Bradfords were looking for a fully integrated solution to support their internal communications. They had an existing mechanism for engaging with their employees called Live and Online”, but they didn't have a coherent mechanism for disseminating information for and about the business. They needed to develop a solution that would enable them to cascade information to all employees within the business.
They could disseminate headline information, however, making the supporting reference information (content) easily accessible was difficult as the content is often fragmented. Bradfords wanted their employees to seamlessly access routine communications, from a central repository accessible to all, so there is one version of the truth.
Art of the Possible
Bradfords had started to explore the types of content and how this would be processed, focusing on the production, control and dissemination of corporate communication and documents (e.g., Newsletters, Policies & Procedures, Health & Safety Announcements). This was further developed and expanded upon with CSE through consultation with the business and by providing an ‘Art of the Possible’ demo of how these requirements could be delivered within SharePoint online.
Drawing on previous experience, CSE worked with the Bradford’s project team, to define the high-level scope. Then identified the ‘quick wins’ that would form an initial phase of work, drawing on the features of SharePoint and involving an area of the business that would champion its adoption. The functionality included within this phase was then prioritised, detailed requirements defined, and a costed proposal provided with deliverables and dependencies.
SharePoint Configuration vs Customisation
A key element of CSEs approach to solution development within the Microsoft 365 framework is to focus, in the first instance, on how requirements can be delivered within the functionality it provides rather than just to use it as a development platform. SharePoint’s continued evolution since its initial release in 2007, means it now provides a rich toolkit of functionality that can facilitate effective corporate communication. CSE used their 15 years of experience to identify where these features aligned with Bradfords requirements. As a result, all the requirements identified during the consultation were implemented by setting a framework and patterns in place by configuring ‘out of the box’ functionality.
A key aspect of this was the development of the foundations of a corporate taxonomy that enabled content to be classified according to its business area, subject and audience, for employees to easily find information they need, ‘just like Google’. Combined with SharePoint’s ‘Hub’ and ‘Audience’ features, this enabled corporate and business communications content to be delivered centrally while being tailored to employee’s interests.
Using SharePoint’s content management, publishing and security features, contributors have the freedom to create their own content, while at the same time ensuring that it was made available to its intended consumers in a controlled and structured way.
A simple but time saving solution developed for one area of the business was the development of a cleaning complaints tracker using latest Microsoft Lists functionality. The solution enabled employees to raise cleaning complaints in a central location, notifying their cleaning contractors of the issue and providing management with ‘at a glance’ reports on their status and highlighting any that are outstanding.
For more information about this case study, or our services please contact Dr Nick Rogers on 01223 968100.