The Hub: Five Favourite Features
The Hub is a modern SharePoint Intranet, which we believe is one of the fastest methods of achieving a successful implementation on Microsoft 365. The Hub is delivered by our expert consultants who utilise a number of templates and modules to create a variety of differing designs for the multiple industries that we work with.
Our Marketing Team recently reached out and asked the question “what are you favourite features of The Hub that you don’t get with standard SharePoint?” Soon realising this was a tactic to get me to write a blog, I quickly got to work . . .
The following items are what stand out to me within The Hub, and are items that I use frequently to ensure that a great final product is delivered with excellent customer satisfaction. I am sure I could pick more than just the 5 but that would ruin the alliterative title!
So a running joke for our Development Team (perhaps more of an annoyance) is my love for colour pickers being built into every one of our modules where possible. The reason for this is that it allows for a much more varied approach to design, as you are no longer limited to the standard Primary and Secondary colours that you may upload as part of your SharePoint Theme nestled within the “Change The Look” section.
As part of our scoping session our consultants will be provided with, and review, a set of corporate brand guidelines which frequently provide a set of accent colours that are used outside of the core primary colours associated with the brand and logo. Therefore, the option to introduce these throughout the site provides a much more engaging Intranet.
As an example, AMT Evolve have worked hard to produce and improve their Tiles Modules, which is based on the classic Promoted Links webpart used frequently on classic SharePoint sites. There are a large number of options within this app that enables a different look and feel for each intranet e.g. colour, icons, text size, images (including GIFS) and tile size to name a few.
Our client are always intrigued to see and work with the number of options that we have, that allow for the teams to become a lot more creative for the final product.
Our most popular module is Mandatory Read. This application is used to track and trace (done properly!) the users who have read and agreed to specific documentation within the organisation, in most instances this is policies. This module is quite often a piece that makes The Hub an Intranet product that stands out from its competitors and is often purchased as a standalone piece as well.
The Mandatory Read Module will present documents to defined end users and groups, allowing them to click to open these and read them. Only once opened does the user then get the ability to mark that they have read the document, adding this to a background list and removing the document from their view. Options are available to completely hide the module were there to be no documents or to change the colour if the box remains in view for site alignment purposes. The ability to alter a part of the site depending on the signed in user offers an element of personalisation, and also ensures that important documents are not missed, as users are a lot more likely to take notice of something that appears infrequently and changes the view they are used to seeing.
As the data is stored in SharePoint Lists, it enables a set of reports to be ran against it. Currently Power BI reports are offered, but as our modules are always updating we may see the development of further applications that allow embedding of these graphs and charts, without breaking the bank for Power BI Pro Licences.
In its simplest form the AMT Discovery Module is a web part that can display the contents of lists and libraries within a page with an improved design, search functionality and additional slide out panels for further information.
The available configuration options for this module makes it one of our most adaptable pieces, which is why it ranks highly for me. Want to create a Location Finder, then use Discovery. Want to create a Classifieds System, then use Discovery. Want to create a Product Catalogue, Innovations Centre, Shopping Trolley or Knowledge Base , then use Discovery – need I go on?
Discovery is another module that we see clients purchasing independently of The Hub to, due to its uniqueness and versatility. As this works with any SharePoint List and Library, it provides opportunities to tie together existing systems that are driven by Power Automate and Power Apps and provide a great user interface for this.
Did I mention you can include ratings in the app to?
Page Pop Up
A new module was recently created with one of our long term clients, allowing for a pop up modal dialog box to appear with embedded messages, images, documents and videos.
I really like our Page Pop Up Module as it provides an additional piece of site real estate for the communications team to deliver critical messages and announcements, without impacting the well thought through design of the core Intranet landing page. I am also appreciative of this being an item that can simply be closed at the press of a button, as opposed to enforcing users to wait for it to fade away – as in my opinion the latter approach provides barriers to user adoption.
Other features includes are the ability to define a length of time that it will remain on screen for (if the close button is not pressed), provide links to where the content has come from so that it can be closed and read at a later date and the use of browser cookies to ensure that once it has appeared for a user then it will not appear for them again. This is easily administrated as all content is neatly managed in a standard SharePoint List.
There is not a lot more to say about the Page Pop Up Module as is does exactly what the name suggests, but I feel that the simplicity of apps like these are what make them stand out.
Another of our client favourites, as this is such an important feature for any and every Intranet product. Working with the SharePoint User Profiles, data can be displayed onto a page which is searchable so that the relevant contact is readily available at the click of a button.
The Staff Directory or, otherwise known as Phonebook Module, has a number of configuration elements to enable a design that is encompassing with your Intranet – remember the Colour Pickers? They exist here to!
Lots of content configuration options are also available, such as:
- Custom Search Properties
- Custom Refiners
- Custom Filters (department, job title, email domain)
- Properties that are displayed
We have seen our AMT Phonebook Module used for a lot more than just a contact page also. On a few occasions we have worked with consultancy organisations who require content to be filtered based on unique user properties like expertise and language. This allows the applications to become a tool to assist with project resourcing. Again the possibilities are endless, as any property you want to define for your users can be displayed, searched and filtered within our module.
Bonus Feature: The People
So those of you that have go this far can see that I could not just limit myself to 5 sections. However, this element is not a functional application piece of The AMT Hub, but is our most important asset and the one item that I strongly believe clients are buying into when they select our Intranet – and that is the Team that is behind it.
AMT Evolve pride themselves on working with organisations, and partnering with them to create the best Intranet for their business, using the technology and platforms that are readily available. As an organisation we enjoy celebrating successes with our customers, and are always available to help, support, guide and educate.
Competitors may be able to replicate some of the features and functionality of our applications, but our consulting methodologies, development methodologies and the way we work WITH YOU will always be a unique feature – why not come find out for yourself?