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UNICEF Private Fundraising and Partnerships’ Intranet rethink — Ernst Décsey Ernst will walk you through the big shifts for the UNICEF Private Fundraising and Partnerships’ intranet, regarding information architecture, visual design, mindset and technology (from Lotus Notes to SharePoint online and Yammer)
Who doesn’t know UNICEF?
UNICEF works for a world in which every child has a fair chance in life
An I am working got the Private Fundraising and Partnerships Division.
Our objective is to provide all the UNICEF’s National Committees and Country Offices around the world with the information they need to maximize their fundraising, advocacy and communication activities.
We are based in Geneva
What I’ll share comes from a 4 years project, that means 1 minutes of my time roughly represents 29 weeks of work
I could either speak very quickly or take the time to get you inspired through some key findings
And today I would like you to SWIP and be happy
Hence I will focus on the findings and am here this afternoon and can go into the details of those 4 years if anyone wishes to learn more
First let’s say hello to this little dinosaur, our old Intranet.
This friendly dinosaur did a good job playing a central role as the key information source for our National Committees and Country Offices and daily work tool for staff in Geneva.
National Committees act in highly competitive markets. Easy access to up-to-date information about UNICEF's work is of essence if they want to continue to successfully raise funds for the organization…. And we’re talking about more than 1.5 billion USD.
Little dinosaur did a great job but it was aging (since 2008) and working on a technology no longer supported (Lotus Notes).
It became soon apparent that it didn’t meet anymore the needs of our audience (a more interactive, up to date, unified and consistent solution).
And – have you already seen a dinosaur in a cloud?
This resulted in a project initiated in 2012 that involved BIG shifts in:
•Information architecture: From an IA that was replicating our organizational structures to an IA that is meeting the information seeking and consumption needs of our audiences.
•Visual design: From a multitude of ‘look and feels’ and disjointed navigation principles to a consistent visual design, a permanent navigation, limited number of page layouts and a mobile friendly version.
•Technology: From Lotus Notes databases to a cloud based Intranet running in Office 365 and SharePoint 2013 online.
•Mindset: From silo databases to the co-ownership of pages and the realization that the Intranet needs to meet its audience’s needs.
Since I only have 7 minutes, I decided to not speak about the project phases (building the business case, creating an IA and wireframes based on user research, developing the platform on SP online) in detaills.
Rather I will present you our vision and focus on ‘SWIP’ elements.
Steal With Integrity and Pride.
In case, below the project phases:
1.Building the case - 4 months (Feb.-May 2012)
The first phase was dedicated to build the business case internally. We wanted to not only get the buy in (and funds) to rethink our Intranet but also wanted to ensure that our Intranet rethink journey would not be carried out in isolation and ultimately be part of a broader ‘Digital Workplace’ project.
By addressing the different pieces of the ‘puzzle’ we wanted to ensure that our Intranet would ultimately fit into an integrated PFP Digital Workplace to deliver its full potentials. It resulted in 4 project proposals that addressed each of the identified deficiencies (need for single sign on and a single URL; social collaboration; web publishing; search).
Two main techniques were used to build the case:
•Building the perfect Intranet using Lego blocks: To engage our audiences and built evidence for our business case (see: https://digitalworkplace.wordpress.com/2012/07/13/building-a-perfect-intranet-using-lego-blocks/).
•Concrete use cases: To ‘demystify’ some of the concepts used to describe our Intranet rethink journey and the ‘PFP Digital Workplace’ and to exemplifies our functional requirements. For this we used using a storytelling approach, with narratives to illustrate the details of our daily work (inspired by the work of Step Two: http://www.steptwo.com.au/files/S2D_WeekDigitalWorkplace.pdf). For example: To describe social awareness and mobile access: “Christian, Emergency Communication Specialist, just landed in Brazoland’s capital. He switches his smart phone on and gets notified via SMS about the new team space that Julia created. He is able to login to the space on his smart phone. He browses through the conversations and comments already made by the team, read the key documents and quickly become aware of tasks assigned to each member of the group. He also sees the status of the emergency response, what documents are currently being worked on, and how much work is left to do.”
2.User research - 13 months (Sep. 2014 – Oct. 2015)
For the second phase, PFP hired an external agency to develop a new information architecture and wireframes. Using different techniques (stakeholder interviews, focus group, card sorting activities, card based classification evaluation, and online tree testing), the user research was carried out with stakeholders in different parts of the world and resulted in a proposal for a new information architecture and a set of wireframes.
The outcomes stressed the need for the new Intranet to not replicate PFP's organizational structures online and to better meet the information seeking and consumption needs of our audiences.
The research also highlighted two main types of information of interest to our audiences:
1.‘How To’ material that explain how to go about doing specific activities, a combination of assisting those new to a role, but also supporting best practice techniques and providing key examples (e.g. how to do pledge fundraising); 2.Content material mostly from field operations, sometimes curated and polished, used by communicators, fundraisers and other staff to create messaging aimed at an external audience (e.g. assets that can be used to do a pledge fundraising campaign).
It is interesting to note that while the user research took only a few months, the internal buy in and sign off from our Senior Management Team took longer than expected, essentially due to the big shift in the Intranet’s information architecture and mindset that the outcomes of the research were suggesting. 3.Development - 16 months (Jul. 2014-Mar. 2016)
The third phase was dedicated to translate the findings from the user research phase into functional specifications and to select and work with an external agency for the development of the new Intranet in SharePoint online 2013.
An ‘Intranet concept note’ was created to go one step beyond the findings of the user research and, integrating previous user assessments and feedback, to define the concept behind the new Intranet and the key features that will drive the way publishers / administrators and end users will interact with the new platform.
In a nutshell, PFP aimed for an ‘Intranet that will be the starting place to find information or access platforms that support every aspect of the Private Sector family's work. Interactive by nature, the new Intranet will provide a unified user experience and consistent look & feel and will deliver what its audiences need at any time, wherever they are located. It will be developed on SharePoint 2013 online, and will offer an intuitive and simple to use web publishing interface for publishers’. Team: The project has been made possible by the core PFP project team, composed of a combination of in house functional, technical and business staff. This ‘dream team’ (as our previous Chief of Communication and Marketing used to call it) has led and managed the project from A to Z, while staff from the IT Division in UNICEF Headquarters provided regular support and guidance. A key consultative role was also played by the PFP Intranet Editorial Board composed of all the content publishers in the Division as well as end users in all parts of the world.
> Core team in Geneva, Switzerland:•PFP Internal Communication team (Communication and Marketing): 1.5 FTE•Application Support team (IT): 1 FTE
> PFP Intranet Editorial Board (cross section): 15 people (part time)> IT staff from UNICEF Headquarters in New York, United States (Technical Architecture, Knowledge Management Support)> End users, worldwide
** Get your users involved in a playful and ‘touchable’ way We used a playful approach to engage with our audience at the beginning of the project.
We asked a sample of users to help us build their perfect Intranet using Lego ® blocks of colors that represent the different building blocks of our Intranet (content, collaboration, social, activity and news & events).
The idea was to get their concrete input, not just their words, and to build on that to engage in a dialogue. The results were visually surprising.
Whereas we (central team) might have thought that ‘social’ and ‘activity’ were what our users would want to see on the new Intranet, the results showed that our audience wanted mostly ‘content’ (38.3%), ‘social’ (19.7%), ‘collaboration’ (17.2%), ‘news & events’ (16%) and ‘activity’ (8.8%).
** Take bold decisions to deliver what matters most to your audiences
Conventions are often hard to demystify.
Always positioned at the very top, ‘news’ seem to be an ‘untouchable’ element of a homepage.
Our old Intranet exemplified this: The ‘Spotlight’ (news) occupies 40% of the homepage’s real estate and is positioned in a way that you can’t avoid: Right in the middle of the page.
The findings of our research demonstrated however that information on Emergency situations (e.g. the Nepal earthquake) and campaigns (e.g. a global fundraising campaign) should be featured prominently as these are what our audiences needs most. So we decided to place them prominently at the top of the homepage, even if that meant pushing the news and events lower on the page.
** Bring hidden (but important) data or information to the surface
When staff wanted to know our revenue targets and how we perform against those, they had to either wait for one of our all staff meeting, go through online PowerPoints produced for workshops, try to find their way in our online dashboard or ask their colleagues.
In the same spirit as my of you who are listed on the stock market are displaying their stock quote on their homepage, the new Intranet includes an ‘Income barometer’ that will display our target revenues and how well we perform against those.
(In a first phase, data will be manually updated in an excel spreadsheet hosted in SharePoint. In the longer terms, we are planning to link this ‘Income barometer’ dynamically with our dashboard.)
** Consolidate information in a single place
Our work involves organizing, coordinating and promoting many events, workshops or meetings around the world.
These were promoted in several locations on the old Intranet including:•A communication calendar containing information on public facing events, maintained by the external communication team, •A PFP calendar containing Divisional information on events, maintained by focal points throughout the Division, and •A Meetings database containing information on workshops and conferences, maintained by content publishers.
There was no single place to find what was happening at a specific date and all events, workshops or meetings were promoted in several places on the Intranet making it even more difficult to get a global picture of what was happening.
The new Intranet is delivering a consolidated calendar of events with the possibility to filter the results down according to the type of events, their location and their audience.
What’s more, events will be promoted in a single area on the homepage.
** Deliver what your users didn’t have before
Believe or not, our old Intranet didn’t have a global search engine…
An easy ‘win’ was the addition of a global search throughout the site.
Tapping on the power of SharePoint online search capabilities, the new Intranet includes a search box with auto suggestions as you type on every page.
Tags at the bottom of every page is another feature that we had seen implemented elsewhere and ‘stole with pride’.
(Not very innovative but definitely useful to improve the findability of content, especially in a situation where the information architecture includes up to 5 levels of information!)
** Reassure your audience about the relevancy of your content
One of the key finding from the user research was that people didn’t trust the information found on the Intranet since there was no date stamps or very few indication of ownership or contact information. To improve our audiences’ confidence and allow them to identify ‘at a glance’ if a page is best suited for them, we introduced 'confidence markers' that are located at the top right of every page behind a small ‘Information about this page’ visual clue. When accessing a page, users is able to see:•Content ownership: Name, email, phone •Date of last update and name of content publisher (with a presence indication) •Date of first publication and name of content publisher (with a presence indication) •Content audience: For example, communication officers ending up on a page that has ‘Communication’ as its content audience will know immediately that this page is intended for them. •Type of information: For example, users accessing a page on pledge fundraising will be able to easily see that the page contains 'Guidelines' as opposed to media assets.
Another way to reassure your audience is to allow them to provide feedback, easily and on every page.
** Provide features that make sense in your context The outcome of the ‘Building a perfect Intranet with Lego ® blocks’ exercise demonstrated that the purpose of our Intranet should mostly be to provide content (the ‘content’ blocks represented 38.3% of all the blocks). And one of the main objectives of our users is to ‘choose & pick’ the content they need to do their work.
On the old Intranet this translated into finding the right document, right clicking on it, saving it as and downloading it to your local machine for later consumption and use… and repeating this again and again. This is where the concept of our ‘Intranet Shopping cart’ (or ‘PFP cart’) came in.
Users are now able to 'choose & pick' the documents that are most relevant to their local market and add them to their cart.
This can be done in bulk when you have several documents listed or individually when the document you need is found through a search query and added to the cart from the search result page.
At the end of the process, users will be able to 'pack & go' with the documents of their shopping list in the form of downloadable packages (WinZip file) that contain all the documents contained in their cart.
For a long time we asked ourselves, it is the light to reach the end of the tunnel (project) or is it the light of a train coming our way?
This project was indeed very complex and ended as a complete rethink of the Intranet.
This was not necessarily due to our willingness to do it all at once but sometimes due to other circumstances (e.g. not missing opportunities or loosing budgets).
So, if the work had to be done again in a different way, it would probably be to not do everything at the same time and let the deliveries stabilize, allowing the central team to not only breath but also reflect and re-focus.
Besides, some of the lessons learned:• Finding the right external partners and working relationship is key • Specify what you need 200% • Consider proofs of concept • Manage expectations • Think about third party solutions
What is for sure is that we left the dinosaur in the tunnel
Intranet rethink - Ernst Decsey
Click to edit Master subtitle style
UNICEF Private Fundraising and Partnerships’ Intranet Rethink
London – 30 September 2016
Ernst Décsey @ernstdecsey #IntranetNow
“PFP aims for an Intranet that will be the starting place
to find information or access platforms that support
every aspect of the Private Sector family's work.
Interactive by nature, the new Intranet will provide a
unified user experience and consistent look & feel and
will deliver what its audiences need at any time,
wherever they are located. It will be developed on
SharePoint 2013 online, and will offer an intuitive and
simple to use web publishing interface for publishers.”
(Intranet concept note)
Our Intranet rethink journey
6 Our Intranet rethink journey – UNICEF PFPErnst Décsey @ernstdecsey #IntranetNow