The Royal Parks migrate their Intranet to SharePoint Online and use Yammer to increase their staff engagement
The Royal Parks, a charity that was formerly a UK Government agency, manages over 5,000 acres of parkland which encompasses eight of London’s largest open spaces. Their responsibilities include heightening public understanding of the respective histories and natural environments of the Royal Parks and maintaining the parks under their care to the very highest standards. This includes hosting events to promote national heritage in addition to a great number of other recreational and cultural activities.
The main intention of the project was to reimagine the charity’s intranet into a compelling, engaging and modern user experience, able to leverage the power and flexibility of various Microsoft products. The introduction of SharePoint Online equipped Royal Parks with the range of modern and mobile friendly collaboration and knowledge sharing capabilities. In addition, Yammer provided a highly accessible platform to better facilitate building communities and encourage discussion between employees, as well as providing a social tool to promote cohesion and break-down organisational silos.
In order to reduce the inefficiency and inconsistency of manual reporting, Intelogy also designed a number of PowerApps solution which enabled staff to create, edit and deliver automated digital reports from any device, which also cut down on paper-based submissions. These solutions go hand-in-hand with the charity’s aim to be environmentally conscious and more sustainable.
As many of the parks’ office staff work remotely from one another and rarely have an opportunity to integrate during their working hours, it was a challenge for them to communicate effectively and build a sense of community. As communication between employees was broadly restricted to unofficial and private channels, there was a particularly high risk of colleagues not being included in important discussions and therefore not receiving certain updates, which presented logistical and organisational problems. The Royal Parks’ intranet was installed ‘locally’ on a server which meant that there was a large overhead in managing and securing the platform. Given these factors, a cloud-based intranet solution that is available for all parks staff, from any device, was a huge step forward. This also removed the logistics involved with handling, maintaining and securing a local server.
Having to traditionally report issues and tasks that need be carried out in the parks with pen and paper, and then upload the reports from their work PC, was an unnecessary burden that caused significant wastage to the charity’s time and resources. Not only did manually filling out these reports take much longer than digital alternatives, but this approach also threatened to introduce a number of issues with the completed reports, such as inconsistent legibility. Their administrators historically had to keep a paper copy of each report and this had the potential to cause a number of issues including having to comply with Data Protection Regulations regarding documents stored on-premises and storage space limitations. This physical storage method also limited the availability of information, and greatly complicated auditing processes.
Intelogy proposed a new, modern Intranet based on SharePoint Online to meet the needs of the charity’s stakeholders. The aim of the platform was to serve as a central hub to aggregate major updates, news about works carried out in managed parks, contacts and the latest information about specific parks. The key requirement of the platform was for it to be easily accessible from any device, from any place and provide a modern, engaging user experience.
This user friendly and aesthetically pleasing environment encourages staff to use it frequently whilst also offering all the power and flexibility that The Royal Parks require. The Intelogy team created visual themes for the Intranet so it changes on a seasonal basis, which keeps the portal modern and fresh and also aligns with the Royal Parks relationship with nature. Images used to design the portal go hand in hand with what the charity stands for – preserving natureconservation of nature and heritage – and this subconsciously imprints the vision and ideals upon staff using the solution.
As accessibility was also a chief focus, navigation on the site was kept highly structured and designed to reflect the most immediate, common needs of The Royal Parks staff. The Intranet has also been hybridised with The Royal Parks’ external-facing resources, simplifying the usage and accessibility of those resources without introducing issues of duplication by replicating that information on their Intranet. employees.
As the Royal Parks are existing Office 365 users, it was an easy decision to add-in additional services like Yammer. It allows anyone in the organisation to post in predefined groups designed for specific purposes (e.g. maintenance, photos, chit chat), and create their own groups, that employees can choose to join. This tool has facilitated more effective communication between the Royal Parks staff community.
The Royal Parks no longer need to maintain their own server infrastructure for their Intranet. This is all handled by Microsoft with this cloud-based platform. This has many advantages including reducing the costs and complexity of IT maintenance – and this was a particular cost-effective solution as The Royal Parks were able to maximises the benefit of the existing Microsoft licenses.
Becoming more sustainable by putting an emphasis on digitalising some of the manual, paper-heavy areas of the business not only benefits the organisation through cost savings, but also reinforces their vision, reflecting the goals of the charity. Underpinning this, Microsoft 365 supports compliance needs with built-in tools to help protect information, so it is easier to monitor and manage the charity’s compliance, risk and security posture.
As a result of the delivered solution, opportunities for user engagement have significantly risen – with SharePoint Online and Yammer are available on any device, at any time and from any place. This improved accessibility combined with the modern user experience have proven to be a boost for the charity, judging by the positive staff feedback and their levels of activity on both platforms.
“Working with Intelogy was a positive experience and we’re really pleased with the result. They were able to quickly understand our challenges and begin development, which meant it was easy to test, feed back and make changes before going live. The new intranet has been a huge positive for us, especially as we were able to launch it ahead of schedule. It‘s made adapting to remote working due to coronavirus a lot simpler than it would have been otherwise. ”
– Joel Bradley, Digital Comms and Marketing Manager, The Royal Parks