Atlas is a modern digital workplace solution, an online space where you, your colleagues, clients and customers can collaborate by centralising your online tools and information. Built using Microsoft SharePoint Online capabilities and hosted within Microsoft 365, Atlas has powerful content management functionalities, including documentation and knowledge, as well as the traditional 'comms intranet' capabilities and deep integration into Microsoft tools such as Outlook, Teams and Office applications.
This article will look to provide a simplified overview of how Atlas works and its related terminologies.
- How to Navigate Atlas
- Tagging and the Atlas Taxonomy
- Add It
- Editing Pages
- In Focus Webparts
How to Navigate Atlas
Like any digital solution (such as a website or intranet) users will need a way to move around i.e. navigate.
The main menu options within your organisation provide a starting point to move around the different areas of Atlas and might look something like the above, with company logo on the left and the unique menu items in the middle-left that provide drop-down options to further areas.
The options on the right hand side of the main menu show 4 Atlas Tools you will become well acquainted with.
From left to right, these options are:
- Provide Feedback to your team (speech bubble)
- My Atlas (A with circle around)
- Add It (plus sign)
- Search (magnifying glass)
Tagging and the Atlas Taxonomy
A substantial part of the power of Atlas comes from tagging content so that it can be easily categorized and resurfaced in different ways. The tagging is based on your Atlas Taxonomy. The Taxonomy is a series of terms and categories we use to classify information. These are split into 6 key termsets; Information Type, Department, Location, Activity, Subject and Entity. Your organisation will create a fully customized taxonomy that's unique to you.
Everything you touch in Atlas will likely have related tags against it so it can be searched for, brought forward or fetched in different ways, helping you find information and aiding the breakdown of knowledge silos.
You can read more about the Atlas Taxonomy in this article: Atlas Term Sets and Taxonomy
Workspaces refer to digital sites within Microsoft 365. It is a term that relates to a collection of tools and functionalities that let people collaborate together; this could be storing files, instant messaging, managing tasks, creating or managing content, etc. The list goes on...
Atlas is built on a 'modular architecture', meaning rather than a more vertical structure that has sites within sites, each site is it's own stand-alone workspace.
Traditional modular architecture in construction is defined as: separate elements of a building that are prefabricated in isolation, then combined with other modules to create a whole building.
The same is true in Atlas; where we divide the system into independent, interchangeable, and reusable modules or Workspaces. These Workspaces communicate and interact through well-defined connections that are provided by the tagging. Each workspace will be assigned 'default tags' which will ensure that all content loaded into or created within the workspace will receive the 'default tags', automatically categorizing and contextualizing documents. It will also surface content from elsewhere where the tags match. This approach aims to improve scalability, maintainability, and flexibility of the system.
In Atlas we have a tool called ConneX which will allow you to both create and manage workspaces, something which was initially only undertaken by IT. This is where you provision your modular workspaces. You select your 'default tags' for the workspace when you create (or provision) the workspace.
You can read more about ConneX in the articles below
- Creating new workspaces with ConneX
- What different types of Workspace are available in ConneX?
- Use ConneX to manage workspaces
- Edit a workspace with ConneX
Your organisation may have purchased ConneX Studio, where custom templates can be created for users to provision at will. There is an extensive bunch of configuration and security settings here to choose from. If interested, please feel free to read more here in the ConneX Studio Overview article.
Those with appropriate permissions will be able to create, upload and manage content from within a workspace. This is delivered by SharePoint Online document management capabilities, but with the unique Atlas functionality (tagging) improving this experience even further. These pieces of content are housed in lists and libraries within workspaces.
Add It is a 'Wizard' type tool which allows the user to add different types of content in a streamlined way. You upload new content to a particular workspace where it will be stored, and can alter the tags as you upload for granular tagging properties to help improve search and information management.
If you don't alter the tagging to a piece of content, it will inherit the 'default tags' from the workspace. Please read more about Add It in the articles below:
Now workspaces have been created and you know how to add content, you may need to alter the home landing page of your workspace to change the layout, add new webparts and update the branding to ensure your workspace and pages look great and intuitively show the specific content you need them to.
In Focus webparts
All content created in Add It is assigned a particular content type (type of content; this could be a document, an event, a news page, an FAQ, etc)
The In Focus web part allows you to pull a variety of Atlas content into your page. Content shown in the In Focus web part can be refined by the user using the In Focus Filters web part, otherwise it will show all available content unfiltered. Below you can see a page configured with an In Focus web part (1), In Focus Verticals (2), In Focus Filters (3) web part and In Focus Search Box (4) web part connected together:
For a general overview of In Focus components, please read these articles:
The additional search experience such as search box and filters can be built following the articles below:
- In Focus Filters Webpart
- In Focus Verticals Webpart
- Connect an In Focus Search Box to an In Focus web part
There's an In Focus web part for every content type in Atlas:
- Event In-Focus Webpart
- News In-Focus Webpart
- Documents In-Focus Webpart
- Spotlights In-Focus Webparts
- Knowledge Pages In-Focus Webpart
- External Insights In-Focus Webpart
- Communication In-Focus Webpart
Other Atlas webparts such as HoverPoint and Mandatory Reads can be found below:
- HoverPoint webpart
- Configuring Mandatory Reads webparts
- Configuration options for the My ConneX webpart
Permissions in Atlas
Permissions can be defined as giving someone authorisation to do or see something, in Atlas this is giving someone, or a group of people, authorisation to do or see certain things within a workspace. Atlas relies on the standard Microsoft permission model across the board, as such, when you provision a private workspace you can assign one of three permission levels:
- Owner - People in this group will be able to manage every setting of the workspace, including but not limited to: adding/removing members/owners, editing/deleting the workspace and all its content
- Member - People in this group will be able to edit content in this workspace. This includes deleting
- Visitor - People in this group will be able to read content in this workspace only. Limited to SharePoint content only, excluding Teams
We advise that a select few people are made owners, a wider group of people who should be helping to manage content are members, with the vast majority of employees being read-only visitors. You can also make a workspace public meaning that everyone in the business is automatically a visitor. You can also add external people to these three permission groups.
When you add documents and folders to the workspace document library it will automatically 'inherit' the permissions of the workspace, which means that only Owners and Members of the workspace can add, edit or delete documents, and other content. This allows you to keep control of who can create or edit content.
But you are not limited to workspace permission inheritance. You can add people at the folder and document level (known as item level) so that they can edit the contents of the folder or the document. You can also 'break' the inheritance of a folder or document, changing the permissions of that particular item, for example, if you wanted to limit access to a certain folder which contains sensitive information.
You are always in control of all the content and who can access and edit it. Please view further reading using the article links below.