Our client, a leading company in the utility industry, sought to replace a legacy SharePoint 2010 intranet portal with a new, modern experience. While the existing intranet was highly customized, it was dated, had not been updated in well over five years, was unresponsive, and was not equipped for modern technology or devices.
Our client sought to refresh their digital workplace with a new intranet that was clean, polished, simple, and able to integrate and take advantage of modern cloud technologies. The new intranet was to serve as a central portal for the client to communicate internal news to its 1,000+ employees across multiple locations through a more efficient, user-friendly, and visually appealing solution.
Concurrency’s project team included a SharePoint architect, business analyst, developer, user experience engineer and project manager. Throughout this project, we worked closely with both our client’s internal IT team and its corporate communications group, which served as the business owners of the project. Both teams were integral in all project testing and delivery.
Identifying Business Needs
Before launching the redesign process, we conducted focus groups and workshops to identify what the client and the actual users of the portal truly wanted out of a new intranet. Through these initial workshops, we established the core functionality that needed to stay intact—and heard lots about needs for change.
A large portion of feedback we received related to adding of personalization capabilities. Employees were seeking news and content widgets and the ability to personalize user settings. The workshops also established the need for a clearer information structure and a better way to find important information through search.
Results and Next Steps
- Set location: Employees can set their physical location in their user preferences, enabling the corporate communications to share tailored news, events and information based on employees’ location choices. This experience will be persistent through devices and sessions.
- Action items: In order to highlight the most important information, we instituted the concept of Action Items. This setting displays a condensed version of the current news and generates a fly-out for items deemed most important or ones requiring action—for example, the need to enroll in benefits for the upcoming calendar year. This allows someone viewing the page instant access to what they really need to know.
- Access anywhere: By moving to SharePoint Online, we enabled our client to provide user access to data any device, anywhere, so long as the employee is logged in. This was especially significant because approximately half of the company is regularly out working in the field.
- Searchability: We decreased the search scope for communications content so employees can more easily zero in on what they are targeting. Previously, the only user-friendly search option related to news-specific articles. Now, users can quickly find corporate communications of multiple types.
By basing the new solution within SharePoint Online we were also able to build it utilizing the SharePoint framework. This ensures our client is ready for future enhancements while also maintaining a sense of familiarity for users through the concept of web parts. The modern framework enables the corporate communications team to track user interaction in order to determine the effectiveness and reach for corporate communications.
The new portal enables users to quickly navigate and successfully find what they were searching for. It also empowers them to share content and feedback internally, such as by publishing articles.
As for the future, our client now has a stable, modern system on which it can build. We coached our client’s internal software development team on how to move into modern SharePoint development, including how to create, test, implement, and support future expansion.