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Employee Spotlight: Nathan Slater, SharePoint Developer

In our ongoing “Employee Spotlight” series, we have the pleasure of introducing Nathan Slater, our esteemed SharePoint Developer. Let’s dive into a brief yet insightful interview with Nathan to learn more about his habits, inspirations, and music preferences.

Q: What is your go-to productivity hack?

Nathan: Clear and concise notes, it might seem simple but having good notes is a massive help with any work that I am doing.

Q: Do you start your day with coffee or tea?

I have changed over the last year and a bit from coffee to tea but it can vary throughout the day.

Q: If you could switch roles with anyone in the company, who would it be and why?

Nathan: I wouldn’t necessarily call it switching roles but working with Mark over the last year has shown me having a cool calm and collected approach to problem solving will result in a solution much quicker and is something I have really tried to adopt in my own way of working.

Q: Who’s your go-to background music singer while you are working?

Nathan: I couldn’t really name just one or 3 songs it changes day to day, but recently it has been a mix of Jamie Webster, Sammy Virji, Avicii and Nia Archives

Nathan’s insights offer a glimpse into his approach to productivity, his evolving morning routine, his admiration for a colleague’s problem-solving demeanor, and his eclectic taste in music. Join us in celebrating Nathan’s contributions to our team and wishing him continued success in his role as a SharePoint Developer.

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The Power of Personalised Branding in Intranet Solutions

In today’s dynamic business landscape, a robust intranet solution is crucial for fostering seamless communication and collaboration within organisations. One often overlooked aspect that can significantly enhance the user experience is personalised branding. Let’s delve into the transformative impact of incorporating personalised branding in your intranet solution.

1. A Unified Corporate Identity:

Personalised branding allows companies to infuse their intranet solution with a distinct look and feel that aligns seamlessly with their corporate identity. From color schemes to logos, ensuring consistency creates a sense of unity among employees, reinforcing a shared vision and mission.

2. Engaging User Experience:

Tailoring the intranet interface to mirror the company’s brand elements contributes to a more engaging user experience. Familiar visuals enhance navigation, making it intuitive and promoting user adoption. An intranet solution that resonates with the brand not only feels more cohesive but also encourages active participation.

3. Employee Morale and Pride:

When employees log into an intranet that reflects the company’s brand, it instills a sense of pride and belonging. This alignment fosters a positive company culture, reinforcing the connection between individuals and the larger organisational goals.

4. Customisation for Departments or Teams:

Personalised branding doesn’t have to be one-size-fits-all. Consider implementing customisation options for different departments or teams within the intranet. This allows for a tailored experience, ensuring that each section feels relevant and resonates with its unique objectives.

5. Recognition and Visibility:

Intranet solutions are not just internal communication tools; they also serve as platforms to highlight achievements and milestones. Personalised branding can be leveraged to showcase company successes, reinforcing the brand’s reputation both internally and externally.

6. Seamless Integration with External Branding:

For companies with customer-facing brands, extending the intranet’s personalised branding to align with external marketing materials creates a seamless brand experience. This cohesive approach reinforces brand recall and strengthens the overall corporate identity.

In conclusion, investing in a personalised branding strategy for your intranet solution is a powerful way to elevate your company’s identity within the organisation. It goes beyond aesthetics, fostering a sense of unity, pride, and engagement among employees. As businesses evolve, embracing personalised branding in intranet solutions becomes a strategic imperative for cultivating a positive workplace culture.

Book a free demo today to discuss how we can help your organisation!

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Eliminate Content Chaos with a Document Management System

In the dynamic landscape of the contemporary work environment, navigating the challenges posed by the escalating volume of data and documents has become a ubiquitous hurdle to efficiency and collaborative success. Addressing the issue of “content chaos” stands as a paramount concern for businesses striving to thrive in this new era of hybrid work.

IDC, a renowned analyst firm, predicts that the volume of data created between 2020 and 2024 will surpass the cumulative data generated over the past three decades. The urgency to formulate a strategic approach to manage this exponential growth cannot be overstated. Imagine the time spent scouring for information across various platforms. Traditional methods of saving tasks locally or using insecure USB devices have become obsolete. While contemporary practices involve file hosting services and email collaboration, the challenge lies in the lack of clarity and accessibility. Are your files scattered across emails, hidden in colleague’s inboxes, or trapped in an intricate web of digital communication?

Consider the frustration of searching for crucial information buried in your email inbox. Conventional email programs like Microsoft Outlook were not designed for the organised storage, security, or swift retrieval of the avalanche of emails encountered daily. docCentrum steps in to revolutionise information flow by allowing users to save email content and attachments as separate documents, index them, organise them in designated folders, and integrate them into business processes. This facilitates enhanced collaboration by making archived emails and attachments available to authorised team members.

In the interconnected world of modern work, collaboration is key. However, the lack of a centralised repository and a robust software solution often leads to the loss of control over critical business documents. Many companies struggle with inconsistent naming conventions and disparate document directories, hindering the management of intellectual capital. A document management solution, such as docCentrum, offers features like linking documents within the same business process and version control, ensuring document integrity. This intelligent system learns alongside users, preventing content chaos and fostering effective collaboration.

The bottom line is clear – poorly managed, undigitized documents result in content chaos, impacting collaboration, increasing security risks, and impeding the ability to provide an excellent customer experience. Integration emerges as a strategic advantage in combating content chaos. A document management system should seamlessly integrate with the entire tech stack, capturing, identifying, classifying, distributing, and archiving documents within various information systems. docCentrum excels in this aspect.

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Navigating the Future: Intranet Landscape of 2024

Gone are the days when intranets were merely content repositories or static news sites that struggled to keep up with the dynamic needs of the modern workforce. In a world marked by technological advancements and widespread remote work, traditional intranet approaches no longer suffice. Organisations must not only abandon outdated intranet technologies but also embrace what truly works. Crafting a forward-thinking intranet with features tailored to the needs of today’s internal audiences can profoundly impact organisational culture, operations, and overall business success.

For organisations contemplating the transformation of their intranet into a true digital home, let’s explore the features to adopt and those to bid farewell.

In: A user-centred experience, Out: A business solution focus

Recognising that all intranet users are consumers outside the business walls is paramount. The best applications prioritise the user experience, fostering engagement and providing a platform for continual improvement. A user-centred approach ensures that the intranet remains relevant, as user adoption is the key metric for success.

In: AI-powered features, Out: Basic anything

The potential applications of AI span across various industries, and intranet technology is no exception. From AI writing assistants to chatbots and intelligent notifications, leveraging AI can revolutionise access to information, streamline communication, and enhance the overall user experience.

In: Everyone in one place, Out: Heavy email use

Relying on email to manage extensive knowledge and information is a thing of the past. A modern intranet consolidates information as a centralised source of truth, customising access per role and delivering information faster and with greater accuracy.

In: Targeted, effective communications, Out: spray and pray comms

Intranets should go beyond being a void where information is posted without engagement. Leveraging channels, pages, and mirroring external user experiences ensures that messages reach the right people at the right time, promoting meaningful engagement.

In: Beautiful sites with personality, Out: Dull sites with limited features

An intranet should not be a place devoid of personality. Building a visually appealing, branded site customised to organisational needs fosters engagement and serves as an internal extension of the external website.

In: Simpler, faster rollouts, Out: Complex, months-long projects

Contrary to the notion that intranet rollouts take months, modern approaches with AI page builders and pre-built templates can facilitate quicker rollouts without compromising quality, security, or design.

In: Aligned organisations, Out: Disconnected teams

Modern intranets seek to align the entire organisation, breaking down silos and promoting knowledge sharing horizontally across teams. It ensures that every team is synchronised, working toward common corporate objectives.

In: Intranet maturity journeys, Out: A static intranet home

Viewing the intranet as a dynamic entity that evolves and matures over time is crucial. Just like a home, an intranet should adapt to the needs of its occupants, fostering knowledge sharing, building trust, and forming a unified organisational purpose.

In conclusion, the intranet landscape of 2024 demands a shift toward user-centric experiences, AI integration, efficient communication, and dynamic, evolving platforms. Embracing these changes will not only transform your intranet but also solidify its role as a digital home for your organisation.

Book a free demo

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4 reasons to get docCentrum for your organisation

In today’s fast-paced business landscape, effective document management is more critical than ever. Organisations grapple with the challenges of streamlining processes, enhancing collaboration, and ensuring robust security for their valuable data. Enter docCentrum, a comprehensive solution designed to revolutionise document management, offering a suite of features that can elevate your organisation’s efficiency, compliance, and overall productivity. Here are four compelling reasons to consider integrating docCentrum into your organisational framework:

1. Secure Document Management

In the era of data breaches and cyber threats, safeguarding sensitive information is paramount. docCentrum provides a secure haven for your documents, consolidating them into a single, protected location. The system employs robust user permissions, restricting access based on roles and responsibilities. To fortify the defense, docCentrum utilises encryption measures, ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of your most critical data.

2. Efficient Task Management

Effective task management is at the heart of organisational success. docCentrum facilitates seamless collaboration by allowing users to assign tasks to team members and effortlessly track their progress. With the ability to set due dates and reminders, the platform ensures that deadlines are met. Users receive timely notifications upon task completion, fostering a proactive and organised approach to workflow management.

3. Interactive Learning Assessments

Enhancing employee knowledge and comprehension is a continuous endeavor. docCentrum goes beyond traditional document management by incorporating interactive learning assessments. Users can be quizzed on their understanding of documents, enabling organizations to gauge knowledge levels over time. The platform generates insightful reports on user performance, offering valuable metrics for refining training programs and ensuring that critical information is absorbed effectively.

4. Improved Compliance Training

Staying compliant with industry regulations is a perpetual challenge. docCentrum eases this burden by providing robust tools to track document reviews and retention. The platform empowers organisations to generate comprehensive reports on compliance status, offering a transparent view of adherence to regulatory requirements. Automated notifications ensure that users are aware of upcoming compliance deadlines, facilitating a proactive and well-informed approach to regulatory compliance.

In conclusion, docCentrum emerges as a game-changer in the realm of document management, offering a multifaceted solution that addresses security concerns, optimizes task management, enhances learning assessments, and streamlines compliance training. By choosing docCentrum, your organisation can embrace a more efficient and secure approach to document management, paving the way for sustained success in today’s dynamic business environment.

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Empowering Productivity: The Impact of AI in Modern Intranets

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) is a form of machine learning that generates new content, including text, images, data, and videos, in response to user prompts. When users input requests or questions, GenAI utilises artificial intelligence to create content that matches the given input. The responses from GenAI are based on patterns learned from the training data, and the results are typically delivered within seconds.

Discovering the Impact of AI on Modern Employee Experience

How GenAI Enhances Productivity

GenAI has the potential to significantly increase productivity by reducing the time required for various tasks. For instance, employees can leverage GenAI to rapidly draft emails, analyse employee data, and obtain contextual answers to company policies.

Organisations are witnessing the productivity-boosting capabilities of GenAI. In a Forbes Advisor survey, 64% of respondents anticipate AI increasing productivity within their organisations in the next year. Another survey from the MIT Sloan School of Management revealed a 40% performance boost for workers using AI compared to those who don’t.

When AI is coupled with the right tools and strategies, GenAI enhances employee productivity by:

  1. Completing tasks more quickly.
  2. Automating repetitive tasks.
  3. Facilitating faster information retrieval.
  4. Swiftly uncovering insights and trends in data.
  5. Minimising back-and-forth communication.
  6. Identifying opportunities to streamline workflows.

Combining GenAI with a Modern Intranet GenAI exists as standalone tools, like ChatGPT, but it can also be integrated into existing software, such as a modern intranet. The effective integration of AI into a modern intranet can be transformative for organisations seeking to improve employee productivity.

Book a free demo to know more!

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10 Key Advantages of an Intranet Solution for HR

The human resources team holds a central position in every organisation, traditionally focusing on people and relationships. In today’s digital landscape, face-to-face interactions integral to HR are evolving due to the growing trend of remote work, accelerated by the Covid pandemic. Human resource professionals must adapt, finding new channels to connect with staff and modernise internal communications. An intranet is a potential solution.

An intranet solution is an internal communications and knowledge-sharing platform, keeping all workers informed about company policies, training manuals, HR news, and guidelines. It serves as a repository of the company’s collective human resources knowledge, available 24/7.

Beyond information sharing, intranets offer diverse benefits, transforming human resources practices. Here are ten best practices to enhance human resources in your company:

1. Streamline Processes:

Implement automated processes for tasks like updating personnel records, booking leave, submitting expense claims, and completing pre-appraisal forms. Automated processes enhance efficiency, prevent information loss, and offer a faster experience for employees.

2. Improved Two-Way Communication:

Effective communication is vital in a digital workplace with flexible and hybrid work arrangements. Intranets connect HR staff with employees through blogs, forums, and instant messaging, fostering direct communication and a sense of involvement.

3. Develop Meaningful Relationships:

Utilise the portal as a forward-facing platform for recruitment processes, creating a seamless experience for attracting top talent. It serves as a gateway for job applications, providing information on vacancies, job descriptions, and interview scheduling.

4. Deliver Compelling Onboarding Experiences:

Leverage the intranet for seamless onboarding processes, ensuring new employees are well-versed in company culture. Incorporate various media formats for an interactive user experience, fostering quicker integration into the team.

5. Connect Workers To Each Other:

Online staff directories and collaborative project areas facilitate relationship-building and knowledge sharing across teams. These features enhance workplace relationships, making organisations more agile and responsive.

6. Build a Strong Employer Brand:

Use the intranet to promote a strong employer brand, aligning it with external branding for consistency. Advertise internal job openings on the intranet, promoting internal recruitment and saving on external recruitment costs.

7. Increase Employee Engagement:

Engage employees through improved communication, collaboration, and efficient information sharing. Implement quizzes, surveys, and opinion polls to gather feedback, and support employee development through online learning resources.

8. Better People Focus for Remote Workers:

Address the challenges of maintaining a people-focused role in a technology-dependent workplace, especially with the rise of remote work. Utilise the intranet to support employee wellness and combat feelings of isolation among remote workers.

9. Provide Gateway Access To All Enterprise Solutions:

HR intranets offer a centralised platform with single sign-on access to various enterprise apps, simplifying the employee experience and enhancing operational efficiency.

10. Inspire Workers with Self Service:

Empower workers with direct data access, particularly crucial for remote employees. This approach frees HR staff from responding to routine information requests, leading to operational efficiencies and significant savings.

An intranet solution serves as a gateway to a more connected, engaged, and efficient organisational culture. As the workplace continues to evolve, embracing the benefits of an HR intranet becomes not just a choice but a strategic imperative. Book a free demo today!

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2024’s Top 3 Trends to Modernise and Secure Your SharePoint Intranet

As we venture into 2024, a trio of emerging trends are set to redefine the landscape of SharePoint intranets. In an era where workplace dynamics are in a state of flux, the technological foundation of Microsoft 365’s digital workplace is gearing up for a substantial makeover.

2024 is expected to see generative AI, particularly in the form of Copilot, playing a crucial role in reshaping SharePoint intranets. However, it’s important to remember the old adage: ‘garbage in, garbage out’. To extract the maximum benefit from Copilot or any AI tool, it’s essential to put your affairs in order first. While ensuring effective governance might not be the most exhilarating task, it’s becoming increasingly relevant. A well-managed intranet is the key to unlocking the potential of future advancements.

As remote and hybrid working models become more entrenched, the onus is on creating a SharePoint intranet that is centred around the user. Providing an experience that is both intuitive and engaging, where staff can find personalised news, relevant content, and resources, is crucial.

Embedding AI in Your SharePoint Intranet

Research suggests that employees spend a significant portion of their working week – roughly 25% – searching for and collating information from their intranet. AI made a resounding impact in 2023, marked by the overwhelming popularity of ChatGPT, the debut of Microsoft’s Copilot, and the ascent of ‘generative AI’ from a niche concept to a mainstream buzzword. However, its practical application, especially within SharePoint intranets, was not widespread. In 2024, this is poised to change.

Microsoft envisions AI as a pivotal element in the future of SharePoint, with Copilot at its core. With a massive influx of data into SharePoint monthly, the integration of AI is not just an enhancement; it’s a necessity for a smarter way of working. Expect AI to drive personalised experiences, refine search capabilities, streamline content management, and facilitate the introduction of chatbots and virtual assistants for routine tasks.

Copilot’s integration into SharePoint is set to be a game-changer, simplifying content creation and allowing the use of natural language for various functions.

The Imperative of Robust Intranet Governance

A successful SharePoint intranet hinges on solid governance. Disorganised, untagged, or outdated data can significantly diminish the effectiveness of your search function and, by extension, the efficiency of AI integrations like Copilot.

Make 2024 the year to align with your IT department in setting comprehensive policies for content management, data use, and user conduct. These policies will ensure consistency and security across your SharePoint intranet. Introduce role-based access controls to safeguard sensitive data and maintain data integrity. Implement a content lifecycle policy that automatically manages the archiving or deletion of outdated content.

Regular audits, in collaboration with IT, are essential to promptly identify and resolve any issues, thereby maintaining the security and compliance of your intranet. The launch of ‘SharePoint Premium’ at the end of 2023, featuring “Data Access Governance” (DAG), promises to streamline SharePoint governance, prepping it for the AI capabilities that Copilot brings.

Introducing AI into your SharePoint intranet without robust governance could lead to data breaches and compliance issues. Beyond ensuring best practices, effective governance enhances the accuracy and reliability of content feeding into AI systems, ensuring valuable and trustworthy outputs for users.

Viva Connections: The New Gateway to SharePoint Intranet

Viva Connections, a component of Microsoft’s Viva suite, is poised to become the central interface of the Microsoft 365 environment. It aggregates content from Microsoft 365, like Microsoft Feed and SharePoint news, into a single view within Microsoft Teams.

Tagged as an ‘employee experience platform’, it will take centre stage in your Microsoft 365 ecosystem in the upcoming year, with Microsoft heavily investing in its functionality. Its deep integration with SharePoint sites and content makes it easier for employees to access relevant information, news, and resources through their personalized Viva Connections dashboard in Teams. This approach is particularly advantageous in enhancing engagement, especially among frontline workers.

Rather than being just another channel for content distribution, Viva Connections acts as a hub to surface information and bolster employee engagement. Administrators have the flexibility to customise what appears on users’ Viva Connections homepages, News Spotlights, and dashboards, ensuring that relevant and targeted content is disseminated efficiently.

Preparing for the Future of SharePoint Intranets

As we step into 2024, SharePoint intranets are at the brink of a significant evolutionary phase. By embracing AI integration, prioritising strong governance, and utilising tools like Viva Connections, you have the opportunity to transform your SharePoint intranet into a vibrant, future-ready platform.

In essence, 2024 marks the beginning of a new era for SharePoint intranets, one where embracing technological advancements, ensuring robust governance, and leveraging innovative tools like Viva Connections will be key to creating a dynamic, effective, and engaging digital workplace.

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Elevating Remote Team Collaboration with Microsoft Teams

In an era where remote work is not just a trend but a necessity, the ability to stay connected and collaborate effectively is crucial for any organisation. Microsoft Teams, with its comprehensive suite of features, stands at the forefront of remote collaboration tools.

Understanding Microsoft Teams Essentials:

Microsoft Teams Essentials is specifically designed to enhance the remote work experience. It provides a suite of tools that facilitate seamless communication and collaboration among team members, regardless of their location.

1. Video Conferencing – Bringing Teams Together Virtually:

Video conferencing is a vital feature of Teams Essentials, enabling virtual face-to-face meetings that bridge the gap between remote team members. These sessions are more than just a video call; they are a collaborative workspace where ideas are exchanged, strategies are forged, and decisions are made. The platform’s robust video conferencing tool allows for high-quality audio and video, ensuring that every participant can engage fully.

2. Screen Sharing – A Window into Collaboration:

Screen sharing in Teams Essentials takes collaboration to the next level. Whether presenting a slide deck, walking through a document, or demonstrating a process, screen sharing allows every team member to follow along in real time. This feature is invaluable for training sessions, project reviews, and any scenario where visual context is key.

3. File Sharing – Collaborate with Confidence:

Effective collaboration requires easy access to shared resources. Teams Essentials offers comprehensive file-sharing capabilities, allowing team members to share, access, and collaborate on documents directly within the platform. Integration with OneDrive and SharePoint ensures that all files are secure, up-to-date, and accessible from anywhere.

Empowering Communication with Microsoft Teams Phone:

Microsoft Teams Phone extends the capabilities of Teams Essentials by integrating a sophisticated phone system into the platform. This feature is not just an addition; it’s a powerful tool that transforms Teams into a comprehensive communication solution.

1. Making and Receiving Calls – Stay Connected Anywhere:

With Teams Phone, making and receiving calls is as straightforward as it is flexible. Users can dial in or out using a clean and intuitive interface, ensuring that they’re always just a few clicks away from connecting with colleagues or clients. The system supports a range of devices, meaning you can take your conversations with you, whether at your desk or on the move.

2. Contact Organisation – Your Network at Your Fingertips:

Organising and managing contacts is a breeze with Teams Phone. The system allows users to add, edit, and manage contacts efficiently, ensuring that they can always reach the right person at the right time. Integration with existing directories and the ability to import contacts means that your network is always up-to-date and ready when you are.

3. Call-Forwarding and Voicemail – Never Miss a Beat:

Teams Phone’s call-forwarding and voicemail features ensure that important calls never go unanswered. Whether you’re in a meeting, on another call, or away from your desk, you can set up the system to redirect calls to another number or to your voicemail. Personalised greetings and the ability to manage messages make voicemail more than just an answering service; it’s a tool for maintaining professional and responsive communication.

Microsoft Teams Essentials and Teams Phone together provide a robust solution for remote teams looking to stay connected and collaborate effectively. From video conferencing and screen sharing to sophisticated call management and file-sharing, these tools offer everything your team needs to work together seamlessly, no matter where they are. As the world of work continues to evolve, embracing these technologies will ensure that your organisation remains at the cutting edge of collaboration, driving productivity and success in the remote work era. By integrating these tools into your daily operations, you prepare your team for the challenges and opportunities of the future, ensuring that distance is never a barrier to achievement.