Content Formula

An Office 365 intranet solution that delivers quick productivity improvements

An Office 365 intranet solution that delivers quick productivity improvements and is popular with employees

Extensive research & discovery phase led to high levels of adoption for the Office 365 end solution

The brief

  • Haines Watts is a top 15 chartered accountancy firm with 1100 staff, servicing 35,000 clients from 80 offices across the UK
  • Having expanded fast through organic growth and acquisition, existing communications and knowledge sharing tools were no longer fit for purpose
  • Communications were difficult to co-ordinate and risked causing compliance issues with accounting industry regulations. Workflows were paper- and email-based and relied on people knowing the process (see our video below)
  • Rapid expansion was starting to erode a strong corporate culture of unity and togetherness
  • HW Group leadership wanted to leverage the combined knowledge of the whole workforce rather than acting as a collection of disparate, standalone local offices

Our approach

Content Formula's consultants carried out an extensive discovery exercise to understand stakeholder needs and user needs. This covered workshops and interviews with people at all levels of the company and from all over the country. Our focus for research is always to understand business challenges and pain points, not to compile a technology wishlist.

We presented our findings to the HW board of directors. The presentation was organised into key themes, insights, verbatims, recommendations, budget and an overall vision for the future intranet. Recommendations included core functionalities, governance considerations, technology choice and success criteria to deliver the board’s objectives.

This research step is key in driving leadership buy-in and securing budget. Crucially, this inclusive research approach leads to high levels of adoption for the end solution.

Our solution was to focus on knowledge sharing and peer-to-peer interaction in order to drive a culture of corporate togetherness and to deliver tangible value to employees and the organisation as a whole. Communications was also a key objective, in particular to improve compliance across all office branches. We used gamification techniques to engage employees to submit high quality content.

Our recommendation was to move the client to a cloud infrastructure on Office 365 and SharePoint Online. Access is always a key consideration for intranet adoption - cloud-based solutions make secure access easy across all devices. An intranet solution integrated with the many tools available in Office 365 also deliver quick productivity improvements and are popular with employees. A user-friendly and attractive interface was key. A common challenge with SharePoint is hiding some of the clunky interface and usability issues whilst adhering to brand guidelines.

The result

  • The site launched in October 2016.
  • The communications teams have embraced the site and have stopped reliance on cascade emails.
  • Haines Watts now has a workflow tool that allows non-technical people to create workflows for things like new starter onboarding (see our video above).
  • The Social Q&A tool has been a key driver of traffic and engagement. In 4 weeks 87 questions have been submitted which have received 207 answers.
  • A high proportion of employees have completed their profile and are now receiving endorsements from their colleagues.
  • Informal feedback from across the company has been very positive.
  • The board have committed further resources for ongoing management and enhancements.

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