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Best practices for SharePoint intranets


The must-have guide to designing and implementing a successful SharePoint intranet, written for a business audience by the world’s intranet experts.

This report shares 25 key practices that help teams to learn from others, avoid pitfalls, and see what great SharePoint intranets look like.

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Product description

The vast majority of corporate intranets are now running on SharePoint, or are moving to it, and this is ushering in a new era for intranets.

But what does a great SharePoint intranet look like? What should be done to ensure project success? This business-focused report, written by the world’s intranet experts, provides SharePoint answers and examples from organisations such as Coca-Cola Enterprises, BDO, Knight Frank, IMF, Standard Chartered Bank and many more.

SharePoint is a hugely powerful product, across a broad range of areas. But is also a complex product, with a steep learning curve and many moving parts.

SharePoint intranets, like the intranets that came before them, are hidden within organisations. This makes it hard for intranet and project teams to see what others have done, and to identify what works (and what doesn’t).

On the other hand, the widespread deployment of SharePoint for the intranet provides a unique opportunity to discern best practices, and learn from others. By ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’, organisations can avoid project risks and maximise the benefits of their SharePoint intranet deployment.

This report shares 25 key insights that have been drawn from real-world SharePoint intranet experiences and projects. These covers seven overall categories:

  • lay the foundations
  • planning your project
  • design your intranet
  • collaboration
  • people and social
  • processes and activities
  • keeping up momentum

For each of the 25 best practices, we provide practical advice, quotes from SharePoint intranet experts, project examples and screenshots.

The purpose of this report is to surface what’s already been done on SharePoint intranets, and to highlight best practices that will have the greatest impact on success.

Hear what this report is all about

Using this report

The best practices are written as bite-sized chunks that can be dipped into as needed. This allows the information to be used in many different ways:

  • See what others have done, by browsing the screenshots and case studies.
  • Get inspiration for your project, uncovering new ideas or approaches that will increase the impact of your SharePoint deployment.
  • Focus on high impact areas, helping you to allocate limited project budgets and resources to have the greatest effect.
  • Avoid common pitfalls, by identifying risks and problems early, and planning the project around them.
  • Address non-technology issues, putting in place the supporting processes and structures to ensure that new functionality will be adopted and used.
  • Use as conversation starters, whether it’s within the team, with stakeholders, or the IT department.
  • Use as evidence, showing your IT team or external implementation partner that it really can be done.
  • Kick off further research, using this report as the starting point for seeking out in-depth answers on key topics.

If you’re deploying a new SharePoint intranet, upgrading to a new version, or benchmarking your current site, this report provides invaluable insight.

Featured organisations

The 130 page report shares insights from organisations around the globe. This includes:

Ausgrid, BDO, Bennett Jones, BUPA Australia, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Commonwealth Bank, COWI, IMF, KiwiBank, Knight Frank, Lundbeck, ONO, Standard Chartered Bank, Stockland, Vancity.

Packed with screenshots, details are also provided on what these organisations did, why they did it, and what the benefits were.

Who this report is for

This is not a technology report that deep-dives into the development and configuration aspects of SharePoint. Instead, the report is for people trying to solve business information problems.

The report is highly relevant for:

  • intranet managers
  • internal communications managers
  • IT managers
  • CIOs
  • SharePoint designers
  • business analysts

(The generous licence means the report can be shared within a single organisation, providing a valuable common talking point for all stakeholders.)

Which SharePoint version?

This report is designed to be relevant regardless of the version of SharePoint you’re using. Most of the examples are drawn from SharePoint 2010 deployments, while other versions are also represented.

Wherever possible, we’ve focused on best practices that are ‘version agnostic’. These fundamental principles should hold true regardless of which version is being used, or migrated to.

Additional information


120 pages


PDF (instant download)




    Very few books on SharePoint show screen shots of intranets to show what is visibly possible. Indeed most books on SharePoint have very little advice specifically on intranet implementation and when working with clients I have had to rely on the annual Intranet Design Award reports from the Nielsen Norman Group for visual case studies.

    To my rescue comes the team from Step Two Designs with Best Practices with SharePoint Intranets. This 132 page report includes almost sixty screen shots taken mainly from recent winners of the Intranet Innovation Awards (IIA).

    As with all Step Two Designs reports the advice is always pragmatic and of immediate value. There are many direct quotes from the intranet managers responsible for the intranets profiled in the report and these provide a validation of the good practice advice. The quality of presentation and the reproduction of the screen shots is excellent.

    This report is about the art of the possible. It is not a deep dive into SharePoint technology but it is about how SharePoint can be used to create visually powerful and operationally functional intranets.



    Being such a huge fan of Step Two’s work I was super excited to be interviewed as part of their Best Practices for SharePoint Intranets report that they have just released. This report, which is well worth the cost by the way, goes through 25 key insights and includes a few words of wisdom from yours truly :)

    The thing that I like about this report, and in fact all of the Step Two content, is that it is balanced, pragmatic and actionable. It comes with a range of insights from understanding SharePoint’s strengths and weaknesses to how collaboration can be part of your Intranet to some insights about the next version of SharePoint. StepTwo, and Dynamic Owl, share the same philosophy when it comes to SharePoint – that business needs and opportunities drive the technology, not the other way around.

    It’s not a technical blue print on how to build an Intranet on SharePoint but talks more about what is possible. I really like the Intranet planning content and the design section has some great examples. It also has some sage like advice on SharePoint social features, how to leverage out of the box functionality and some fantastic advice on change management after launching your Intranet.

    It’s a great read for anyone including consultants, end users, information architects and decision makers. There is far too little information out there on what is needed to create compelling solutions on SharePoint from a business angle so its great to see this report. It also contains some great screenshots of existing SharePoint Intranets to see what is possible and points out many potential pitfalls that you can experience.



    Great report, highly recommend it. Coming in very handy for a business case I need to write.



    The ‘Best Practices for SharePoint intranets’ is a terrific read. Great insights and awareness for all prospective SharePoint buyers. A report all our customers should review.

    It neatly documents the wealth of knowledge available from the SharePoint community, that is otherwise difficult to find in a central location or convey in the short amount of time ‘we’ as consultants get to spend with them.



    Step Two has provided a highly comprehensive guide for anyone looking to understand and experience the benefits of SharePoint intranets. There are lots of different scenarios all unique to each company’s individual needs and goals when considering the best solution for your intranet deployment, but this report provides real-world examples and use cases that any company can relate to.

    Our own client, Stockland Group, is a great example of collaborating with multiple partners to get a social experience by leveraging an existing SharePoint environment. Hats off to Step Two for offering businesses additional clarity around what can sometimes be a very overwhelming journey when exploring a better way to share and collaborate.

Add a review

We believe in allowing our customers to make the most of our reports, which is why we provide a generous “site license” by default. See below for all the details:

Appropriate use

  • You are welcome to make use of the ideas contained within the report to support the management and enhancement of your intranet.
  • Copies of the report may be made, as long as they remain within your business unit.

Intellectual property

  • The screenshots and other source material remain the property of the organisations that provided them, with a license granted to us for use in Step Two Designs materials and presentations.
  • We reserve all other intellectual property rights in the report, including copyright and moral rights.
  • We promise that the use of the report according to the terms of this agreement will not result in the infringement of the rights of any third parties.

Inappropriate use

  • You may not sell, licence or otherwise provide any part of the report to another party.
  • You may not use the report when preparing material for any third party. This includes any contracting or consulting arrangement.
  • If you breach the terms of this agreement, we will sue you for damages, and to prevent the breach.


  • This agreement is governed by New South Wales and Australian law.

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