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SharePoint Intranets and Extranets

SharePoint works as a single platform for your Intranet, Extranet, and Public site​

Let us help you get it right the first time - Beyond just portals and applications

Adding SSL, firewalls, routers, proxies, and remote locations to your SharePoint infrastructure can increase complexity tremendously. To make matters worse the lack of solid documentation on extending SharePoint in this manner make it difficult to do on your own. Setting up an intranet structure starts with the right structure designed in the context of your organization. Finally, it involves proven best practices for planning and implementation in phases, which evaluate current processes, existing systems, and new collaboration opportunities.

We are an award-winning, eight-time Microsoft Certified Gold Portals and Collaboration partner and are regularly singled out for incorporating cutting-edge design and excellence into all of our customer engagements. We are experts in InfoPath, workflows, branding, and project management solutions. Since working with SharePoint from its first version we have installed hundreds of portals, complex migrations, and multi-tier designs for enterprises. Engage us on your project and you get the professionals with no surprises!

You may know SharePoint's multi-purpose platform allows for managing and provisioning of intranet portals, extranets, websites, document management collaboration spaces, social networking tools, enterprise search, business intelligence tooling, and process/information integration... 

You may not know there are amazing benefits from leveraging SharePoint for multiple purposes:

  • Your centralized data is reusable (metadata, site columns)
  • Security is reusable and better managed
  • Workflows make process automation and moving data across webs work automatically

Related Software:

  • SimplePortals Welcome Banner provides a personalized greeting. First impressions are what your visitors will remember.
  • SimplePortals HRStar is your portal for Human Resources and managing of hiring activities, onboarding, performance processes and more.
  • SimplePortals MegaMenu is one of our most popular user interface solutions, allowing your users to navigate a wealth of information with very little screen real estate. Many more UI tools are available on our Solutions page.

Successful businesses are those that can provide timely information to employees through technology so they can get their work done faster and better. Intranets are a conduit for communication and information flow across an organization, a platform that facilitates knowledge management and a place where employees can manage their work.

We start out with a good SharePoint strategy and find answers to these questions:

  • What is SharePoint being brought in to do?
  • Who are the primary users?
  • Over what period of time will it be phased in?
  • Will it be hosted internally, or in the cloud, and what are costs associated with this?

Depending on the size of your company, this strategy might be overseen by a steering group, comprising elements of senior management and maybe even the CEO. It might involve drawing up a roadmap of activities, which in itself will often require company-wide consultation.

But when it comes to implementing SharePoint we consider carefully what your strategy dictates. Often organizations will have grand plans for a system, be it a SharePoint Intranet or website. Functionality will be planned in advance, rolled up into phases, and user expectations set. But SharePoint projects aren't always best implemented this way. SharePoint is such a large product, with a wide variety of strengths, that it can be difficult to plan in exact detail how best to implement every detail of a project upfront. Obviously, a new system needs a plan. But sometimes a lighter plan, or one focusing on just a first phase, is enough. Good planning in IT projects is always important. Just prepare to take a more agile approach when it comes to the functionality of SharePoint because, in the long run, it provides better results.

We use a simple, human approach to requirements based on real-world use-cases. Instead of listing a set of features we identify:

  • Who's the user?
  • What do they want?
  • Why?

Here's an example of a single requirement.

As a… I would like… So that…
User to be able to post blogs about the things I am working on people can keep up to date with things I do, which may be relevant for them as well

What's so special about this way of documenting requirements?

It identifies who this requirement is for ... and provides a view into your intranet audiences and their unique needs.

It states what is wanted ... because once we understand the goals we may be able to suggest more efficient ways to satisfy them in some other way.

It explains why it is wanted ...  which provides context around the request, and may allow us to meet the needs in a more efficient way. 

  • Develop a strategy, have a plan, and define KPI's for your intranet so you can measure success and continue to improve
  • Appoint a team to oversee the development and ongoing management of the intranet
  • Take a phased approach for launching – an intranet is evolutionary and ever changing environment
  • Ensure it is the main place to access information. Upload all key company documents – ensure all appropriate content is transferred from servers or directories
  • Consider the use of role-based home pages – this structure provides each member of staff with a more personalized section
  • Usability is your key to success and audience usage. We have developed many navigations enhancements and simple tabs to ensure your intranet is engaging – with intuitive navigation, and clearly defined layout
  • Invite users to offer feedback and suggestions – an effective intranet is constantly developing to suit the needs of its end-users
  • Make Search Awesome! – we can get results from file shares, other databases, AD and much more!
  • Encourage staff to contribute content – staff-generated content encourages employee development and contribution keeps things fun.

Provide value to your business through Extranet Portals

SharePoint provides the opportunity for organizations to consolidate their intranet, extranet, and website solutions into a single manageable platform and content store. SimplePortals has the experience to architect this for your organization.

Sharing information outside of the organization with customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders adds value to your business - increasing customer service levels, improving communication flow and collaboration. Extranets can also dramatically reduce costs where manual processes and workflows slow down projects and stop your business from delivering on time and to budget.

During the past few years, SharePoint has emerged as one of the top extranet solutions that companies are considering. SharePoint is not only a collaboration solution but a framework that developers can use to build entire applications.

SharePoint includes many out-of-the-box features that you would expect from an extranet, including document management, search, alerts, and announcements, as well as robust user management. SharePoint provides peace of mind when it comes to sensitive and secure information through a flexible and comprehensive security model. With the flexibility over the user interface, organizations are able to provide branded experiences for customer portals, as well as surfacing relevant information through other customer applications including Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

SimplePortals has the skills and expertise to help you deliver an extranet experience that that will provide efficiencies for you, your customers, and your stakeholders. By combining rigorous technical consulting and user-centric design models, our solutions achieve maximum user adoption and ensure your brand is represented the way it should be.

  • Design and advanced security strategies that don't use your AD for your clients (use FBA & SQL), or alternatively link other authenticators to be trusted by your extranet (ADFS)
  • Harden internal SharePoint Server farms for extranet usage securely
  • Configure tools to ease the burden of extranet administration
  • Completely automating the process of new site provisioning including security
  • Integrating extranet portals with internal applications

Building online customer experiences with SharePoint

An enterprise website is the primary online representation of your organization, and with the explosion of the Internet and growing focus on digital marketing, you need to ensure your website stands out from the crowd. Delivering an engaging, feature-rich, and optimized website that focuses on user experience will significantly enhance your brand, create customer interest and ultimately help your business grow to the top line. In the expanded ecosystem of multiple digital channels, getting a handle on marketing measurement optimization is also imperative - not only to drive returns but also to drive success across mobile platforms, social media, and the web.

As websites become more focused around providing end users with tools, software, services and interactivity, SharePoint’s vast array of out-of-the-box features prove more and more useful. Many organizations are looking to expand their ‘brochure-ware presence’ and provide site visitors with more value through interactive services that deepen the user experience, resulting in an action being taken. SharePoint’s ability to deliver social features, including user profiles, blogs, wikis and discussions boards, is a good example of how an organization can quickly build their own online community and provide end users with a richness of information that strengthens both customer relationships and their brand.

Building successful online customer experiences requires a combination of skills and experience that bridge both digital marketing and technical know-how. SimplePortals' team of strategists, information architects, user experience designers and technical engineers can help you build your business online and take full advantage of the digital marketing channels using powerful technology from Microsoft.

Imagine what is possible. When you integrate SharePoint Corporate websites with your SharePoint intranet, data can flow like water between them. We view all SharePoint projects like you do - built for years to come and to grow with you. Once you scratch the surface there are dozens of processes you can automate for data and information flow between your Corporate and intranet portals. The potential value for process automation is huge.

How We Can Help:

  • Contact Routing
  • HR Positions Posting & Applications Routing
  • Bits from your internal site can be promoted to the public site to keep it fresh, think blog entries, tagged calendars & Announcements
  • Blogs internally can be routed to public site

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