parallel paths in your new Intranet project. Your contributors will create content as page structure is being refined. Final page structure will be applied, and pages will be reviewed and tweaked.

This report covers the page structure and tag side of the metadata equation. It works hand-in-hand with the Metadata report, which helps you set-up the necessary infrastructure for page links to work effectively.

In Development


Straightening the Contributor Maze

The Contributor report focuses on the most important audience of your Intranet. Contributors know the most about the content and topics and need to understand some of the inner-workings of the intranet.

Their role requires them to assign good tags and understand metadata, determine when new information should go live, when old information should expire, to follow the architectural guidelines and raise their hand for help. When contributors aren’t fully engaged, corners are cut and the user experience suffers. Contributors have full-time jobs already, so we need to make their efforts focused and as efficient as possible. Let’s treat this group special, and provide them with the support they need.

In this report we’ll define contributor responsibilities, and discuss the best time to loop them in on the details of your new SharePoint Intranet. We’ll build a Contributor literacy program that you’ll be able to re-purpose for General Users. We’ll review simple governance requirements that will keep your ecosystem healthy and discuss the differences between content review required before your new environment goes live, and after. I’ll also share a PowerApp and Flow that you can use to kick-start page creation and metadata definition. It walks your contributors through a series of questions that will create the page in the right place and give them a jump on metadata entry.

In Development


Straightening the Lab Environment Maze

The Lab report outlines quick and easy practices for controlling change within your production environment and synchronizing configurations. This will allow you to configure, test and refine new approaches and see the actual behavior of changes without impacting your live intranet.

Don’t risk your live data and environment by also using it as your test/sandbox platform. Many of us have great practices for controlling change in our important business systems but for some reason we haven’t applied them to SharePoint online.

I’ll introduce you to Microsoft’s program that will give you a 25-seat lab environment for a nominal fee (free the first year, and virtually free after that). I’ll help you set-up your lab tenant so you’ll receive software updates earlier in the Lab, helping you understand the impact of updates before they hit your Production tenant.

We’ll review quick and easy practices for controlling change within your production environment and synchronizing configurations. This will allow you to configure, test and refine new approaches and see the actual behavior of changes without impacting your live SharePoint intranet.

We’ll discuss the benefits of opening the lab up for the team and contributors, and whether your lab should also be a training environment for general users. Contributors will start creating content in the lab before your production environment is prepared. We’ll review the 3rd party tools you’ll need to efficiently transfer content from Lab to Production. Having a lab isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.

In Development


Straightening the Governance and Refinement Maze

The Refine and Govern report will keep your intranet in tip-top shape and evolving in the right direction. Powerful insights about how your users actually use the intranet are hidden in traffic data and the Microsoft Graph. We’ll use Power BI to connect this valuable information and use it to make data-driven decisions about where refinements are needed, and what content could benefit from internal promotional efforts.

Learn how to prepare the data, synthesize the results and extract insights. We’ll review options for downloading data vs. connecting to it live. We’ll prepare and clean-up the data through scripts so you only have to do it once—and I’ve included scripts to get you started.

We’ll review the vast sea of usage data that is available, and narrow your focus to what is truly relevant. I’ll walk you through perspectives to help analyze results and extract insights that result in next steps for your refinement plan. We’ll build your standard practices for continual improvement and discuss the areas where governance is truly impactful to the health of your ecosystem. We’ll review multiple dimensions of governance, including content governance, architecture/meta governance, and business/organizational governance.

Your modern integrated intranet requires some care and feeding to remain healthy. I’ll show you how to do that based on real-world data—no more listening to your gut, or making changes based on the loudest voice. This stuff is real and delivers real results.

In Development