SharePoint Communications Sites for your Office 365 Adoption Site

For those of you who have been following my blog you will have noticed that the new SharePoint Communications Sites have been my new fixation. It seems that the rest of the SharePoint Community has certainly taken notice as well with webinars popping up comparing Communications Sites to Intranet in a Box solutions and some nice deep dive articles around the different webparts that come with these news sites.

I have been working on a new talk that helps navigate the challenge of when to use each of the O365 Services and in doing so I started to brainstorm what the “low hanging fruit” opportunity would be for the new SharePoint Communications Sites. Before I could take my first sip of coffee I had it – why not your Office 365 Adoption Portal! How simple right?

Excitedly I started pulling together what a nice Adoption Portal might look like.

First off – huge shout out to the WOCinTech site for providing access to beautiful stock photography.

Here’s what my portal started to look like:


Notice that not every tile needs to have an image – kudos to Susan Hanley for her great article on getting started with Communications Site.

You’ll notice a few things ->

  1. I added a “Group Spotlight” story as the main tile in the Hero Webpart. Whenever I have been involved in building out an Adoption type portal I love to try and feature real stories of people making use the technology. Nothing helps to build up confidence than hearing how your co-workers are streamlining process, eliminating waste, and ultimately being more productive.
  2. Next to that tile, I went with a very simple “Request a collaboration solution.” I know the folks at Microsoft might shudder a bit, but a lot of enterprises still make users go through a request process to match them up with the right solution for their business need. So I had envisioned this either being a request form, or maybe an infographic if your organization allows you to provision sites/groups/teams/etc.
  3. Rounding out the top row is a “Collaboration Champions Network” which could of course link you anywhere, but I though a page which would have both an embedded Yammer feed for an “Adoption Group” in addition to highlighting some of the “Collaboration Champions” you might be able to reach out to with a specific question. I definitely understand some companies might not want to name people, but it’s a great way in the beginning to start onboarding people to Office 365.

    Collaboration Champions

  4. The last tile I marked as self-service training & resources. Again lots of options here, but if an organization is mature enough this could go to an O365 Stream Group where you can let users choose from pre-recorded videos. Alternatively, if you have created lots of handouts, PPT’s, etc. you could always have them navigate to a page with a listview webpart of a document library and then links to any additional resources.
  5. Below the fold I added the News Webpart featuring a few stories of how different Office 365 services are being consumed by colleagues. Always look for those engaging photos that will get people excited about reading your article!

    Adoption News

    Example article:


  6. Rounding out the site, I included some events in you guessed it, the Events webpart! Again, when Office 365 starts to roll out it’s a great practice to have your Training Group host “Brown Bag” events where employees can attend remotely. Even better, you can record those videos and host them in the new O365 Stream Groups in an Adoption Channel!


When pulling together this demo site I noticed just how easy it was to build a really nice looking site. The beautiful part of SharePoint Communications Sites is by simplifying the development/configuration experience you are able to focus more of your time on building the relevant content that you wish to communicate to your users vs worrying about going through lots of effort to design & develop the styling to make your site look different than the out of the box clunkiness of SharePoint Team & Publishing Sites.

Happy SharePointing!


3 comments on “SharePoint Communications Sites for your Office 365 Adoption Site”
  1. Sean Barger says:

    Couple all this with OneViewer so that when you are directed to destination libraries from these simple menu interfaces, you end up in a centralized collaboration workspace where you can view all your files right from within the SharePoint Online library without plug-ins, downloads, syncing or special software. On all devices and browsers. Definitely a great combination!

  2. Casey Root says:

    Great article Jared! I’m building mine right now…

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