Like we have discussed earlier, Valo offers a great foundation for your organization’s intranet. But how can you get the most out of your Valo installation? Here are some battle-proven tips that you can start using right away!
1. Modifications to Valo Intranet’s search result sources
Valo Intranet’s installation by default creates you a new result source, with a few tweaks that we’ve found to work for the vast majority of our customers. However, that is still often just a starting point – it’s a good idea to extend the preconfigured result source, by adding any sources that might be relevant to your environment.
Since a lot of Valo’s functionality is using search index as a data source, modifying result sources is a powerful way to improve information’s findability. In other words, making sure the end-users find relevant information when they need it.
In case your normal intranet shows a lot of old data from outside your intranet, limiting returned results to only that site collection might be a good idea. This can be done by modifying the result source to include the intranet’s url as a Path-variable. That way the contents on your other SharePoint sites don’t show up in your intranet’s regular search, which often improves content discoverability a lot!
People search might get better after some tweaking, too! By default Valo’s people search page (in the search center) works as it works in out-of-the-box SharePoint: it searches all the profiles, that the user who executes the search, is allowed to see. The home page’s People Finder uses the out-of-the-box people result source, too. Most of the time (especially in SharePoint Online) that also contains external users, and this means that it’s possible to get unrelevant, unnecessary or even downright useless results. That’s why it’s a good idea to filter the results by either modifying the People results page and People Finder’s properties, or by creating a new results source and configure the search functionalities to be using that one.
2. Making use of Valo’s home page functionality for creating organizational/departmental/local intranets
Valo Intranet’s home page looks phenomenal, and is by default full of cool and useful functionality, so it makes for a perfect starting point. But did you know, that you can use most of those features on other pages, too?
Features such as news carousel, our people, or other content liftups can be easily configured to appear on almost any page of your Valo Intranet!
That means, that it’s convenient and fast to configure additional front pages, if for example some departments would like to have a site on their own.
For complex scenarios, you can even have multiple news centers and show content from one or more of them on departmental home pages.
For those familiar with Microsoft’s new Modern Team Sites and their news functionality, this might sound familiar. A lot like with those sites and “SharePoint Home”, you can achieve that local, personalized and targeted news -experience – just with Valo it’s a lot more configurable, and targeted not only by site and permissions, but by user’s properties as well! Oh, and it looks good.
And talking about targeted content… If your departments or subsidiaries require a bit more than just a home in the site structure, you can always use Valo to install multiple, partially independent intranet sections, and only show the most relevant content from each to the end-users! Valo Multilingual makes it easy to have multiple, somewhat independent sites, which then share some of the content to offer the end-users a convenient way to access and view content both on global/group/shared level, but also for subsidiaries or departments, all targeted and tailored for them.
3. Supporting mobile workloads with a combination of Valo’s beautifully responsive Teamwork add-on and Valo Mobile App
Supporting the mobile workforce is one of the hottest trends of the century.
Non-standardized client devices place huge burden on IT to offer them access to company resources, and ensure satisfactory user experience for clients of varying screen size and performance.
To that end, Valo offers the end-users a streamlined, responsive intranet with multiple usability improvements over standard SharePoint or most other solutions. This is combined with a mobile app (available for iOS and Android), with optional push notifications to keep your users up-to-speed with whatever that’s happening in the organization! For external and internal collaboration alike, Valo’s Teamwork -add-on offers a responsive dashboard for users of any client devices to access their different collaboration channels (SharePoint Workspaces or Team Sites, Yammer, Microsoft Teams or others!)
4. Using Valo My Tools to promote certain sites, pages and services to users
Do your end-users grind their teeth because your organization’s group policies forbid them from saving any links, anywhere, ever? No bookmarks, no shortcuts, anything? Or is your intranet’s home page set to be the forced starting page for all the end-users, but pretty much all of them will just browse somewhere else without paying attention to the “corporate home page”? Yeah, you’re not the only one with those issues – but no worries, Valo’s here for the rescue!
With Valo, one can save their favorite links directly to their intranet’s top navigation bar. And you don’t even have to leave it for each user to figure out what to save there themselves – the organization can also force or offer some links there in addition to users’ personal links. What better way to make sure all of the employees can remember how to access that expenses form? And this even makes the home page relevant for all of your end-users – no need to remember the addresses of 15 different internal systems – just click “Home”, and your links will be there!
You can find more information about the My Tools functionality from the feature presentation video:
5. Make your organization more transparent and break the silos between departments with Valo’s enhanced social features
One of the often overlooked features of an intranet is the possibility of breaking down the silos of the organization, by showcasing teams’ and employee’s good work and introducing employees to each other.
By default, Valo’s Our People web part showcases the organization’s new employees on the home page of the intranet. However, there are a number of situations when that feature might be tweaked for different uses, like the age-old classic: Employee of the month.
In addition to Our People, a great way to break the barriers inside the organization, is showing off the good work by members of the organization. For that use, Valo’s home-brewed Yammer Praises -highlight works greatly. In larger organizations, this can even be further refined by showing certain Yammer-content on certain departmental subsites or home pages.
And of course, the “must” social features, such as likes and comments are present! Valo also makes it possible to show listings of latest comments and most liked news, to showcase content that created the most engagement.
Have you found new ways to use Valo Intranet? Let us know on Twitter @valointranet / @koskila! Or are you not currently an active user of Valo Intranet? We are available in most markets and in 14 different languages. Contact us to learn more!