Transforming your internal communications with Microsoft 365

In the past workers tended to be located in common workplace locations, which made direct communications and collaboration more straightforward. But with modern hybrid working taking centre stage, how can your organisation better utilise Microsoft 365 tools to maintain essential internal communications?

5 minutes 5 minutes
Table of Contents
The workplace is continuing to evolve, yet whilst hybrid working continues to be prolific, employees are increasingly returning to the offices. Research shows that European office occupancy rates have increased from 43% (June 2022) to 55% (February 2023), but still behind the pre-pandemic average of 70%. With this increasing diversity in working locations, people need suitable access to all necessary information and data they require in their roles, wherever and whenever they work.

With workspace requirements constantly changing and evolving there can be significant information management challenges if documents are stored in different locations, or on internal servers which restrict remote access. Multiple people may be using the same documents, and they may also be dispersed across different offices, in different countries/regions, or require access whilst they work offsite (including those that may be regularly travelling). Therefore, unifying internal collaboration & communications is vital to ensure everyone has access to the right information they need.

Whilst many SMBs (small to medium sized businesses) are already taking advantage of Microsoft 365, they can derive far more benefit with the right guidance and knowledge.
Microsoft 365 offers two key approaches:
  • For internal collaboration, you can build a powerful but flexible and user-friendly central hub using SharePoint Online.
  • For more internal communication and interactivity you can also add Viva Engage as internal social network.

Building an Intranet using SharePoint Online

With Microsoft 365’s SharePoint Online, you can store all documents securely online – so that they are easy to find and can also be accessed via mobile devices. You can also extend the use of SharePoint Online to an Intranet.

An Intranet is a digital communication & information portal contained within a business or organisation, that is used to securely share company information and computing resources among employees. It may often have another name such as a ‘Hub’, ‘Wiki’, ‘Starting Page’, or ‘Employee Experience Platform’ or something similar – but in essence it delivers the same services and benefits. A well-structured Intranet will give employees access to the information that they need and can be organised into groups to ensure secure access rights are maintained where required. Intranets are designed to foster and encourage communication which has a positive effect on the organisation's culture and operations.

Whilst this approach could appear a little daunting for a smaller organisation, the use of SharePoint Online in the form of an Intranet isn't just the preserve of large enterprises – SMBs can also gain valuable operational benefits from effective sharing of internal communications that are well worth considering.

It is not unusual for established businesses and organisations to already have some form of Intranet for internal information sharing – however this may be outdated, neglected/underdeveloped, or unsuitable for purpose. As such it is unlikely to attract employees to engage with it.

This is where SharePoint Online becomes a useful tool for building and maintaining an Intranet that meets the needs of your organisation and workers:
  • Files and documents can be organised and shared securely.
  • Content can be made available to virtually any business device, be that smartphones, tablets (Android and iOS), Windows laptops and PCs.
  • Microsoft content such as PowerPoint can be reused quickly and easily.
Successfully utilising a SharePoint Online-powered Intranet is a powerful way of creating unity and diversity, whilst delivering connectivity, usability (easy and intuitive), and adaptability for an organisation.

Building a corporate social network with Viva Engage

Viva Engage (formerly known as Yammer) is the corporate social network designed to boost employee engagement. Users can choose a conversation source (such as Community, User, Topic, Home Feed etc) and can filter conversations and choose the ones they want or that are most relevant to them.

Viva Engage is perfect for exchanging information on interesting topics (featuring two-way interactive communication) with different communities within an organisation, or equally across the whole organisation. It ensures that an aligned version is always shared and that it is targeted to those that want to receive it, rather than simply sending it passively via email to a distribution list.

Thanks to the user-friendly format, not only does it appeal to employees who are familiar with using social channels, but also everyone else can use Viva Engage very easily.

How Konica Minolta can help your internal communications and collaboration

As a Microsoft Cloud Solutions Partner, Konica Minolta’s professional team is ideally placed to help your organisation leverage Microsoft 365’s internal collaboration and communication tools.

During the initial consultation process the Konica Minolta team will work with you and your team to ascertain what internal communication needs you have, and how your existing provisions can be improved.

This may involve:
  • developing a SharePoint Online-based Intranet (whilst helping your team to populate and develop internal content through agreed templates),
  • implementing the rollout of Viva Engage (and generating/sharing appropriate collaborative content across your business),
  • or a combination of both if that provides the best solution for your needs.

Konica Minolta’s professional team can also deliver expert training for your employees – be that for creators of content, helping to develop content templates for example, or for users and how they can make the most of the features. On a more strategic level, Konica Minolta can also help your business or organisation to develop an Internal Communications Policy and best practice guidelines to ensure the ongoing management and planned development of your internal communications.

Using SharePoint Online in the real world - a foster childcare organisation

Konica Minolta has a wealth of experience and expertise in delivering these types of systems and an excellent example was its work with a foster childcare organisation on a documentation project.

Having used manually intensive ways of sharing information beforehand, the organisation turned to the Konica Minolta team to create a document structure on SharePoint Online and a front-facing Intranet to help around 300 employees to share news and resources. Using this approach means that all the previously unstructured data has been brought into one place where it can be fully managed and shared easily but securely.

Konica Minolta’s team co-worked with the customer to create a solution that exactly fits the needs of the organisation and its stakeholders. With Konica Minolta’s initial help and support, the organisation now creates its own pages and news with rich content. Its inhouse team is responsible for the system’s ongoing development, but with the peace of mind that professional support is available if required in the future.

Plan your internal communications and collaboration approach

SMBs looking to harness these Microsoft-powered internal communications and collaboration tools need to have a clear process in mind to ensure the development stays on track and reaches its objectives successfully.

The key stages are:
  • Agree and plan for what you need and make it simple and straightforward to start with, ensuring the base needs are met.
  • Ensure content is maintained and updated regularly to preserve the accuracy of information, to preserve trust, and to keep the audience engaged.
  • You need to decide on the purpose and scope of your Intranet - is it dynamic or a static information site? This will gauge the effort required to build and maintain it.
  • If you use Viva Engage it also needs to be tailored to the needs of the business and its employees. For example, this will mean agreeing the levels of usage and whether the solution requires simple or more complex content.
Speak to an expert provider such as Konica Minolta to help you fully embrace the benefits and ensure your internal communications and collaboration tools are properly aligned to your business goals and needs. Internal communications and collaboration | KONICA MINOLTA
This may also be interesting for you:

Why Microsoft Teams: 5 top hacks for using Microsoft Teams

With Microsoft Teams and its easy access to many Microsoft 365 apps, you can...


How to help your employees learn Microsoft 365 skills

Onboarding new employees can be a time of excitement and stress for the...


Transform everyday business processes with intelligent OCR software

Make work more flexible and efficient. Transform and automate everyday...