In the past two years, be it a simple transition of ‘My Sites’ to ‘Delve’, or integration of new apps like Flow, Power BI, Forms, etc., SharePoint online has gone through many changes.
If you are the one who is not able to keep up with all the rapid changes going into Microsoft Cloud infrastructure or still reluctant to cloud, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, we are going to talk about the advantages of Microsoft Cloud (specifically SharePoint Online) as a SharePoint Intranet enterprise and how Saketa Intranet is using it.
Saketa Intranet as a SharePoint Intranet Enterprise Solution
As the name suggests, it’s a SharePoint Intranet enterprise offering on SharePoint online (coming soon for SP on-premise as well) from Saketa, but what makes it stand out from all the other Intranet offerings? To answer this, let’s see what Microsoft SharePoint Online is.
“SharePoint Online is a cloud-based service that helps organizations share and collaborate with colleagues, partners, and customers. With SharePoint Online, you can access internal sites, documents, and other information from anywhere – in the office, at home, or from a mobile device.”
Since Saketa Intranet is based on SharePoint Online, it’s obvious that it is:
1. Cloud-based solution: Wait, if any solution that runs on a cloud-based service is considered as a cloud-based solution, then, what makes Saketa Intranet special? Exactly, this was the same question brought to the table when Saketa was architecting the intranet solution. So, let’s figure out what is a cloud solution:
“In the world of cloud computing, the cloud is used as a metaphor for “the Internet”, thus a cloud-based solution is referred to as a solution (could be application, service or resource) available to users on demand via the cloud (i.e. via the Internet).”
Saketa Intranet is developed using the latest development model offered by Microsoft for SharePoint Online i.e. SPFx (SharePoint Framework) for a standard SharePoint Intranet enterprise. All the components of Saketa Intranet are stored on public CDN (Content Delivery Network), available 24×7 over the internet. So, users can access the intranet whenever they want.
2. Collaborative solution: A wide range of Saketa Intranet widgets allow organizations to collaborate in an easy way. For example, widgets like ‘Quick Contacts’, ‘My Team’, ‘Groups’ etc. help employees quickly find other team members, while widgets like ‘Latest News’, ‘Events’, ‘Media Gallery’ etc. help organizations share information quickly with all the employees, or widgets like ‘Quick Poll’, ‘Feedback’ etc. help organizations understand their employees better. Saketa Intranet offers a wide range of widgets- From managing documents like ‘Recent Documents’, ‘Trending Documents’ or a simple representation of any document library to social widgets like ‘Yammer’, ‘Twitter’, ‘Birthdays’, ‘Employee of the Month (Spotlight)’ etc., to ‘MS Outlook Integration’, ‘MS Teams Integration’, or the latest edition of ‘Groups Widget’, which integrates with O365 Groups to represent Conversation, Threads and Replies. It’s a one-stop solution– a complete SharePoint Intranet enterprise requirement.
3. Internal Sites: Saketa Intranet offers a wide range of widgets that are entirely configurable from a site collection to a subsite or to a specific list or library. Thus, Saketa Intranet is easy to configure for entire organizations or to a specific department. That’s not all, Saketa Intranet offers flexibility to users to configure an Organization-wide intranet and a Department-wide intranet on a single site or multiple subsites (providing right permissions to the user). Also, Saketa Intranet is designed in such a way that, side admin can easily configure the data sources while adding a widget with some simple clicks. Also, Saketa Intranet is intelligent to validate the configured source, meaning, if it’s not compatible, it sends an information message to the admin asking to configure the right source and informs what the issue is with the current source.
4. Mobile First: Saketa Intranet is using MS Fabric UI, the same technology used by Microsoft to provide a responsive design. Each and every component of Saketa Intranet, the client-side web part (SPFx web part), the entire range of widgets and the Application Customizer (SPFx extension) are completely based on Fabric UI components or styles. In fact, the theming engine used in Application Customizer is derived using SharePoint Online theming engine, which ultimately uses the Fabric UI theming engine.
So far, whatever we discussed is based on the SharePoint Online definition we discussed above to show how much Saketa Intranet is compatible with SharePoint Online. Now, let us discuss some of the capabilities/advantages of using Saketa Intranet.
Saketa Intranet Components
Ok, we’ve discussed what is SPO and how Saketa Intranet is taking advantage of it. But the question remains unclear- what are the components of Saketa Intranet and how one can use them? Saketa Intranet is composed of three main components- ‘Saketa Intranet Manager’, ‘OOTB Navigation Customizer’ and the most important component of all, ‘Widgets’. Let’s talk about each of them in detail:
Saketa Intranet Manager (SIM)
Layout Manager is the heart and soul of Saketa Intranet. SIM is a client-side web part and is the starting point for building your intranet. It is purely used to design and configure the intranet, in the way your organization requires. SIM contains the following features:
- Layout Manager: A layout manager is used to define the layout for the intranet. It is shipped in such a way that a widget can occupy the complete page width or can divide it into a maximum of three parts. This means, using the layout manager, you can have a single widget in a row or a maximum of three widgets in a single row. Using layout manager provides flexibility to organizations to control the amount of information they want to display to the user.
- Theming Engine: SIM consists of a theming engine, which is used to style the intranet component. The theming engine contains customizable Primary Color, Secondary Color, Accent Color and Notification color. Once theming is applied to SIM, all the widgets will automatically pick the theme from SIM and applies it.
- Widgets Configuration: As said earlier, it is the most important component of an intranet. The widget configuration is used to define all the configurations related to the widget like Data Source (list/library or external source e.g. Twitter page), the view from where data should be picked, size of the widget (either full, wide or normal based on the layout selected) and the most important, placing a widget i.e. applying a widget from the range of available widgets.
Navigation customizer is a component of intranet used to do a makeover of SharePoint default navigation. It changes the monochrome OOTB navigation of SharePoint and provides flexibility to brand it, as required by the organization. The three main components of navigation customizer are Site Logo, Navigation (build using OOTB navigation) and Search bar.
A widget in Saketa Intranet is the smallest block, that is highly responsive in design and perform a specific set of functionalities. Since widgets are a part of SIM, and layout manager allocates the area to render widgets, a widget comes in four designs i.e. Full Size (occupy full SIM area), Wide Size (occupies 66.66% of SIM area), Normal Size (occupies 33.33% of SIM area) and finally, Mobile Size (based on mobile device). Saketa Intranet offers a wide range of widgets to pick from, under multiple categories like Productivity, Analytics, Collaboration, Social Integration, Utilities, O365 workspace etc. One can pick from the bundle Saketa is providing or can choose from the available widgets.
That’s a lot about Saketa Intranet. Wait, what? Didn’t you get what you are looking for? Oh, yes, the technical specification of Saketa Intranet. Let’s bring some light to the technical part of Saketa Intranet.
Before jumping to technical specification, let’s have a background of Saketa Intranet: Saketa is working on an intranet build using SharePoint Framework (SPFx) from the time Microsoft announces SPFx in August 2016. Saketa Intranet has gone through a lot of improvising as the framework itself is developing and maturing. By the time SPFx reaches General Availability (GA), the first version of Saketa Intranet is ready to ship. The Saketa Intranet made its first public appearance in “SharePoint Fest, Washington DC” held during April 17-20, 2017, where it marked its excellence through its ‘out-of-the-box features’.
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