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Case Study: Development Organization

Housing and Development Organization’s Internet Improves User Experience, Increase Collaboration and Enhances Overall Business Processes

Business Challenge

The national housing and community development organization had adopted SharePoint 2007 as the platform for its intranet. With the evolution of SharePoint over the years and the increasing business needs of staff, the organization identified numerous functionalities on SharePoint 2010 that could improve user experience, increase collaboration and enhance overall business processes.

The branding on the intranet was outdated and did not conform to the new branding guidelines. Collaboration and information sharing had become increasingly challenging and the user interface was not intuitive.  Newer and updated applications needed for ‘business as usual’ could not integrate with the outdated SharePoint 2007 platform, as such limiting the functionality and benefits of having a collaboration portal.

Our Solution

The customer initially requested a direct migration of its intranet from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010.  Before starting the migration, the i3solutions team assessed the customer’s business needs relative to its corporate intranet. i3solutions explored all avenues of the customers’ SharePoint environment to identify constraints, limitations and risks.

The kick-off meeting presented an opportunity to understand the customer’s culture, organization and its business. We also got to understand various aspects of the customer’s SharePoint site; branding, customizations, 3rd-party Web parts, Web apps, Mysites, User profiles, taxonomy and related metadata. Based on our understanding and assessment of the customer’s business and technology, we requested additional information regarding external vendor customizations to help determine a solution that could accommodate most, if not all, of its current features. We tasked the customer’s Project owner to help identify site owners to help address any unforeseen issues we may encounter with the solution we were proposing.

i3solutions recommended a user group be assembled to complete questionnaires and have a discussion detailing its use of the current intranet. This strategic approach consolidated the end user opinions and fostered adoption, involvement, and ownership.

With our user group responses, meetings and analysis complete, we came up with a solution that enabled us to perform the test migration without any 3rd party migration tool while building new components and applying its branding at the same time. The test migration completed successfully with a few issues. These issues were related to sites with features incompatible with the out-of the box migration and were resolved promptly by turning the features off.

The branding of the intranet was initiated by the creation of master pages and custom page layouts. Our team ensured that the customer’s corporate branding guidelines were followed with recommendations of best practices to the client. New out-of-the-box features including “I need to…” and “Take me to…” dropdown web parts were introduced as well as custom web parts such as “My Workspaces” dropdown and a Scrolling photo banner with zoom functionality.

Results

The phased and parallel approach for this project proved to be very successful as it allowed our team to work on different tasks and resolve issues as they arose. System Administrator and Content Manager training sessions on the SharePoint 2010 functionalities were administered to selected individuals at the company. Overall this project addressed all the SharePoint needs the company needed and recommended best practices to help utilize the functionalities of SharePoint 2010.