How to launch your SharePoint intranet quickly

Want to launch your SharePoint intranet quickly? You’re not alone.

Bringing together remote and hybrid teams as well as attracting and retaining Millennial and Gen Z talent are two of the top priorities for our clients today.

With almost half of employees working remotely full time or on a hybrid basis and younger workers expecting to use intuitive and collaborative tech as standard, there’s little wonder why many of our clients are in a hurry to launch a new intranet.

Seen as the glue that binds everything and everyone together, an intranet is still the workplace tool to have in your digital arsenal.

A one-stop digital hub where employees can easily access essential tools, information and resources, streamlining their daily tasks and reducing time spent on searching for information, a good intranet can improve the employee experience by as much 20 percent.

Recognising employee achievements, celebrating milestones and highlighting employee success stories, a two-way intranet between employees and management is a great way to enhance employee engagement too.

Serving up personalised content and relevant updates, the intranet is the best tool to ensure every employee receives information relevant to them, their role and department, thus reducing information overload in their inbox, enhancing productivity by as much as 25 percent, according to McKinsey.

Accessing information from anywhere on any device, quickly, with advanced search is one of the top benefits of launching an intranet…significantly reducing the estimated 1.8 hours lost to search every day.

Six phase-approach to launching your SharePoint intranet quickly

So, how do you go about launching an intranet on SharePoint quickly? The time it will take depends on a number of factors, assuming you have the budget and buy-in in the bag, your plan and requirements sorted as well as a dedicated team in place, you can have your new intranet tech up and running swiftly.

Of course, some steps may take longer, they may need more focus and time, or may be held up by forces beyond your control (such as colleagues going on holiday or sick leave, which are two of the biggest reasons for delays!).

However, to give you an idea of what to expect when launching an intranet, we’ve shared the following six-phase approach. How quickly you go will depend on how prepared you are and how complex your requirements are.

Phase One: Planning & Requirements

  • Define Objectives: Clearly define what you want to achieve with your intranet. This could include improving internal communication, document management or employee engagement.
  • Identify Key Stakeholders: Engage with stakeholders from different departments to understand their needs and expectations from the intranet.
  • Create a Project Plan: Outline a timeline with specific tasks and responsibilities. If you’re on a tight timeline, ensure that roles and deadlines are clear.

For more help on planning your intranet roll-out, download our eBook Building a business case for a new intranet which is packed full of useful tips.

Phase Two: Setup & Basic Configuration

  • Configure SharePoint Online: Assuming you have access to SharePoint Online as part of your Microsoft 365 subscription, you can install a pre-templated intranet experience such as Fresh Ready, built on SharePoint in Microsoft 365.
  • Basic Configuration: Use Fresh’s ready-to-go information architecture for the basic intranet structure, including site collections, main sites and subsites as needed. The easy-to-use templates are particularly useful to use when budget and time are of the essence.
  • User Access and Permissions: Define your user groups and permissions and configure them within your intranet to ensure security and provide appropriate access levels for different areas and functionalities.

Phase Three: Design & Customise

  • Intranet Look & Feel: Choose a theme from SharePoint or Fresh that aligns with your company branding. Customise the look and feel of the site using SharePoint or Fresh’s design kit.
  • Add Essential Features: Implement key features like a news feed, social tools, document library, staff directory and the all-important search functionality. If you’re doing it at a faster pace than usual, separate essential features from non-essential features. Remember, with Fresh, extra intranet elements such as analytics and AI can always be added down the line.
  • Mobile Responsiveness: Ensure the site is mobile-friendly, so your users can access it on their phones or tablets. Or better still, connect it to Teams so your employees can access it via the Teams app through Viva Connections.

Phase Four: Migrate Content & Install 3rd Party Integrations

  • Content Upload: Start populating the site with essential content. This includes company policies, important documents and any other resources employees need. You can always upload more content at a later date (this is a good time to cull old content).
  • Integrate with Other Tools: Integrate it with other Microsoft 365 tools or third-party HR applications for a seamless user experience.

Phase Five: Test, Train & Launch

  • User Testing: Conduct a round of user testing with a trusted group to identify and fix any issues. Don’t be tempted to cut this corner as it will likely result in user adoption issues later down the line.
  • Training Sessions: Recruit “champions” within departments who can help spread the word and troubleshoot issues for you. And invite groups to brief training sessions or create quick guides to help employees navigate the new intranet.
  • Launch: Officially launch the intranet to the entire organisation. Encourage feedback and be prepared to make quick adjustments based on your employees’ input.

Phase Six: Post-launch iteration

  • Iterate and Improve: Your new intranet will inevitably need continual iterations from launch. Poll your colleagues for feedback, and if it’s relevant, act upon it when things settle down. Read our user adoption blog for more tips and tricks.

Now for the technical part…

Time to hand this blog over to the IT colleagues in your team.

Delivering a basic intranet with Fresh

So, you’ve been tasked with launching an intranet quickly, well the good news is that we’re here to help. And we’ve done this hundreds of times before, so working with our experienced team, we’ll help you get your SharePoint intranet up and running quickly with our product Fresh Ready.

What is Fresh Ready?

Fresh Ready is a ready-made package that delivers a basic intranet into your Microsoft 365 tenant. Using Fresh Connect, a tool that deploys Fresh Ready, you can have a preconfigured intranet up and running within 30 minutes, without scripts.

Coming with basic intranet functionalities, Fresh Ready provides you with an intranet landing page, comms tools, people function, department sites, tools, quick links, search, a news feed and much more.

Fresh Ready lays the foundation for your intranet, allowing you to add more features as you evolve. This includes powerful analytics so your communicators can understand how their content resonates with their audience. Or AI so you can bring AI capabilities into your intranet scenarios, such as an AI-driven people search.

For more help on how to bring AI capabilities into your SharePoint intranet, download our eBook Generative AI for Employee Communications in Microsoft 365.

Fresh Connect does the heavy lifting

Fresh Connect is a web-based application that deploys Fresh Ready in just 30 minutes and requires little configuration. With a focus on security and performance, Fresh Connect leverages multiple Microsoft Azure resources to ensure the highest level of protection and optimal system performance. By combining these resources, it establishes a robust environment that guarantees data security throughout the deployment process.

Authentication to Fresh Connect is seamless, allowing users to use their own organisational credentials to sign in. This user-centric approach eliminates the need for separate login credentials and ensures a streamlined user experience.

We take a collaborative approach to intranet deployment giving you all the expert guidance and support you need throughout the process. All the while you’re in control and shaping the configuration of your intranet right from the start.


Want to get a SharePoint intranet up and running, fast? Our team of experts are here to help. Get in touch today to find out about Fresh Ready.