Can you use SharePoint as an intranet?

SharePoint’s recent innovations, including attractive modern page designs and layouts, site templates, the ‘look book’, plus lots of enhanced web parts mean its functionality is better than ever. It’s easy to create, schedule, publish, and manage content which makes SharePoint out of the box a great intranet platform for HR and comms, with minimum deployment effort for IT.

With a 190 million users across 200,000+ organizations and over 85% of Fortune 500 companies, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan, Unilever, and ExxonMobil, it’s fair to say you can use SharePoint as an intranet.

Microsoft’s roadmap is ambitious, fast-moving, and continuously improving, so making a decision to deploy your intranet on Microsoft 365, especially if you have ambitions to incorporate AI and generative AI tools like Copilot, has many advantages.

Let’s take a look at some of our favorite SharePoint features…


The news feed capabilities are more advanced than ever. With a simple approvals process built in, plus attractive page designs that use images, space, and highlights effectively – creating pages and news posts is straightforward.

Every news item is a fully featured SharePoint page, making it simple to add rich functionality via web parts.  Content editors can also schedule news to be published on a pre-set date.

News can be incorporated from other sites and content editors can setup audience targeting with metadata topics.  Users can opt in to groups based on interests, department/role and location etc., to get this news in their feed.

It’s easy to set up ‘organization news sites’ to aggregate news in a central location, which is great for identifying authoritative news sources. You can also boost news to push content to the hero web part, which once read, will automatically be demoted.

With six ‘email ready’ templates, with Made-for-email webparts only in your webpart picker, it’s easy to send a full news post via email so recipients can see the article without leaving their inbox.


SharePoint takes full advantage of the powerful search capabilities from Microsoft 365 Search. End users can search for documents in Teams as well as content published in SharePoint, Stream, Viva and Power BI, which is where SharePoint has an advantage over third-party intranet providers.

Supported via Microsoft Graph connectors, federated search even enables Microsoft Search to index third-party sources, such as from Salesforce or ServiceNow, and present the results within a SharePoint search or within their own refiner tab.

The search interface in SharePoint makes helpful suggestions as you type, even suggests spelling corrections in the results. There are multiple ways to filter search by type and date. Plus, with a little configuration, users can search within a hub, so results are scoped to only sites associated with that hub. Or if you need a customized search experience, use the PnP Modern Search solution to create highly flexible and personalized search-based experiences in minutes.

Viva Connections

You can add SharePoint directly into Microsoft Teams with Viva Connections. Appearing as a branded app, it extends SharePoint’s own functionality with new card experiences.

The most powerful appeal of a ‘SharePoint plus Viva Connections’ intranet is everything being integrated into Microsoft 365.

Microsoft Lists

Microsoft Lists is a highly versatile tool that fills a gap for ad-hoc data collation when it’s not worth building a full app, but something is needed with more structure than the usual Office tools or replying to an email.

What elevates Lists from a simple ‘spreadsheet’ is that columns can be styled in very versatile ways, for example tags can appear as color-coded labels, people names include photos and a link to profiles, and images appear as useful thumbnails.

Furthermore, use the new forms experience in Microsoft Lists to collect the information you need without overexposing the entire list.


Its interoperability and integration with the other Microsoft 365 products, namely Teams and Outlook, make SharePoint easy to pick up and run with. The integration with the rest of the M365 suite, particularly Teams, is one of the biggest benefits of choosing SharePoint as your intranet.

Power Apps can be embedded on a SharePoint page and made to work well on mobile too. This is an enormously versatile feature, giving a high level of functionality without requiring significant coding skills. Power Apps can be delivered on SharePoint pages, in Teams, as Dashboard Cards and on mobile too.

Plus, there are several hundred connectors that support data exchange with other services, such as Box, Google Drive, Oracle, Stripe and Zendesk.

Finally, there is the full-development route using APIs and SharePoint Framework (SPFx). This is a mature and flexible option that overcomes many problems of the past, where customizations were often at the mercy of Microsoft’s changes.

Due to the widespread availability of APIs for most major platforms, committing to SharePoint as an intranet you’ll rarely find yourself lost for integration options.


SharePoint Online metadata plays a crucial role in enhancing collaboration, searchability, and information management within your organization.

Metadata enriches your content by adding descriptive information such as file names, titles, authors, creation dates, and keywords. So, when end users search for documents, SharePoint leverages this metadata to provide more accurate and relevant results.

Another plus point about SharePoint’s metadata is it allows you to categorize and classify content systematically. Taxonomies (formal classification systems) and folksonomies (informal user-driven classifications) help you to structure and organize information effectively.

Different teams or individuals can create custom views based on specific metadata. For example, marketing might focus on campaign-related files, while HR focuses on employee records.


SharePoint Online boasts robust security features that help safeguard your data and ensure secure collaboration. Here are some key aspects:

When you store data in SharePoint and OneDrive for Microsoft 365, you remain the owner of the data.

Using Two-Factor Authentication Microsoft 365, you can prevent unauthorized access and mitigate against compromised passwords. Use Microsoft Intune to block or limit access on unmanaged devices (e.g., airport or hotel kiosks).

And create policies to sign users out of Microsoft 365 web sessions after periods of inactivity.

With inherent security features such as advanced data encryption, user authentication, and data loss prevention SharePoint Online’s multi-level security infrastructure provides a strong foundation for protecting your data.

Web parts

The ubiquity of SharePoint means that there are many web parts available on GitHub which address some of the shortfalls of SharePoint. These are free but unsupported, which may put you off if you’re an SME but may be happier to use if you have in-house IT skills.

Whilst we are huge advocates of SharePoint there are some notable gaps. For example, there’s no way to see all of your SharePoint lists and libraries, Outlook and Exchange calendars, Planner plans, and iCalendar feeds in one place. Or find colleagues easily in SharePoint or Teams.

If you’re an IT admin, you can’t manage Microsoft 365 groups and Teams, SharePoint groups, and Azure AD groups and departments in centralized way.

Plus, if you’ve adopted Viva and want to share announcements from Viva in SharePoint, you can’t.

That’s where our handy apps come in. Built specifically for the modern SharePoint experience, they’re easy to deploy, flexible, and seamlessly integrate within your Microsoft 365 environment.

Let’s take a look…

Calendar Overlay

Say goodbye to managing multiple calendars in different places and hello to a single pane of glass experience with Calendar Overlay.

Overlay unlimited calendars in SharePoint and Teams

Overlay as many SharePoint lists and libraries, Microsoft 365 Groups and Exchange calendars, and Planner plans as you need.

Personalized and relevant

Overlay your personal calendar in addition to configured calendars as well as hide calendars for a personalized and relevant experience.

Multiple calendar views

View events in a monthly, weekly, daily list, or agenda view and with configurable and default options available.

Staff Directory

Fed up with not ever being able to find or connect with colleagues in native SharePoint? With Cloudwell’s Staff Directory, those days are over.

View your directory in SharePoint and Teams

Get connected, boost your productivity, and foster collaboration within your organization in Microsoft Teams and SharePoint.

Dynamic search and filtering

Search and filter team members based on department, job title, location, and more. Find the right person quickly and easily, saving valuable time and effort and simplifying collaboration.

Custom sorting

Sort team members based on your preference. Want to see team members alphabetically, by their role, or by their department? No problem! Our intuitive sorting feature helps you find the information you need in a way that works best for you.

Team Members

If you’re a SharePoint admin you’ll be pleased to know that you no longer have to manually edit team lists in SharePoint with Cloudwell’s Team Members app.

As users join or leave departments, projects, or any other criteria that define a dynamic group in AAD, our Team Members app updates automatically.

Display unlimited users in SharePoint and Teams

Visualize as many members of your Microsoft 365 groups, SharePoint groups, Teams, and Active Directory departments as you need.

Multiple views

View your users with various display options and color configurations to match your brand.

Viva Announcements

If you’re one of the many frustrated with not being able to display Viva Connections Announcements in SharePoint or Teams, we’ve got the tool for you!

Our Viva Announcements web part and full-page app enables you to bring Viva Connections Announcements directly into any SharePoint site and right within your Teams workspace, ensuring your colleagues are always informed, no matter where they are.

Multiple view style options

Select from a number of view styles that best fits how you would like to display announcements on your site, allowing for a personalized and brand-aligned presentation.

Native Viva Connections experience

Experience Viva Connections announcements in their full glory. Our app retains all the native features, ensuring you have a consistent and enriched user experience tailored to your organizational needs.

Viva Connections announcements at your fingertips

Click on announcements to display the complete information and more.

See all announcements at once

Have a native experience where you can see all Active and Dismissed announcements in one place.

Multilingual support

The app supports 22 languages and works with your regional settings without any additional configuration.


Modern, simple, and flexible SharePoint apps

Built for a modern experience, use all of Cloudwell’s apps in SharePoint as a web part or in Microsoft Teams as a channel tab.