28 January 2013

SharePoint 2013 Tutorial - Create Small Business Intranet

Peter Kalmstrom imagePeter Kalmstrom, CEO and systems designer of Business Solutions, is a Microsoft certified SharePoint expert, and he has made a series of video demonstrations about SharePoint 2013.

One of these tutorials shows how to create a small business site collection, and it is now published in the Tips section of the website. You can also see it embedded here below.

Contoso Bicycles
As an example of a small business that would benefit from a SharePoint site, Peter takes a company that sells bicycles. It has three departments, Sales, Production and Support, and each department needs their own online area where they can share documents, photos, appointments and tasks. The best solution for this is a SharePoint site collection with three subsites, one for each department.

Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint iconFor the task sharing the app Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint would give a much enhanced value, but we have other demos for that. In this tutorial Peter uses only the built in SharePoint task app.

Why SharePoint?
By using Microsoft SharePoint this company does not restrict itself to a geographical spot, as their intranet can be reached from every computer or device that has an internet connection. Another advantage is the possibility to grow, as it is easy to expand the intranet if needed. And if Contoso Bicycles uses other Microsoft platforms, like Word, PowerPoint, Excel or Access, SharePoint is built for a smooth integration of them.

In the demo Peter uses the Office 365 version of SharePoint 2013 Enterprise, but the process is similar with other SharePoint versions.

Common navigation
As the staff of the three Contoso Bicycle departments collaborate a lot and might need to use each others sites, the site collection Peter creates for them should have a common navigation. This way team members can easily reach the intranet areas for the other two departments.
SharePoint apps icon
Subsites, apps and pages
To build the three department areas of the intranet Peter needs to create three subsites to the root site of the site collection. Then he adds apps for the requested sharing of photos, appointments and tasks. The document library does not have to be added, as SharePoint adds it automatically.
Each departments request three different pages on their subsite, for progress, problems and plans, so these also have to be created.

Marketing website
Contoso Bicycles has a website with information about the products, and it is convenient for the staff to be able to reach that site from within the intranet. Therefore Peter adds a link to the website in the top navigation bar of the site collection.

When Peter has done the first subsite with its three pages he creates a template from it to use for the other two subsites. That makes the process quick, and the template, called Department site, will be there if Contoso Bicycles needs more subsites in the future.

SharePoint themes
Separate themes
The staff of Contoso Bicycles must be able to easily recognize what department area they are in, so each site should have its own theme. It is possible to create custom themes in SharePoint via Master pages, but for this purpose Peter uses three of the inbuilt themes provided by Microsoft.

A little extra
Now the employees of Contoso Bicycles may start using their new intranet, but Peter wants to give them something extra: a video embedded in the home page of the Sales department subsite. Therefore he finishes his tutorial with a demonstration on how a YouTube video can be embedded in a SharePoint page.

Add more apps
Organizations that use Microsoft SharePoint should also make use of the applications built especially for this platform. Currently they are three:

I have already mentioned Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint, a sandboxed solution that visualizes project and task management. Kanban Task Manager for Outlook may be used with the SharePoint version on the same data.
HelpDesk OSP icon
HelpDesk OSP connects Outlook to SharePoint and converts e-mails into SharePoint list items. You can also create blank list items from Outlook.

Document Tagger iconDocument Tagger, still in Beta, helps you tag documents and presentations in SharePoint libraries with keywords and metadata and also gives additional possibilities to use the tags to find relevant information.

Peter and his team plan to add SharePoint as a sharing option to all products, so more will come and I will surely tell you about it in this blog.

Please have a look at the demo below. For a more detailed explanation of what Peter describes in the tutorial, you are welcome to the "Build intranet" page of the Tips section.

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions


  1. hello sir,
    i am a junior engineer in telecoms, i have a project on "intranet design and implementation with SharePoint for a selling phone company".
    i will welcome your help to enlighten me.

    best regards.

  2. I hope the demo above will help you get started, and you can find a lot more SharePoint information at Good luck!