Silversands Logo

Silversands Ltd, Albany Business Park, Cabot Lane
Poole, Dorset, BH17 7BX

Customer Portal
Silversands works together with south coast council to redesign SharePoint intranet hero image

Silversands works together with south coast council to redesign SharePoint intranet

This south coast council, with around 4,000 employees, provides social care, housing, city management and other local services for its 280,000 residents.

Technology used :

SharePoint Online

Silversands works together with south coast council to redesign SharePoint intranet hero image
What were the challenges?
  • Existing SharePoint 2007 platform was difficult to maintain and end-of-life
  • Datacentre was being decommissioned
  • Content update was challenging
  • Integration with other systems was not simple
What was the solution?
  • Silversands asked to provide consultancy to support the in-house team with advice and guidance
  • Interactive workshops enabled us to share practical ideas, principles, and best practices
  • Flexible consultancy arrangement allowed the council team to call on our services through the delivery stage
  • Migration and enablement process was undertaken by the council’s SharePoint team
What were the results?
  • The collaborative effort between us and the in-house SharePoint team has given the council a well-designed, best-practice modern intranet.
  • The admin and support burden is reduced
  • Security and compliance are improved
  • Users have seen navigation, search and general experience improvements
  • Full integration with Microsoft 365 suite now possible
  • Return on licensing investment is enhanced
  • Longer-term business transformation goals have been advanced

The Background 

This council had been running its intranet on SharePoint 2007. However, this platform was considered difficult to maintain, challenging to manage content and was end-of-life. Furthermore, the datacentre hosting the server infrastructure was being decommissioned. Consequently, when the council reviewed its future intranet path, a decision was made to move to a SharePoint Online platform. This fitted with the fundamentals of the council’s strategy, around the use of Microsoft 365.

While the council had people with SharePoint skills to create the new solution, they lacked experience in intranet creation and recognised they needed help from an experienced partner. As Silversands had already assisted the council with the delivery of a wider SharePoint 2007 content migration, we were asked to evaluate the impact of also moving the existing intranet into SharePoint Online. The council invited proposals from several companies and based on our existing relationship and proposed collaborative approach, we were selected as the preferred partner.

Challenges
  • Existing platform difficult to maintain and end-of-life
  • Datacentre being decommissioned
  • Updating content was challenging
  • Integration with other systems was not simple
<p><em>“Our collaborative approach for these types of project fits well with organisations that have internal skills but lack the wider experience and best practice knowledge that our consultants possess.”</em></p>

“Our collaborative approach for these types of project fits well with organisations that have internal skills but lack the wider experience and best practice knowledge that our consultants possess.”

Colin Gray, Account Manager, Silversands

The Solution 

The project was delivered in two phases; phase one supported the planning & design with phase two being the implementation.

During the first phase, we held a series of interactive workshops with the relevant members of the council delivery team. The workshops aimed to help the council understand and make decisions on the most important elements, principles and best practice considerations relating to the implementation of a new intranet. These included:

  • Validating the council’s requirements
    Establishing information architecture principles around navigation, page designs, hierarchy and search
  • Developing information governance and publishing principles to define how content is managed regarding roles, responsibilities, approval, retention and ownership
  • Refining brand and identity principles to reflect the councils’ branding into the intranet
  • Content population and training requirements
  • Creating a prototype site.

The primary outputs from these workshops were a design document and a governance document. Of equal importance, though, was the opportunity for the council’s team to ask questions of, and gain knowledge from, our widely experienced consultants.

A key design decision for the new SharePoint platform was to migrate to modern team sites and flatten the hierarchy to simplify the site structure, making it easier for users to navigate and administer.

For the delivery phase, the council wanted ad hoc advice and guidance to support its IT team. To facilitate this approach, we established a flexible call-off service, allowing the delivery team to schedule consultancy time as and when they required assistance.

During this phase of the project, we:

  • Assisted with the definition of the content review process
  • Supported the council’s technical team when they were building the solution
  • Provided content presentation advice & guidance
  • Assisted with the content classification definition and configuration.

At the conclusion of this phase, the new Wave intranet was ready to accept content migrated from the legacy Wave platform, as well as having new content generated, with both processes being managed by the council team.

“Working in a collaborative way with the council was really rewarding. The team was very knowledgeable and fully engaged in the process, taking advantage of our experience to allow them to create an intranet that fitted their requirements.”

James Mallalieu, Principal Consultant, Silversands

Solution
  • We supported the in-house team with advice and guidance
  • Interactive workshops enabled sharing of practical ideas, principles, and best practices
  • Our flexible approach gave the council team the support they required
  • Migration and enablement process was undertaken by the council SharePoint team

The Results 

At the end of this collaborative effort between Silversands and the council, a modern intranet, hosted on the SharePoint Online platform, has been created.

By helping the council to understand the principles and best practices for intranet development on SharePoint Online, and by supplementing the existing knowledge of the in-house team with our own experience, we helped to ensure that the new platform would deliver the best experience for both the users and admins.

Moving away from the legacy on-premises system to SharePoint Online means that:

  • The admin and support burden is significantly reduced
  • Security, information protection and access control are enhanced
  • Navigation, search and the overall experience for the users have been significantly improved
  • Numerous opportunities are now available to the council to add additional functionality and integrate with other applications
  • Further benefits are being realised from the investment in Microsoft 365 licencing

By moving from a legacy, on-premises platform to a SharePoint Online intranet, alongside a substantial SharePoint content migration, the council has made a significant strategic step to fully embrace Microsoft 365, improving collaboration capabilities for the organisation as well as advancing the council’s longer-term business transformation goals.

Results
  • Complex hardware infrastructure decommissioned
  • Reduced admin and support burden
  • Security and compliance are improved
  • Enhanced functionality available
  • Users have seen navigation, search and general experience improvements
  • Integration with rest of Microsoft 365 suite is now viable
  • Return on licensing investment is enhanced
  • Longer-term business transformation goals have been advanced
  • The collaborative effort between us and the council team has delivered a well-designed, best-practice, modern intranet.