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New Platform Transforms Digital Workplace for Banks

Updating an intranet is typically a large enough challenge for most organizations. But for a major financial institution badly in need of a digital update, upgrading to a new intranet solution was just the start.

While the current intranet was being used by staff, virtually everyone at the institution agreed that its use was out of necessity, not because it was particularly inspiring. Moreover, because the institution wasn’t using the cloud, its intranet was on-premises.  This meant that it could not be supported by certain systems.

Because the institution was already using SharePoint, the IT department stipulated that it didn’t want too many different systems in-house. The internal communications team wanted to try something new that was accessible to all employees and had a modern, user-friendly intranet that was fun to use. Finally, the new intranet had to be in line with the institution’s IT strategy and accommodate certain rules around data protection.

Enter intranet and digital workplace solutions provider Valo.Valo Intranet, an out-of-the box product that can deliver a modern experience both online and on-premises, addressed all of the institution’s technical requirements.Valo’s one-off license was also a huge selling point. Instead of having to pay per user, the institution only had to buy one Valo license to cover its entire staff, making it a highly cost-effective solution.

It was from an implementation perspective, though, that Valo Intranet really impressed. The institution wanted everyone on its staff to be able to publish news or events that would be accessible companywide.As a result, employees can now create their own content, while each department now has its own page on the platform that they can use in any way they want.

While the institution originally thought nobody would want to publish their own content because they don’t have time, are not interested, or are scared of everyone seeing what they are publishing, content publishing has been very well received. Moreover, once one department started publishing and presenting itself, other departments quickly joined in, turning the intranet into a positive way to allowdepartments to publicize their work.Even the C-suite are engaging with the intranet, regularly commenting or liking news items which, in turn, has increased dialogue among employees.

One of the favorite features of the new intranet is the events and calendar pages. It means staff can see what’s going on within the institution, even if they are not involved. For the IT team, Valo Intranet has proven to be very easy to maintain. The IT team also likes the fact that Valo is built on SharePoint and comes with the Fresh subscription as an add-on. This means the organization can be reassured they get the latest SharePoint updates automatically with every Valo release.

After using Valo Intranet for two years, the institution feels it has improved engagement and activity across the entire organization. The management board no longer sends general emails, but posts important company news directly on the intranet. In addition, interaction by liking or commenting on news has proven to be very popular and has increased staff engagement.A recent poll of staffrevealed that more than 50% of employees were “satisfied” and 30% “completely satisfied” with the new intranet.

While Valo Intranet has received high praise,Valo has now upped the ante by launchingValo Connect, amodernized platform for organizations utilizing Microsoft Teams. Part of Microsoft 365that brings an institution’s digital workplace tools and content together into one, easy-to-use enterprise portal within Microsoft Teams,Valo Connect provides employees with an immersive, personalized digital experience that bridges the gap between teams and the tools they use.

Valo Connect was created in response to changing workplace trends, particularly in the wake of COVID-19. As today’s remote workforce continues to grow, more companies are using Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, and other Office 365 tools to communicate, collaborate, and co-innovate with their teams.Having multiple tools and applications for remote workers, however, requires significant IT resources and often impedes user adoption of these technologies.

Further complicating this situation is the fact that most institutionswant separate, specialized solutions for specific departments, such as human resource management (HRM), customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning, and marketing automation tools.

Regardless of whether it is a SharePoint page, an external HRM system, or another vital, frequently used platform, all of this puts internal IT teams under the gun to provide digital tools that employees can find and use easily and effectively, regardless of their digital skill levels.

That’s where Valo Connect comes in.Valo Connect eases the burden on IT departments and offers a smoother digital workplace experience for staff by bridging the gaps between all of the digital tools being used and then housing them in a single enterprise portal directly inside of Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams was chosen because it has emerged as the main collaboration tool for more and more businesses worldwide. More specifically, the number of daily active users of Microsoft Teams has more than doubled from 32 million users in early 2019 to 75 million in 2020. Unfortunately, the intranet had not been integrated inside Teams in a user-friendly way. Instead, it has tended to live primarily as a separate application in SharePoint.

Valo Connect was designed specifically to consolidate the intranet within the Microsoft Teams environment. By using Valo Connect on top of Microsoft Teams, financial institutionsare now able to integrate the intranet inside Teams and empower the intranet with more capabilities than ever before. Specifically, Valo Connect enabled financial institutionsto realize benefits in four key areas:

  • In terms of communications, Valo Connect makes user engagement easy and effective. Through a personalized news center, Valo Connect allows users to get the news that matters most to them. In addition, the institution can designate the home page of its corporate intranet (or any other page) as the landing page of Valo Connect so that everyone has access to the most important companywide news.
  • With respect to collaboration, Valo Connect brings all files, people, and news together through Enterprise Search features. This allows users to edit documents in context directly in Microsoft Teams. Within specific teams, Valo Connect enables searches for files and documents, channels, and even private channels.
  • Regarding collaboration, Valo Connect brings all of the experiences from the Microsoft365 world into one hub. It makes connections to the ecosystem with intelligent apps (Power Apps, Power Automate, Dynamics365). It also provides for a seamless integration with other Valo Product Suite tools (ValoTeamwork, ValoIdeas, and ValoIntranet).
  • Finally, the cherry on top is ValoConnect’s seamless integration with the Microsoft Teams platform. That means that all links to rich content are automatically deep linked to offer the best integration for phone calls, instant messages, files, etc. In addition, organizations can build unlimited Valo Connect apps for multilingual use cases, different member audiences, different organizations, and more.

Beyond these benefits, Valo Connect remains the only platform of its kind to offer the ability for institutions to create their own apps​. It offers security trimming and the full support of SharePoint native components and Valo Intranet capabilities, including the Universal Web Part, audiences, etc. It is also mobile native. And best of all, it can be installed directly into any institution’s existing Teams environment.

Bottom line: the digital environment of employees will become more structured with Valo Connect. That, in turn, is going to make them happier and more efficient since they won’t have to think or worry about where all of the tools they need are located within their company-wide intranet. They can simply tap into Microsoft Teams, just like they already do, and thanks to Valo Connect, land in the heart of their digital workplace.

JuhaKoivula is the Business Director, North America at Valo Solutions.  Founded in 2011, Valo is a pioneering Intranet product provider with a global partner network of influential SharePoint and Office 365 professionals, serving more than 700 customers and 2 million users around the world.

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