BUSINESS

Installation Guide

Our installation guide will help you to setup your intranet and connect it to Microsoft Teams. If you need help, please consult our partners.

Pre-Requirements

The following requirements are needed to configure the intranet:

  • An Office 365 company account.
  • Privileges to create new SharePoint SiteCollections.
  • Privileges to create/migrate SharePoint HubSites.
  • Privileges to create a SharePoint TermStore.
  • Privileges to create a Team within Microsoft Teams.
  • Basic knowledge of PowerShell.
  • Basic knowledge of Microsoft Azure.

Create a HubSite

In the past, many intranets were built as a single large site collection with multiple levels of sub-sites underneath. The modern infrastructure can be flatter, with each department as its own site collection, but connected together through a SharePoint hub site.

Key features of a modern hub site — which make it an ideal starting point for an intranet — include:

  • Cross-site navigation:  consistent top navigation among associated sites
  • Content roll-up:  aggregated news and content among associated sites
  • Consistent look-and-feel: a common theme / branding for associated sites
  • Scoped search:  search content within associated sites

Now let’s walk through the process of creating a new, modern intranet in SharePoint. (Note that for the sake of length and readability, we’ll be publishing this process in three parts here on the blog. The entire guide will be available as a handy download, however, once the series has concluded!)

To start, create a new SharePoint site using a modern communication site design.

Creating a new SharePoint site

Once the site has been created, it can be converted into a hub site by using SharePoint Online Management Shell (aka, PowerShell for SharePoint in Office 365). A SharePoint administrator or above in Office 365 should run a PowerShell cmdlet similar to this:

Register-SPOHubSite https://contoso.sharepoint.com/sites/aisConnect

(Substitute the aisConnect URL with the full-path address of the site that you want to convert into a hub site.)

Once the site has been converted into a hub site, you can then add a logo, update the theme, and edit the global navigation. Navigate to the site, select the gear icon and choose Hub site settings to add a logo and modify the hub name.

Edit hub site settings screenshot

Select the gear icon and choose Change the look to change the theme. You can choose a preconfigured theme, or a custom one that has been made available to site owners. (For more information on theming, see SharePoint Site Theming.)

Click Apply once you have chosen your theme. The theme will be inherited by all of the sites associated with the hub.

Edit theme settings screenshot

To edit the top global navigation (that like your theme, all associated sites will inherit), click the Edit link next to it. There you can add, edit, and move links around as needed. (For more information about editing navigation, see Customize the navigation on your SharePoint site.) A sample hub navigation is shown below, with various departments grouped by team type:

global navigation screenshot
global navigation screenshot

In this sample infrastructure, each department has its own modern communication site joined to the hub. Content within the departmental sites will be rolled up to the hub site as needed.

Information Architecture

To optimize content rollup capabilities and search refinements throughout the associate sites, it’s important to maintain consistent values to filter and sort by. This can be accomplished by utilizing:

  • Managed metadata taxonomy term store for term sets
  • Content type hub for site columns that reference those term sets, and content types with those site columns
  • Managed properties mapped to those site columns

Go to Site Settings > Term store management (under Site Administration) to create term sets that contain the main terms that you will want your users to filter and sort by. Here is an example that includes terms for each department within the Support Teams grouping.

Taxomony term store screenshot

To build out the custom site columns and content types that your sites will use, go to your tenant’s Content Type Hub, with the URL similar to this:

https://contoso.sharepoint.com/sites/contentTypeHub

(Substitute the contoso.sharepoint.com part of the URL with the address of your tenant.)

Before building out your site columns and content types, think about the types of content that you want to roll up throughout sites in your hub. For example, we may want to filter documents by type, subject, and/or another indicator for visibility. We may also want to filter news pages by department. The columns you will want to filter by should be built first.

In your content type hub, go to Site Settings > Site columns (under Web Designer Galleries). Click Create to make a new site column.

In the example below, the column will be for users to select a department from a term set, so Managed Metadata is the chosen type. It’s also a good idea to put any new columns in a custom group, so that they can be easily found later.

content columns screenshot

For this column, users should be able to select multiple departments, so we’ve checked Allow multiple values. Under Term Set Settings, the appropriate departmental term set is chosen.

term set settings screenshot

Click OK once you have set up your site column as needed, then continue adding site columns for the various fields that you want to filter and sort content by. This example shows the multiple columns we created for this group of sites in the hub:

Site columns example screenshot

Now that the site columns are created, we need to create the content types that will use those columns. Go to Site Settings > Site content types (under Web Designer Galleries). Click Create to make a new site content type.

In this example, we create a custom content type that inherits from Site Page (which is a page within a modern site). As before, it’s a good idea to place custom content types in a custom group, for easier findability.

new site content type screenshot

Once you have created your content type, scroll down to the Columns section and click Add from existing site columns. Choose the custom site columns you want to be able to filter the page by, then click OK when done.

Add columns screenshot

Once all your site columns are added and you are ready to make this content type available to all sites in your tenant, click Manage publishing for this content type.

Site content type screenshot

Publishing the content type will allow it to be used in any of the sites in your hub.

Content Type Publishing screenshot

Repeat similar steps for each content type that you want to use in the sites in your hub. Another example for a custom document content type is shown below:

Custom document example screenshot

Depending on when the service runs, you may have to wait a bit for the content type hub to push the content types and site columns down to all your site collections.

Add Departments (optional)

In this sample infrastructure, each department will have a communication site to share with the entire organization, and an internal team site. Create a new SharePoint site using a modern communication site design.

SharePoint Communication Site screenshot

In the newly created site, select the gear icon and choose Site information. Here you can edit the logo, name, description, and choose the hub site to associate with.

SharePoint Edit Site Information screenshot

After clicking Save, the site should inherit the theme and the top navigation from the hub site. Click Edit to edit the home page and add content as needed, and click Publish when you are finished. The example below shows a page with text web parts, a quick links web part with custom images, and a people web part. For more information on editing modern site pages, see Add or remove columns on a page, and Using web parts on SharePoint Online pages.

Sample SharePoint HR Site

After the site has the custom content types from the content type hub, you can set up libraries to use those types. Select the gear icon and choose Site information. Click View all site settings. Click Site content types (under Web Designer Galleries) and verify that your custom content types are there.

SharePoint Site Content screenshot

To go to the Documents library in your site, select the gear icon, choose Site contents, then click on the Documents library.

SharePoint subsites screenshot

In the Documents library, click the gear icon, then choose Library settings. Click Advanced settings, then select Yes under Allow management of content types. Click OK to apply the changes.

Advanced Settings screenshot

On the Library settings page, click Add from existing site content types (under Content Types).

Content types screenshot

Choose your custom document content type, then click OK.

Select Content Type screenshot

Back on the Library settings page, click Change new button order and default content type (under Content Types). Select the position for your custom document content type to be 1, then uncheck the Visible box for the default Document content type. Click OK when done.

Content Type Order screenshot

Now that the custom document content type is associated with the library, all documents uploaded to this library can be automatically associated with the specific department for this site by default. Back on the Library settings page, under Columns, click on the site column for the department. (In this example, the column is AIS Support Team.)

SharePoint site columns screenshot

On the Edit Column page, scroll down to the Default Value field, and choose the appropriate department from the term set. In this case, the site is Human Resources, so that was the term chosen. Click OK when done.

Default Value screenshot

You can follow similar steps to add the custom content type for pages to the Site Pages library in the site.

  1. Select the gear icon, choose Site contents, then click on the Site Pages library.
  2. Click the gear icon, then choose Library settings.
  3. Click Add from existing site content types (under Content Types).
  4. Choose your custom page content type, then click OK.
  5. Back on the Library settings page, under Columns, click on the site column for the department.
  6. On the Edit Column page, scroll down to the Default Value field, and choose the appropriate department from the term set.
  7. Click OK when done.

(Note: For best results, you should not change the new button order and default content type for Site Pages.)


screenshot

Add Content for Testing

Now that you set up your SharePoint libraries to use custom content types, you can add content. Go to the Documents library and upload a few documents to the library. For each document, edit the properties and choose any appropriate values for your custom site columns.

In the example below, All isselected for the AIS Office Location field, Human Resources is selected for the AIS Support Team (department) field, and the value for Show on AIS Connect Home is set to Yes.

Adding content to SharePoint

Modern site pages (including News) can also be added as custom content types, with some additional steps. Go to the Home page of your department site and click + New, then choose News post.

Adding News posts to SharePoint

Add a title, images, web parts, etc. with the content of your News post, and click Publish when you are finished. (For more information on editing modern site pages, see Add or remove columns on a page, and Using web parts on SharePoint Online pages.)

Sample news post in SharePoint

Navigate to your Site Pages library. (Select the gear icon, choose Site contents, then click on the Site Pages library.) Select the page you just published, then in the Properties card on the right side, click Edit all.

Site pages screenshot
Content properties screenshot

Change the Content Type from Site Page to your custom page content type.

Changing a page type in SharePoint

The page will reload, with the additional fields for your custom page content type. Select the managed metadata for your custom site columns that’s most appropriate for your news article, then click Save.

In the example below, we selected News Page for the AIS Page Type field, All for the AIS Office Location field, and Human Resources for the AIS Support Team (department) field.

Custom page content type options in SharePoint

You can wait for the content of your news page to be indexed by the settings for your server, or you can index it sooner through Library Settings. While in the Site Pages library, click the gear icon, then choose Library settings. Click Advanced settings. When the settings page loads, click the Reindex Document Library button.

Reindex library

After you confirm that you want to reindex the library, give the search system some time to finish its indexing. Once your content has been indexed, it can be shown throughout sites in your tenant, based on the managed property associated with your custom content type site columns. This can be done through the Highlighted content web part.

Highlighted content in SharePoint

Edit the home page of your hub site, then add a Highlighted content web part. In the web part properties page, you can choose to search content from a specific site, all sites, or all sites just within the site hub.

All sites in the hub

You can choose to search a specific type of content as well. Your custom content types are not available to choose from in this section, but you can filter specific site columns from your custom content types in a different section.

Searching for content types in SharePoint

To do that, in the Filter and Sort section, choose Managed property for Filter.

Filter and Sort managed properties

Under Find a managed property, type in the name of your custom site column that you want to search by. The select box under Managed property name should be populated with matching results. In this case, because the custom column Show on AIS Connect Home is the column desired, Show was entered, and managed properties that match that term appear in the select box.

Filter and sort managed properties by name

Since the desired outcome in this case is to show documents from all sites in the hub that have been specifically set to show on the site hub home page, the ShowonAISConnectHomeOWSBOOL property is selected, the operand is set to Equals, and the value is set to 1 (1 == True).

Custom managed property search

You can choose different sorting options and layouts. In this case, Most recent was set for Sort by, and Cards were chosen for the Layout., and 3 was set for Show this many items.

Layout options

Once all the properties for the Highlighted content web part have been set, you should see your changes reflected in the web part on the page.

Finished content

In the example shown below, a Highlighted content web part is configured to show all news pages tagged as belonging to the HR department.

Highlighted Content web part

The AIS Page custom content type is configured to inherit from Site Page, so any page whose properties have been changed to an AIS Page content type will count as Type = Pages in the Highlighted content web part. If pages were created as News pages first, they will also count as Type = News.

The Managed property in this example corresponds to the custom AIS Support Team site column, and looks for items that have an AIS Support Team tagged with Human Resources.

Completed Intranet with content

The Highlighted content web part is a versatile way to roll up content throughout all sites in your hub, especially when filtering by associated metadata. This makes it ideal to use in intranets, where you may want to get content from throughout the entire intranet, but only show content specific to certain departments within that departmental site. See Use the Highlighted content web part for more information about how to configure this web part.

In conclusion, a robust and beautiful corporate intranet can be built out-of-the-box in Office 365, simply by taking advantage of the tools and features available with SharePoint Modern Sites:

  • Modern communication sites connected to a main hub site
  • Managed metadata taxonomy term store for term sets
  • Content type hub for site columns that reference those term sets, and content types with those site columns
  • Managed properties mapped to those site columns
  • Modern SharePoint web parts

Add your Branding

Make a big impression with this clean, modern, and mobile-friendly site. Use it to communicate information to people inside or outisde your team. Use this link to create your UI Theme easy and fast: https://fabricweb.z5.web.core.windows.net/pr-deploy-site/refs/heads/master/theming-designer/index.html

Connect to MS Teams

Create a new team within Microsoft Teams that will host your intranet. This teams should have a compelling name e.g. your companies name, name of your intranet. For example "Contoso". Within the general channel of the Contoso Team you add a tab by adding the URL of your HubSite. Make the Contoso Team available for everyone in your company. You are ready to go!

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