Combining comms, collab and social at Senate Properties Finland

Senate Properties is a state enterprise which provides services associated with premises, primarily to the central government. The leasing of business premises, investments, as well as the development and management of real estate assets form the basis of our service offering. The clientele consists of government bodies, research and cultural institutions, as well as the defense administration.

 

New intranet design improves usability and productivity

The Microsoft SharePoint based intranet solution delivered by MatchPoint partner Affecto makes it easier to feed content and add new functions which increasingly convert the intranet into an electronic desktop, and thus allow for the more efficient sharing and communication of data.

The intranet used by Senate Properties for many years was considered to be technically outdated due to insignificant expansion possibilities and a lack of direct updating paths to existing products. According to content providers, the system was quite cumbersome to use and the search function, for example, did not work as desired.

I have received a wealth of positive feedback that the new intranet is clear and fast, and even the search function is better than ever.
— Risto Wahlroos, Project Manager, Senate Properties

 

Agile project implementation

Affecto and Senate Properties started the intranet project, in cooperation with Adage. The specification work was based on a requirement specification document previously prepared by Senate Properties. The actual implementation work was performed by following an agile Scrum project model. The technical solution was founded, both on the SharePoint platform and the MatchPoint application framework, which made it possible to reduce the number of necessary customizations. As for the schedule, the target was to deploy the new intranet within six months. The actual implementation work was completed within four months. Content feeders were trained and content entered into the new intranet system within one month. Finally, the new service was published and made available for all employees ahead of schedule. In addition, the total budget that was set for the project was underspent.

 

More efficient search function helps in finding the right experts

The new intranet contains features that are typical of the social media. Users can post information about their own fields of expertise on the intranet‘s personal information pages, for example. These details and search functions help in finding the right experts via the intranet, by focusing the search on specific fields of expertise and strengths. As Risto Wahlroos, Project Manager at Senate Properties, puts it: “There is no need for the people who are looking for a certain type of expertise to ponder on or inquire about a person who might know the subject thoroughly. Search functions enable them to immediately contact the right persons on the basis of the available profile data.”

In the project, special attention was paid to usability design and visual appearance. As compared to the old solution, the new solution includes new functions, such as blog pages, besides the users‘ own personal information pages. Another new feature is the possibility to provide the users‘ own intranet displays with different newsfeeds. This feature allows all users to efficiently control the information flow that is gathering on their pages. As a result, the desired information will be visible to users online.

 

Intranet to resemble organization

Judging from the beginning, Senate Properties has been satisfied with the new intranet solution. Content feeding and search functions have proven to be satisfactory and feedback from intranet users has been positive. “I have received a wealth of positive feedback that the new intranet is clear and fast, and even the search function is better than ever,” states Wahlroos.

The project has also posed its own challenges: “Of course, specifying the requirements set for the intranet is challenging. It is important for the users to feel that the intranet resembles their own organization. Therefore, the needs of the business and different units were attentively considered in its structuring.” According to Wahlroos, one reason why the project was a success was that the project groups of Affecto and Senate Properties worked in active interaction and close cooperation. “The whole project has progressed as per the project plan, and therefore it was successful,” he sums up.

 

The next step — teamwork premises

The intranet solution will undergo further development during subsequent projects and the next implementation object will be the teamwork premises. “The first stage, i.e. the project to boost intranet based communication, was a success due to our ability to adhere to the schedule and budget. The next step is to establish teamwork premises for Senate Properties,” says Risto Wahlroos, Project Manager, Senate Properties.