VVO improves the flow of information with SharePoint 2013

VVO, a Finnish rental housing group, made a decision in spring 2014 to upgrade its intranet used by 340 employees. As a result the flow of information within VVO has improved.

Industry: Services

Starting point

The old SharePoint had a lot of features that were no longer up to the present-day requirements. We want to give the users greater opportunities to create content for the intranet and bring all the content more clearly in the same intranet view. At the same time, we wanted  a modern tool to develop the intranet”, says Project Manager Ilkka Teittinen of VVO.

Detailed specifications were prepared to determine what was expected of the new system. The wish list included great-er interactivity, home page highlights of issues specific to the individual user groups, extensive search, enhancement of SharePoint skills among administrators and concentration of content production in a single location making it possible to display the same information conveni-ently on various pages.

Once the specification stage was completed, the system project was put out to open tender. The contract was awarded to Affecto and cooperation commenced in August 2014. The project was scheduled for completion in December 2014.

“The environment requiring minimum customisation made it possible to make the project timetable as tight as this”, Teittinen says.

Solution

The development efforts with SharePoint 2013’s standard components got off to an efficient start and the various project stages followed one another in quick succession. 

The project started in mid-August with a mutual specification meeting at which the objectives were defined in more detail. After that the development efforts were completed in the course of the autumn in five stages using the scrum framework (sprint). At each of these stages, the completed modules and user comments were reviewed, bugs repaired and the objectives of the next stage defined.

By the beginning of September, VVO had on its server a test environment with a ready-made page structure. This was followed by the visual design of the user interface, provision of functionalities and roll-out planning. 

“We defined the details related to the visual appearance of the new intranet together with Affecto. This was an area to which the Affecto people made a great contribution as experts”, Teittinen says.

Half-way through the project, a migration plan was prepared to allow the VVO people to transfer the old system content to the new environment. By early December, the project had reached the testing stage and the project was rolled out more or less on schedule later in the same month.

“The new intranet was implemented responsively to provide full capabilities for all mobile platforms. We wanted to build the system with a view to future needs for mobile access”, Teittinen explains.

The needs of the individual user groups were taken into account through individual customisation of data. For example, the managers’ home page displays content relevant to their duties. Data customisation according to user group was based on the Active Directory user groups.

Benefits

As a result of the clear and easy-to-use communications channel provided by the new intranet, the flow of information within VVO has improved. Thanks to Affecto’s visual and availability design, the user experience is considerably better than in the old environment.

“On the home page we have a message wall allowing every user to comment on issues, start discussions and publish even entertaining content quickly and easily. Additionally, there is a special heads-up banner for urgent messages.”

The wiki instructions were clarified through the provision of new search functions. 

The intranet upgrade was smoothly incorporated in VVO’s new brand image LUMO. Consistent with the new branding guidelines, the intranet communicates the new visual image on a daily basis. ”Affecto’s graphic designer was able to capture the elements of the new brand successfully”, Teittinen says.

Development efforts with Affecto will continue. One of the functions to be improved is searching. “SharePoint’s new search engine is faster, more extensive and easier to use. The increased number of sources and preview of search results are clear improvements. More efforts are required in optimising Fast search, for example in terms of sorting the results”, Teittinen says.

Once the intranet is rolled out throughout the Group, its business potential will gradually become apparent. New ideas and requests for further development are received from the various units at a steady rate.

“The system offers excellent tools for creating, processing and publishing various reports. Presentation of reporting views, scorecards and indicators on the intranet is a promising vision that we will be able to implement more effectively on the new platform. SharePoint offers a solid foundation for further development efforts.”

Teittinen got a good impression of the cooperation with Affecto. “The project manager had the whole thing very much under control throughout the process”, he concludes.