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Building a modern Intranet portal will be connected with planning the structure of spaces where business users will be able to publish and share the information.

Modern SharePoint Online sites hosted on Office 365 offers a new simplified architecture. Learn how to prepare a site structure for your intranet.

Business case

During the preparation of the Intranet site, you will need to design the site’s architecture. You should focus on this element should at the first steps in the project. The final site structure will impact the information architecture and access management model.

Building Modern Intranet structure will include the creation of:

Data architecture of SharePoint Online in Microsoft 365


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Roles of the created sites:

  • Hub site – is created based on the existing Communication Site or Modern Team Site and can be used by you to aggregate and connect other sites
  • Communication site – is used in most cases as a landing page. In smaller intranets, you will create a Communication site ones. In larger organizations, you could use it for every department landing page. Remember that this template is mostly used to deliver the information and to present it to the rest of the company. It is better to start with one site full of information than in few almost empty sites.
  • Modern Team site – is the main space for team collaboration. At starting points of building intranet portal, it could also be used for as a landing page for the teams. It is worth to deploy them at the very early stage to create space for your teams. It will speed-up the adoption of the SharePoint in further steps.
Data architecture of SharePoint Online in Microsoft 365

Other elements which you should prepare during architecture planning are:

Modern SharePoint Sites architecture is dynamic. Preparation of the global navigation and site branding will help you adapt this flexible model to organization standards.

Technical Solution

Classic SharePoint Sites architecture

Classic SharePoint Architecture is based on a few key elements:

  • The basic component is Site which could be part of Site collections
  • Site in most often cases are stored in the complex, hierarchy-based structure
  • Structure is fixed.
Data architecture of SharePoint Online in Microsoft 365

This model allowed users to create very complex structures that address business needs but at the same time ends up with:

  • lack of site ownership
  • complex and difficult access management
  • impossibility to change the site structure  to follow business changes

Technical challenges which make your life harder were:

  • huge sites met technical problems and performance limitations of SharePoint
  • access management based on SharePoint Groups could be challenging
  • managing complex site was very difficult

If you did consider SharePoint Classic as a potential solution, you should start to consider it as a legacy option.

Modern SharePoint Sites architecture

Modern SharePoint Architecture is based on:

  • The basic component is Site without possibility to create Sub Site
  • Structure and ownership of the Site is extremely simple
  • The structure is dynamic. You can switch Sites between Hubs at any time
Data architecture of SharePoint Online in Microsoft 365

This Modern model allowing users to create solutions that will be able to adapt to the dynamic business environment. New architecture simplifies the structure and thanks to that improve the productivity of the solution:

  • simple ownership of the Site and data
  • simplified access management
  • the dynamic structure of the sites which could change any time

Technical improvements:

  • sites are smaller
  • access management based on Office 365 Groups
  • simplify management

During the planning phase, Modern SharePoint Architecture is something you should consider as an only available option. The simple and dynamic structure of the Sites will allow you to prepare modern communication and collaboration space. Moreover, you will be able to adapt it to your dynamic organization at any time.

Data architecture of SharePoint Online in Microsoft 365