As part of a recent discussion over on SharePoint-Community.net we have been discussing how to use SharePoint to manage your internal communications. As it turns out there are a lot of features available to you. The list below was created on List.ly and was called '10 (+1) ways to use SharePoint for Internal Communications'. Let me know if you know of others you use.
1. Discussion Board
The discussion board allows staff to discuss subjects relating to their work. As with many things in SharePoint, the discussion board is going to be perfectly suitable for many situations, however, if you want other features such as voting, multiple forums, pinning, moving topics then take a look at Social Squared.
2. Wiki Pages
From a default page : "Wikiwiki means quick in Hawaiian. A wiki library is a document library in which users can easily edit any page. The library grows organically by linking existing pages together or by creating links to new pages. If a user finds a link to an uncreated page, he or she can follow the link and create the page.
In business environments, a wiki library provides a low-maintenance way to record knowledge. Information that is usually traded in e-mail messages, gleaned from hallway conversations, or written on paper can instead be recorded in a wiki library, in context with similar knowledge.Other example uses of wiki libraries include brainstorming ideas, collaborating on designs, creating an instruction guide, gathering data from the field, tracking call center knowledge, and building an encyclopedia of knowledge."
There you have it :)
3. Announcements List
The SharePoint Announcement List is a special type of list that lets you create an announcement with an expiry date. To present the announcements to staff you can place the Announcement List on the the landing page of your Intranet.
As the Announcement List is just a custom SharePoint list it can be searched with in-built Search or added to any site pages you feel appropriate.
Most effective internal communication techniques will not only allow you send out messages (as in the form of news, announcements) but to also garner feedback from staff. For this the SharePoint Survey is a good candidate.
To improve the out of the box Survey even further then consider using DocSurvey SharePoint. This product allows quizzes to be constructed and attached to documents allowing to ascertain if staff understand your messaging.
Yammer is often coined as the Facebook for Enterprise. It's got a very similar feature set but allows you get a social network for your organisation in no time at all. It was actually bought by MS a couple of years back so it's taking a bit of time to get it fully integrated under the Office 365 umbrella. The cool thing is that you can now swap out the SharePoint Newsfeed with the Yammer one. The not so cool is that you are forced to make a decision on whether to stay with SP social features (with the knowledge they will probably be gone) or to use it now.
Either way as a communications tool it's pretty neat and you should give it some serious thought.
6. Content Tagging
SharePoint offers the ability to tag content, which then allows staff to navigate SharePoint by those tags. This is very similar to the Hash Tag idea that's so prolific in Twitter. The Tag Cloud (as shown in the picture) is a very nice visual representation that can be placed onto a site page. The most popular tags are larger. After you click on a tag in the cloud it will take you to a page that allows you:
to view the content that has been tagged.
to follow a tag (which then causes it to appear in your Newsfeed)
to add notes about that particular tag.
to view people who are following the tag.
7. SharePoint Alerts
SharePoint has a pretty robust Alerting mechanism built in that allows a person to be notified when content is changed by them or someone else. In addition to this the frequency and type of alert can be specified. For important documents, announcements this is a good way to keep people up to speed with what's changing.
However, this does result in yet even more emails going out to staff!
8. SharePoint Community Site Template
The Community Site Template is new to SharePoint 2013 and is a special type of site that serves as a mini social network around a given subject. The community site offers the following features:
#Web Content Management #SharePoint #Collaboration