Keep in touch, keep updated
A quick glance at the metrics for an intranet site I used to work on showed that a hardly any employees look at old news and didn’t use the subject categories to sort their views of news.
Of course it can vary from company to company but old news is just that on a company intranet. Old news is old news it seems. If they want to find something older they will naturally use search.
So if it’s on the home page, it will be looked at but once it’s gone that’s more or less it. No real surprise there to be honest as not many look at old news anyway. Of course archives are important but they have no real value to employees. Also categorising news items by subject also appears to have very little value as it is seldom used. Most intranets feature a number of stories on their home page and then when they move off, that’s it they are gone. Categorising or tagging can allow a news editor or intranet manger to customise/target the view of news depending on the audience so it can have some value there. But overall, it has little impact based on the metrics I have used.
However, depending on the number and pace of your news updates, what can be good is a regular email newsletter to show stories over a period of time (I would do one weekly). This is great for driving traffic to the intranet and gets to show people stories they might have missed or find that the email gets their attention easier. Of course the links from the email can be tracked using the likes of the Google URL builder so you can see what stories are getting clicked on from the email.
But the old comment about yesterday’s newspapers being only good for wrapping fish and chips is true on an intranet when it comes to news.
When it’s Twitter of course. Saw a tweet about somone talking about Twitter analytics so onto Google and then into Twitter https://analytics.twitter.com
You would think it would be about web analytics and visitor numbers? Well I did! But it’s about bloody advertising on Twitter. How misleading is that?
Nicely presented, well laid out and written in easy to understand language. I have to say I was impressed. They certainly spent a good deal of time putting that together. And well done to them for that. We’ve all skipped the those software terms & conditions (just click ‘Accept’) because they are a legal sleeping pill. And written by highly paid legal eagles too no doubt. Of course that is why they are highly paid because they write crap only other highly paid legal eagles can understand and who charge to decipher it.
Fair play to LinkedIn for this effort.
OK now, SharePoint 2013 is out in the wild but of course not many actually real companies with an existing platform are going to jump in right away. And that makes perfect sense of course. Well, does it suck?
I managed to play with the new version a little while ago and here’s my pretty brief view of it.
Now, there are far more experienced SharePoint experts out there who have given the platform a good going over and have peeked in some detail under the hood. This is my initial view of it as an end user, not a developer or techie guru. I also can’t comment on the social enterprise end of it or any Yammer integration or any web analytics as it wasn’t configured for my demo site. Not much point either as I was the only visitor!
1. White space and copying text from Word is much improved (thankfully!).
2. Picture libraries are simplified and much easier to view photos.
3. Tables are vastly improved.
4. Interface and UI obviously changed, simple again and removed much of the first level of UI for the user.
5. Embed code option though that looks a little too simple for average users.
6. Adding pictures is much simpler though is there no option to locate from an existing library in the site? It means you have to have your original image and copy the URL. Bit odd but perhaps that has changed.
7. Format text options are good though this depends on the CSS and styles used for branding and customising the look and feel.
8. The ribbon is cleaner and comes into view and use much better.
9. New options in a document library like ‘Shared with’ which shows who has access. Also Sync Library with computer allowing offline workspaces on your PC is more visible than in SP 2010.
10. ‘New Quick Step’ is interesting. Allows you to create a button on the ribbon for common or custom tasks/actions. This has to be set up in SharePoint Designer though.
11. Edit library: Not sure about this button. Seems a bit of a cross over with library settings and also needs SharePoint Designer.
12. Selecting a document is much easier and gives better options. However those options are still scattered in the ribbon and the user might not see them. Should they have had a context menu like a right mouse click to provide those options? Share option button is good but again visibility in the ribbon is difficult to see. And is the default orange button the best Microsoft could come up? The Share option menu is nice, clean and useful.
13. What are the three dots in the UI … ? I know it is for additional options but that’s poor. Yes there is a tag but really.
14. Picture library: Slideshow arrows are tiny. Microsoft are taking the minimalist approach a bit too far.
15. Thumbnail view provides a number of useful options for reviewing individual images but again those three dots are all over the place.
16. Microsoft didn’t do anything with the survey tool though this was probably to do with not destroying the businesses of a few third party companies but I could be wrong.
17. No alerts in a document library? Is that right or was it the version I had? RSS feed not useful as such but then again it never was.
18. Focus on content button? Useful? Not really sure to be honest. SP did suffer from excessive right hand scroll when viewing web part properties in the past so jury is out on that one.
19. That default blue colour scheme is certainly clean and fresh but of course your own styles can kick in on top of that.
Right, as I said just some observations. I may be wrong in some (so please clarify, PLEASE!).
But is it any good? Well yes of course it is. The UI is much cleaner, there is a brightness and a sharpness to it. Microsoft didn’t spend many millions on it and not make some decent improvements (and there are many). But that’s the way it is with making changes to such a huge platform. A lot doesn’t change but a lot does especially with a beast like SharePoint and a lot of it is in the background and how the platform operates.
I work on an existing 2010 platform and it is highly unlikely it will move to 2013 for at least for 24 months. Why not? Well, 2010 works and it does mostly what it is meant to do (now you could argue about whether SharePoint does what it’s meant to do until the cows come home. But we’ll leave it at that for now). And from a business and an end user perspective getting it to work is what matters most.
Does SharePoint 2013 suck then? No. No it doesn’t.
UK IT site, The Register, has a review of Office 365 from Microsoft. But it is this quote which is a classic:
Speaking of Sharepoint, that is also part of Office 365. Sharepoint Online is perhaps the most natural fit for a subscription cloud app that Microsoft has in its arsenal.
Sharepoint in the enterprise is a finicky, miserable-to-administer thing requiring a fair amount of expertise. Sharepoint in Office 365 has its own App Store. This moves it on from the Wordpress-for-business role it typically has when installed on premises to something more akin to collaboration-as-a-service. I have never had much time or use for Sharepoint before but the Office 365 version has opened my eyes to its possibilities.
SharePoint ‘finicky’? I’ve heard it called far worse. But it’s a nice summary.
Honestly, isn’t the web great all the same? Yes indeed, here are 5 really great articles about intranets that you should read.