In the early days of the pandemic, organizations were suddenly relying even more on their Digital Workplace to support an overwhelmingly remote workforce. As such, company intranets became integral tools for communication of up-to-the-minute information, policies, and alerts. But workers also needed a gathering place—to communicate, collaborate, and sometimes commiserate—like they had at the office. For organizations using Microsoft 365, the natural choice to bring their people together virtually was Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft Teams: The Digital Workplace (R)Evolution
By early Spring, businesses began implementing Microsoft Teams at a breakneck pace. In March 2020 Microsoft reported 44 million daily active users, compared to just 20 million in November 2019. One month later, in April 2020 DAU was over 75 million users, and climbing.
At the same time, Microsoft continued releasing new features and functionalities, further solidifying its critical role for remote collaboration and communication.
This massive growth and popularity of Microsoft Teams as a preferred communication tool—a direct result of the change in physical workplace—began a monumental shift in the Digital Workplace.
The Traditional Digital Workplace Model
The Digital Workplace has never been more critical to business continuity and success. At its heart has been the intranet. Often called the “Hubs of the Digital Workplace,” intranets provide businesses and their people access to the tools, technologies, data, people, and information they need to do their work.
But when the pandemic struck, the needs of businesses and employees changed practically overnight. Workers, transitioning from physical workplaces to personal workspaces, required greater flexibility. Managers attending to productivity required more accountability. And everyone needed to get it all done in a more agile way.
Microsoft Teams: the future of collaboration
Launched in 2017, Microsoft Teams was intended to replace Skype For Business. Backed by SharePoint, Microsoft’s powerful, web-based document management solution, Teams promised to bring together communication and collaboration into a single platform.
Beyond video conferencing and chat, Teams enabled workers with file management, sharing, document editing, and planning natively embedded at its core—something its closest competitors, Zoom and Slack, couldn’t do (and to a large degree still can’t).
As employees and managers continue to work from home, Teams has become essential to their day-to-day communication and work, making it the “Hub of Collaboration.”
A tale of two hubs: the new Digital Workplace model
Intranets—the “Hubs of the Digital Workplace”—inform employees. It’s where they gain perspective on why they do their work.
The intranet is a critical tool that connects employees to the places, policies, and people they need to do their jobs more efficiently: It helps keep them engaged to the mission of the business. It provides quick access to often-used tools. It guides people to the right resources with directories, and documents. And it enables them with self-service solutions to answer questions faster and easier.
But as much as intranets are capable of empowering workers, they do little to move them to action.
The New Digital Workplace Model: How Microsoft Teams is Revolutionizing the Corporate Intranet
Microsoft Teams—the “Hub of Collaboration”— is where employees get work done. It’s where perspective is manifested into conversations, and conversations into action. Teams is where productivity happens.
And, as a result of a dispersed workforce, Teams is where workers are spending most of their time.
Will Microsoft Teams replace the intranet?
No, Microsoft Teams won’t replace the intranet.
But it is taking on a critical role of internal communication that the intranet just hasn’t traditionally done well. And that, as it turns out, can be quite beneficial.
With Teams focused on enabling conversations and collaboration to help employees get their work done, intranets can be focused on aligning and connecting employees to the mission, vision, and values of that work.
Never has this been more important than NOW.
As most of us continue working remotely—and companies are planning for this to be the new long-term paradigm—culture and teambuilding become increasingly critical to collaborative success. The ability of the intranet to provide visual stories, brand perspectives, and leadership insights that can’t be easily replicated in Teams conversations or chats, will continue to make it a critical partner alongside Teams.
Your intranet + Microsoft Teams = a better Digital Workplace
Among the challenges of this new paradigm is the ongoing struggle to get employees to utilize the intranet—getting them to show up. Solutions like Powell Software’s intranet enable a frictionless experience, bringing the intranet into the Teams experience natively–showing up where employees already are.
This creates an actual single pane of glass for your employees—a single place where they can connect to the people, conversations, files, news, information, and content that enable and empower them to be productive from anywhere, on any device.
How to build a better Digital Workplace
Implementing this type of integrated experience requires a thoughtful approach and a deep understanding of how your organization works—the needs of the business, data, and people. At StitchDX, we specialize in this type of a better implementation process. For our customers, it’s a better-together use of Teams and their intranets. Here are just three example of the user and business benefits to this approach:
- Synchronizing alerts inside Teams channels so that time-sensitive information isn’t held in an inbox or reliant on someone coming to the intranet to view it.
- Using Teams for “internal marketing”: News and information can be teased with a targeted message in a corporate communication Teams Channel with a link to the story on the intranet.
- Limiting internal competition: Enabling departments to maintain public Teams, using “@” to target key segments by region, department, etc. to share relevant content.