Nine out of the best Ten Intranets Worldwide in 2016 run on SharePoint according to the trusted Nielsen Norman Group in their latest Best Intranets report. This proves that SharePoint is still one of the most popular Intranet and Document collaboration platforms in the world. With the latest version of SharePoint 2016 coming out, and some companies moving fully to the cloud in SharePoint Online, a lot of intranets are being rebuilt to modernize their Intranet platform. Another interesting statistic from the Nielsen Norman Group is that in 2016, this year’s winning team took an average of 1.3 years to create their sites. The time it takes to create a SharePoint Intranet together with the fact that Office 365 is getting updated every two weeks, and if you customize too much you need to make sure that updates do not break your custom development, made way for a lot of “Out of the Box” SharePoint Online Intranets.
In this blog post we will review ROOT, a pre-built, feature-rich SharePoint intranet portal on Office 365. Before starting the review, here are a few words about ROOT from the MessageOps site:
The ROOT SharePoint intranet portal centralizes access to important company information and apps right in Office 365. Ready-built, packed with features, and easily configurable, your company will engage employees, facilitate communication, foster collaboration, streamline processes, and organize your knowledge-base for quick, lasting productivity gains. Easily deployed and administered, ROOT intranet eliminates the complexity, cost and risk of a custom-built solution to bring immediate business value to your organization.
The ROOT Office 365 SharePoint Intranet lets your team communicate and collaborate no matter where they are or what devices they work on thanks to its completely device responsive, modern widget design. ROOT’s interdepartmental workflow designs bring immediate benefits to your organization by streamlining and automating workflow efficiency. ROOT’s enhanced people finder makes it easy for your team to find the people and skill sets they need to get answers quickly.
ROOT by MessageOps Review
For this review, the MessageOps team gave me access to one of their demo environments with some PreConfigured data. Else it would have been a very boring Intranet with only me insideJ. As you will see right away, ROOT is a widget based Intranet, meaning that all the data is presented as Widgets on the screen.
Let’s take a look at some of the available widgets and see what they do. The first widget below called “Users” is linked to the SharePoint Social and allows you to easily go to your coworkers profiles. You can also follow people and see who followed you. The next widget called “Events” which can be linked to a SharePoint Calendar in a subsite and show the upcoming events. Lastly, the third widget is a cool Birthday or Work Anniversary widget in which Birthdays / Work Anniversary automatically scroll.
The next set of widgets is even more interesting. The first one on the left is a Widget called “Recognition” which allows you to Praise persons for the help they gave you. The middle widget called “Departmental Requests” is really cool system that allows you to Streamlined Processes and have a support system directly in your Intranet. Based on the Department you select, you have different categories, and the SharePoint Administrator can set who gets the requests for each Category. The Issues are then stored and you can see the status in the “Issue Status” Tab. This is a really cool way to automate processes, and avoid tons of emails. It also helps new employees that don’t know who to email to get help. Lastly , the last widget allows you to set Objectives and Goals for your company, as well as visually show if they look good, ok or bad.
This next group of widgets is all about Social! We have widgets that allow us so showcase the company Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds on our Intranet, so our employees can follow the company as well as see what Marketing is up to on Social!
The next set of widgets are an Employee Suggestion Box, with the data coming from a SharePoint List on ideas to improve the processes in the company! We also have a Special offers widget, in which you can announce things like special offers for your clients or customers. Lastly, a Tip of the Day widget!
We also have a widget for the Quote of the day, which can be automatically updated, as well as the ability to include a Widget with information from an external RSS Feed! Last but not least, we can include a Bing Map Widget on which we can show different locations, for example Office Locations!
We have made the tour of most of the widgets in ROOT, however that’s not all it includes. ROOT also includes a feature I loved for People Search. It includes a modern looking Search Template allowing you to quickly browse employees by using the letters provided as filters, or to search for a Department or Skill. It’s using SharePoint’s powerful search engine in the back, but with an a lot better looking user interface!
In this review we have played with ROOT, an Out of the Box Intranet for SharePoint Online that allows you to create a modern looking widget based Intranet, as well as offer Process Automation Features that allow you to streamline and make employee requests a lot easier. Furthermore the People Search page allows you to easily find employees in the organizations as well as find who can help you on a certain product or skill.
I found most of the widgets answer to real business needs in the enterprise can be very useful for a company looking to deploy an Intranet without waiting a year for the project to be done. ROOT is perfect for companies that are only using SharePoint Online and using the SharePoint Social as their social engine. Since ROOT is really for SharePoint Online, there is no On-Premises version available if a company wants to do an On-Premises / Hybrid deployment with the same look on both systems.
If you’re looking for an Out of the box SharePoint Online Intranet that will offer features right away, make sure to check out ROOT by MessageOps by clicking on the logo below!