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M365-based intranet for Pohjois-Karjalan Sähkö


The renewed intranet of Pohjois-Karjalan Sähkö elevates the user experience to a new level with modern M365 tools for both employees and administrators. During the project, the intranet’s way of working for communication and content management was clarified, which have successfully supported the benefits gained from the new intranet.


New user-friendly intranet

Throughout its long history of over 75 years, Pohjois-Karjalan Sähkö has witnessed the development of Finnish energy production from post-war reconstruction to the current era of sustainable electricity. The company’s core mission has, however, remained the same. PKS wants to ensure that new opportunities brought by electricity – such as the use of renewable energy – are always available to customers and that future generations have a good life in North Karelia.

For its employees, the company wanted its intranet to be user-friendly tool to assist in daily tasks. By 2021, the existing Microsoft Sharepoint 2013 system, upon which the intranet was built, was inevitably technologically outdated. Support for the old system was also ending, making the renewal necessary.

The collaboration between PKS and Knowit has been ongoing for years, and Knowit had implemented the previous intranet update. Since PKS already had Microsoft 365 environment and licences in use, it was logical to build the new intranet also on these tools. In less than a decade, Microsoft services have also made significant advancements, promising a completely new, modern intranet experience.

A very concrete change is that, since the new intranet is built in a cloud environment, it is easily accessible on mobile devices.

Irene Lappalainen, M365 Competence Lead


Therefore, the intranet is now available wherever one can access cloud services, unlike the previous version, which was only accessible within the internal network. In recent years, Microsoft has introduced plenty of new more intuitive tools. The user interface has become simpler, and maintenance has become faster. 

PKS case intranet desktop
PKS case intranet mobile

Simplified structure enhances usability

“We wanted to start the renewal from scratch and ensure that all content in the new intranet is valid”, says PKS’s ICT Manager, Marko Partinen. significant change was opening the intranet to the entire group, making it cooperative and transparent. “Previously, each business unit had its own subpages, which involved lots of user management. Now the new intranet appears the same to everyone.” Partinen says that this not only made maintenance easier but also helped guide what kind of data they genuinely wanted to keep.

The new intranet also brought positive transparency across the whole organisation.

Marko Partinen, ICT Manager


Structural challenges of the old intranet were also effectively addressed. The structure was simplified, so that a clear overview is available right from the main menu level, without the need for many sub-menus. “It’s a common situation where the structure is driven by what looks good from the organisation’s perspective. We thought in terms of when someone goes looking for something, what would be the logical place for them to search. I’m quite happy with the result”, says Partinen.

Always relevant and interesting content

During the intranet renewal, the way of working for communication and content management was clarified. For instance, each sub-site was assigned with responsible persons to ensure that the content remains updated. “Such things should be ensured and agreed upon right from the beginning of the renewal. This ensures that the new intranet doesn’t become outdated in terms of content within a year,” recommends Partinen.

For news publishing, a cultural shift was made in the new intranet, where news is encouraged to be published more widely and with a lower threshold. They wanted to introduce different types of content that were previously only shared on social media.

We wanted to avoid a situation where a new person joins the company and sees that the last news was from three months ago. What does that indicate? One gets the feeling: does anyone maintain this? Now, news is published at least weekly.

Marko Partinen, ICT Manager


Intranet that reflects us

The intranet was enlivened, and now, for example, photos play a larger role. The intranet’s design is based on PKS’s brand book. Partinen emphasizes that a recognizable colour palette is essential even in an intranet. “It indicates that we are on our intranet, not on some generic website. Knowit brought their expertise to the design, and I think they did a great job.” 

Throughout the intranet, PKS has actively implemented people profile cards, indicating in each section who is responsible and who can be contacted regarding a particular topic. “In this regard, PKS has done exceptionally successful and thorough work”, points out Matti Kosonen, who acted as the project manager from Knowit.

“Every profile card provides comprehensive and up-to-date information, and a dedicated person can be found on almost every page. They have integrated the contact information profiles exceptionally well. This is certainly a great benefit for the users!" 

Success guaranteed by good planning and supplier

Often the starting point for renewing an intranet is realising that maintaining an intranet has become laborious and difficult. Marko Partinen recommends against trying to fix the old system. Instead, he believes it’s beneficial to start from scratch. “Of course, the features that worked in the old system should be included in the new one. But as technology advances, it was very beneficial for us to start the whole process from the beginning,” Partinen says.

When starting on such a project, Partinen emphasizes the importance of considering the size of the project team. A comprehensive renewal requires enough people to ensure that larger entities always have a responsible person, ensuring the progress of tasks and matters. It’s essential to involve different business functions in discussions. However, once decisions start to be made, the group shouldn’t be too large, ensuring effective decision-making.

He highlights technical expertise and the ability to guide the project as the most important qualities in an implementation partner. 


In the project, the supplier’s technical expertise is vital, so we don’t have to delve into every technical detail. It’s essential that the supplier can ask the right questions. As a client, we might have many ideas, but we might not necessarily structure them. So, it’s important that someone guides the project and tells in which order things should be advanced.

Marko Partinen, ICT Manager


Partinen felt that Knowit could offer these qualities for them. “We have been pleased with the project. We achieved what we aimed for – from the supplier’s side as well.”

PKS keeps track of view counts of intranet content, proving that the main goal has been achieved: the intranet is actively used within the organisation. An internal survey also produced positive feedback on the new intranet. “The most important thing with an intranet is that the content reaches its users.”

The collaboration between PKS and Knowit continues as an ongoing maintenance service. For instance, Knowit holds a “target release info” meeting quarterly. In these meetings, Knowit presents upcoming features and changes to M365 that require action on the customer’s IT end or if there are new functionalities that could be rolled out to end-users.

“The aim is to effectively use the M365 environment and the licenses purchased by the client to the users. At the same time, of course, we consider all matters related to information security and technology. When actions arise, we start implementing them. We are by PKS side in these,” concludes Lappalainen. 

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Urban Nyblom

Business Director

Knowit Experience Stockholm

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