New Microsoft Trend: “Intranet in a Box” Built on SharePoint

If you walked the exhibit hall at last month’s Microsoft Ignite conference in Chicago, you might have happened upon a conversation, or even a booth, touting the concept, “Intranet in a Box.” In fact, while attending Ignite, I recall talking about it with a colleague of mine, Rich Wood. Last week, he wrote an article over on CMSWire discussing the new trend.
Rich talks about how both inspiration – and confusion – came out of Ignite, as noted below:

Microsoft shared a lot about the future as Redmond sees it at last month’s Ignite conference. It’s a future that looks, by turns, both inspiring and somewhat confusing. When Microsoft peeks ahead into the space-time continuum, it sees the future of communication as Skype for Business, and the future of information discovery looking a good deal like Delve and other search-based applications.
The future of teamwork through this lens looks distinctly like Office 365 Groups. Except when it resembles Yammer… or maybe SharePoint. All three together in some sort of mashup? “Where the roadmap is heading,” we were told.
Interesting? Certainly.
Vague? Definitely.
Confusing? Absolutely — unless you find some good counsel to help make sense of how this can benefit your organization.

So, what’s to come? Rich sets us straight when it comes to SharePoint being synonymous with intranet solution (it’s NOT).

Let’s be clear: Microsoft has never claimed to offer an intranet solution. And it still isn’t. Sure, a whopping proportion of the world’s intranets are built on SharePoint every year — but Microsoft has always stopped short of calling SharePoint an intranet solution. That’s because it isn’t. SharePoint is a platform, not a packaged solution. We’ve been hearing that for years, because it’s true. But will it remain that way?
The times are definitely changing, and between Microsoft and its partners, Ignite showed us that more and more packaged solutions, using SharePoint as their baseline, are available to take some of the pain and cost out of intranet design and delivery. None of these solutions alone — these “Intranets in a box,” if you will — are being marketed as truly viable monolithic corporate intranet candidates, but they each address a specific business case that used to require moderate-to-heavy customization.

But times are changing. Business needs are changing, and Microsoft is not only getting on board with the boxed intranet trend – they are setting the agenda.

Microsoft is getting into the game, and make no mistake, it is setting the agenda. There are some very good partner products here, and we will discuss them tomorrow, but in many ways they continue to represent either or both a reaction to and an extension of Microsoft’s own strategy for SharePoint Online.
Traditionally, SharePoint has been (and continues to be) a platform with a set of tools and features that make it possible for a good team — given the right approach to and knowledge of design, content, collaboration, information architecture and yes (finally), technology — to build and support an intranet portal or set of connected portals.

Rich goes on to explain how they are setting this agenda, and these solutions include Delve, Office 365 Video Portal, and Infopedia, a knowledge management portal based on Microsoft’s internal, SharePoint-based wiki of the same name. You can read Rich’s full post, “The Microsoft Trend You Might Have Missed: The Intranet in a Box,” over at CMSWire.
If you’ve attended a few of our Microsoft webinars, you’ve possibly heard Rich present (he’s also been a frequent speaker at SharePoint Conference and various other events around SharePoint, Office 365 and Yammer). Lately he’s been talking about the importance of digital transformation, and thankfully, he’s squeezed another webinar onto his schedule for next week, where he will discuss how you can can enable your organization’s digital transformation with Microsoft platforms and products. You can register below or learn more about the session here.

About the Author

I work closely with our content management practices and partners at Perficient to lead marketing efforts designed to increase awareness and impact pipeline. I have experience in a variety of industries and have spent the last decade creating multi-faceted campaigns, working to integrate various channels into the plan and maximize effectiveness.

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