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Building Modern intranets with SharePoint communication sites


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The Modern SharePoint Communication sites provide a responsive rich experience which makes them a great candidate for SharePoint Intranets. Along with it, the modern experience enriches the way content can be structured, tagged with metadata and curated by content owners. There are obvious limitations with the modern experience and will present few approaches to overcome these limitations. In this session, we will get a quick overview of Communication sites, and various advantages and limitations of the modern experience sites. In addition, we will look at how to map the old SharePoint structures in Classic sites to New experience and options to achieve that.

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Building Modern intranets with SharePoint communication sites

  2. 2. ABOUT ME SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure Solutions Consultant at Kloud Solutions 12 years of experience working on SharePoint and MS Technologies I am a Consultant, Architect, Project Lead and always a Developer. Microsoft Certified Professional in SharePoint • • - @asishpadhy • •
  3. 3. AGENDA • Introduction • The Intranet Journey • Communication Sites – What are they • Communication sites as Intranet • Demo • Prepare the Intranet • Mapping and Extensibility Options • Final thoughts
  4. 4. THE INTRANET JOURNEY – A NORMAL APPROACH How do we normally approach? (In context with SharePoint Intranets) • Work in context of SharePoint design requirements • Heavy reliance on SharePoint features and components such as Page designs, web parts, navigation etc. • Much focus on content authoring than flexibility • Waterfall approach Plan Implement Final Version
  5. 5. THE INTRANET JOURNEY – HOW TO MAKE IT WOW!! • Flexible Design • Scope for MVP • Design a business driven layout (UX) • Review with Stakeholders • Feasibility with Technical team • Identify limitations • Prepare for upcoming changes • Implement with minimal support strategy • Present it to business stakeholders and get regular feedback Scope Design ReviewImplement Adopt
  6. 6. COMMUNICATION SITES – WHAT ARE THEY? • New Full width Responsive and reactive approach to content • Latest web technology advancements (moving away from back and forth server responses to get the work done) Note: That means no IE11 anymore • Focus on content layout and presentation • Flexible design options, no specific layout requirements • Much more than static content, interactive pages • New easy and seamless setup for component hosting (SPFx) • Make Comm site as your tenant root (Coming Soon !!) • Access it anywhere – Web or Mobile • Make Intranet a Central Hub with SharePoint Hub promotion
  7. 7. COMMUNICATION SITES AS INTRANET • Full width layout • Top Navigation • Site Pages • Responsive design • Site Themes • Web parts – Highlighted Content, Yammer, Events, News Weather, Page Properties etc. • Ease to create Site Pages and News (that fit on your phone) • Interactive Components • Pre-built templates – Topic, Showcase and blank • Page Designs
  8. 8. COMMUNICATION SITES AS INTRANET Easy Content Management •Group Site Pages based on Metadata •Audience Targeting (Coming Soon !!) •Easy Metadata Management •Page Designs (Coming Soon !!) •Document Cards and Activity Cards to preview content details Dynamic Content Grouping/Branding •Fetch and group data based on metadata using Highlighted Content Webpart •Push Site Theme to associated Sites if Communication site is Hub Announcements and Updates •Fetch News and Events from Associated Sites to Intranet •Live Broadcasting (Coming Soon!!) •News and Events Web Part •Yammer (Conversations) web part Navigation •Megamenus (Coming Soon !!) •Push Navigation to all sub sites if Communication site is Hub Dynamic Forms •Embed Microsoft Forms and PowerApps Forms onto the page •Reactive and Interactive components using SharePoint Framework Components Content Approval •Promote site pages to news •Page Approval Flow – Publish a page after approval (Demo)
  9. 9. DEMO Communication Sites
  10. 10. COMMUNICATION SITES - LIMITATIONS • No Master page • No Publishing Feature • No Page Layouts • No Teams or Office 365 Groups features • No OneNote Notebook • No Left hand navigation • No Custom Scripting
  11. 11. PREPARE THE INTRANET – OPTIONS • Wireframe the design with a better UX design • Take Technical guidance on limitations on header and background • Use SharePoint themes to customize look and feel • Create custom themes using the Theme generator (very handy) Branding • Use Hero web part and high resolution images to tell a story • Use Highlighted content to target and group content based on user roles • Use various layout options on the page to arrange components • Use News web part for showcasing news from selective SharePoint sites • Use Events calendar to show upcoming events • Use Yammer for sharing and communicating user voices • Use Site Activity to show the latest working content • … and many more Web parts
  12. 12. PREPARE THE INTRANET – OPTIONS • Add custom metadata as per business groups and activities • Use News posting for sharing latest content Pages • Configure navigation • Limitation : Navigation element can’t be blank, even for headers Navigation • Could be done via programmatic approach • Use of OfficeDevPnP library for modern page operations • Add Page and Sections • Add web parts • Configure properties Page templates (customization)
  13. 13. MAP CLASSIC TO NEW MODERN ELEMENTS Old Structure New Structure Comments Publishing Pages Site Pages Site Pages have responsive design and full width layout Page Layouts Sections Sections could be easily configured for each page Site Hierarchical Navigation Megamenus, Hub Sites Hub sites also allow you to aggregate News, Search and Themes Content Publishing OOB Page Approval workflow and Promoted State* Promoted state and Content Approval for managing content status Master Pages Site Designs and Site Scripts* Site Designs provide a combination of Themes, Provisioning template and SPFx components Web Parts and Hosted Apps SPFx web parts* SPFx are client side driven components
  14. 14. EXTENSIBILITY OPTIONS Challenges Approach Top Banner or Footer customizations Application customizers Custom business requirements SPFx web parts Custom Layouts and sections* SharePoint Online CSOM Content Approval and Lifecycle* Flow with Azure Functions Page Metadata Management* SPFx extension with Azure Functions Custom forms PowerApps and SPFx web parts
  15. 15. FINAL THOUGHTS Winning Points : • Great fit for business teams moving to Office 365 • Latest releases and updates • Seamless integration with other Office 365 suite services such as Forms PowerBI, PowerApps and Flow • Best Mobility experience Things to keep in mind : • Targeting release • Target release for everyone – more frequent changes, beta releases • Target release for specific users – beta release only affect specific users, power users • Standard release – GA available features • Changes might break functionality. Keep users regularly informed
  16. 16. QUESTIONS