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WGBH

Boston-based WGBH serves New England, the nation, and the world with educational public media content that informs, inspires, and entertains. Miller Systems worked with the media powerhouse to completely redesign and rebuild “InnerTube,” WGBH’s primary organizational intranet, which is used by a staff of nearly 1,000 individuals, using Microsoft SharePoint.
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Challenge

The Problem/Opportunity 

The previous version of InnerTube, originally designed and built 13 years prior, contained valuable information, but it was increasingly difficult to find. The site’s overall design, information architecture, and technology platform were no longer evolving to meet the challenging needs of the organization. The site needed to be re-designed and rethought to improve content and core experiences. Among other things, InnerTube needed:

  • An employee -centric site organization and navigation
  • Substantially shorter click-paths to frequently accessed web content, forms, and policies
  • Improved content findability and on-site search result relevance
  • Reliable “people finders” (easy to access employee and departmental directories)
  • Usable, delegatable content management for non-technical subject matter experts

Finally, from an IT perspective, WGBH was keen to retire the aging, legacy, open source WCM platform and leverage an existing investment in Microsoft SharePoint (a far more appropriate long-term platform for the job).

Key Challenges

Together, WGBH and Miller Systems faced a number of challenges leading up to the launch. The team needed to:

  • Ensure an “all employee” focus and vision by establishing and aligning the goals of various stakeholders
  • Build and maintain bridges between HR and IT to foster a joint commitment to success
  • Create key user experience designs and information architecture strategy materials consistent with the goals and vision for InnerTube
  • Establish a realistic content development strategy and schedule – and create the tools to manage the (substantial) effort through the completion of the project
  • Create a new site structure and associated design, while ensuring that WGBH branding standards were maintained
  • Accelerate adoption for SharePoint content authors and editors, through the creation of customized contribution experiences and multimedia training materials
  • Maintain project momentum over multiple quarters
  • Manage change and scope creep

The team also needed to address tactical considerations with SharePoint implementation, information architecture, taxonomy, branding and design.

 

Solution

Miller Systems helped to transform “InnerTube” from an aging, static content repository into an appealing, vibrant, highly functional intranet experience that connects people together and raises the "organizational IQ" of the entire organization.

Focus on User Experience and Adoption

InnerTube was thoughtfully designed from the ground up with a single goal in mind: to make it easier for WGBH employees to find the people and information they need, as quickly and easily as possible. The site’s implementation was tailored to ensure maximum ease of use and adoption by end users, content contributors, and IT administrators:

  • InnerTube’s end user experience is now consistently and correctly branded based on WGBH guidelines 
  • InnerTube is now browser and platform agnostic, equally usable on Mac and Windows platforms to accommodate all InnerTube visitors (WGBH’s work station makeup is about 80% Mac and 20%Windows) 
  • The new site’s navigation, organization, and search functionality ensures employees can find all that content, quickly and easily 
  • Single field search for content and people substantially improves employees’ ability to find what or who they are looking for 
  • The contributor experience was customized to simplify content editing - providing context-appropriate editing fields which encourage normalization and consistent presentation 
  • Abundant multimedia training materials were produced for reference and new-contributor training in order to facilitate contributor adoption

InnerTube is built on SharePoint

The following key SharePoint features were leveraged for maximum staff adoption and ROI:

  • Core WCM: Tailored, context-appropriate templates and page layouts; approval workflow; page and asset versioning; WYSIWYG editing; automated content re-use, and more 
  • SharePoint Enterprise Search: Single field search, with context-appropriate result presentation (e.g., results for people are present as contact records; results for web pages and documents present as summaries); “Best Bets” (sponsored-link style, ensuring that search results prioritize specified pages in response to institutionally unique terms) 
  • Managed Metadata (MMS) for Taxonomy: InnerTube makes extensive use of SharePoint’s MMS, which powers subject-matter based searches and automatic content re-use in key areas. 
  • Collaborative document management: leveraged by SMEs for critical documents, including HR forms and policies, important templates, etc. 
  • Analytics: InnerTube employs basic usage statistics/analytics to monitor visitor behaviour with the browse and search experiences.

Miller Systems employed a delicately balanced approach to the project to ensure that any SharePoint customizations are in line with best practices, and do not present WGBH with any risks that could hinder routine SharePoint patches and updates.

Finally, the team overcame unique project challenges including project sponsor turnover, the intermittent availability of stakeholders, and some unique SharePoint bugs encountered along the way.

Result

Substantial Feature Set on Day 1

InnerTube was completely redesigned based on cues from the WGBH public website, and a navigation scheme based on the employee perspective.

  • While most pre-existing content was refreshed, InnerTube now also contains over 100 brand new pages and documents, representing about 40% brand new content.
  • The new site’s navigation, organization, and search functionality ensures employees can find all that content, quickly and easily
  • An integrated employee directory that surfaces WGBH employee information from the organization’s internal network helps to ensure that finding people and maintaining consistent and reliable contact information is a snap.
  • Customized page layouts ensure that pages with similar content or function are normalized and presented consistently
  • A multimedia presentation introducing WGBH employees to the all-new InnerTube rolled out along with the new site, helping visitors get familiar with the organization and content available on InnerTube.

Customer Satisfaction

The all-new InnerTube was greeted by WGBH employees with great enthusiasm. Preliminary analytics have indicated steady, high usage of the intranet since launch, and the results of custom-developed feedback form are encouraging – WGBH employees are interested, engaged, and full of great new ideas for InnerTube. Thanks to thoughtful planning a solid foundation on intranet basics, InnerTube continues to expand and evolve to better serve the needs of WGBH employees.