Questions from “Planning, building and maintaining a successful Intranet in Microsoft 365” webinar with Alex Franklin

Is the recording going to be available after the event to rewatch?

Yes, please click here to watch the full recording.

Will the slides be available for downloading?

Yes, please click here to get a copy of the presentation.

We have a number of in-house built applications linking to other systems that drive HR, payroll, etc; while these will be reviewed when we start to look at our intranet, how might these be hosted from 365?

There are certain compatibility issues that you’ll need to keep in mind, especially given that 365 is cloud-based and so server-side code will not be supported. However, There are a great many integration features available when using custom web parts or Power Apps to connect to data in custom or third-party solutions (this is a common requirement we face). In many cases we have been able to replace local applications of this nature using the frameworks available, and improve upon them. Moving to this platform is a golden (and rare) opportunity to take stock of what you have and bring it up-to-date, incorporating some great benefits you may not have otherwise had the opportunity to seize. Whether you’re connecting to data within Microsoft 365, or through custom connectors to other applications, it’s all available. Please note, however, that custom connectors to databases from Power Apps can incur an additional licence fee to do so, but the cost of this halves in October and so has become much more palatable.

I heard MS Streams was being switched off. Has that changed now?

It’s definitely here to stay. Microsoft has been investing in updating it recently with a new version that changes the model by which videos are managed, so that there are far improved methods of management. Here’s an article by Microsoft talking about some of the changes: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/stream/streamnew/new-stream

Which SP component allow to have Frequent Sites?

The Frequent Sites part of my demonstration was the “Sites” web part. When you add this, you can choose sites to show, or set the properties to instead show sites accessed by the user.

Does search include content that doesn’t have a major version yet?

Yes. Yes. If I’m working on a document that is at version 0.2 (therefore it has not yet been published as “major”) it will still show up in my search results. Only those who are permitted to see minor versions in a library will see this file show up in their results. For others, it’ll show when published to major.

Once you have published a document, or published numerous times, only the most recent version will display in search results (you cannot search on historical versions). If my team are working on version 4.2 that is what we see in our results. Anyone outside of our team, who are not permitted to see minor versions, will see version 4.0 in their results because it’s the last published major version.

Are we able to use our own domain name instead of a sharepoint.com address? E.g. intranet.myorganisationname.gov.uk

You are able to set up your own internal systems to recognise any URL that you define to access your intranet, but once it loads it will still (in the URL) refer back to {OrgName}.sharepoint.com. Normally, the easier approach is if you push your intranet down to staff browsers as the default landing page when opening the browser.

What app did you use for the policies list?

The Policies list that I demonstrated is an out-of-the-box SharePoint list, using columns and formatting. When talking about implementing review procedures (notifying authors, managing revisions) can be catered for with Power Automate. If you take things further, from a compliance perspective, and start to think about retention schedules, then this is managed within the Microsoft Compliance Center, but be aware you may require elevated licences (at cost).

Will there be additional licence fees for the dashboard features?

Nothing I demonstrated requires additional licence fees. The only exception was the point I touched upon with Compliance. If you’re looking to implement retention and disposition processes using Microsoft 365’s capabilities you may require additional licences to achieve some more advanced elements. Everything else in my demonstration is out-of-the-box and available with standard Enterprise packages.

Is Microsoft Viva available in Africa?

Yes, Microsoft Viva is available globally.

Can you tell us more about the mobile solution?

Mobile access has come along way over the years, not just with SharePoint but across Microsoft 365. There are dedicated apps for SharePoint (allowing access to “My” sites, and all others), Planner, Power Automate, OneDrive and more. Most things (sometimes all) that I do on my laptop, I can achieve through the mobile apps. Even without the apps, the solutions are responsive in nature so I can access them through my browser.

If you are looking to allow access through mobile devices, you may wish to implement a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy to help govern your environment. This can cover elements such as preventing older versions of iOS or Android, conditional access so that mobile devices are not permitted access to certain content that the user is able to access from their corporate device etc. There are many mobile device management features available within Microsoft 365, or with solutions such as Intune.

Alt text doesn’t work in Teams at the moment?

There are methods with screen readers that allow you to extract text from images, but I do not believe Teams does have the alt text function for images in chats yet. However if we have a library with images, and they have metadata, we can still source this.