Enhance team collaboration with a SharePoint intranet

UFA Co-operative Limited is one of Canada’s largest and most dynamic co-operatives. As a progressive and diversified business, UFA strives to provide the products, services and solutions for their owners and customers in rural communities. Since their founding in 1909, UFA has grown from a small-scale local co-operative into an extensive retail operation with 120,000 active owners. UFA’s businesses include agriculture, petroleum and construction. With a diverse stakeholder group within the company, team collaboration is an important factor of the business.

The Challenge

UFA approached Convverge to help them launch a new corporate intranet. The following business objectives were raised by UFA:

  • A desire to implement a fresh intranet design and user experience on the SharePoint platform; UFA’s collaboration and document management tool of choice.
  • A need to gather business requirements from a diverse stakeholder group consisting of 15+ departments.
  • A desire to align all stakeholders around a cohesive vision and solution that enabled enhanced team collaboration across UFA.

The Solution

Convverge began by completing a detailed audit of the already in place on-premise SharePoint infrastructure. We audited the physical hardware, virtual machines and allocation of resources such as memory, processor and disk across all servers to ensure an optimized environment. Following this exercise, Convverge created an enhanced physical architecture to support a fully optimized environment.

In parallel, Convverge supported the UFA project team by facilitating requirements gathering sessions. Stakeholders were eager to get involved and share their business needs, with a sound business analysis process being essential to ensuring order and effectiveness.

After these initial meetings, stakeholders were driven towards the functional capabilities of the SharePoint platform, with the recommendation to augment SharePoint’s “out of the box” capabilities where necessary. Following the requirements gathering process, a prioritization exercise took place along with UFA’s stakeholders, where only the most critical requirements were moved forward, thereby creating a first phase. The remaining items were moved into a backlog, which continued to be managed throughout the execution of the project. Next, a detailed solution architecture was developed, along with a comprehensive work plan that delivered a technical solution through a multi-phased approach.

Upon the acceptance of the business requirements, solution architecture and detailed work plan by UFA’s stakeholders, Convverge’s technical team immediately went to work and delivered the core functions of the intranet. The first version was available in a brisk three months.

Since it was UFA’s desire to support and maintain the application long term, in the weeks leading up to launch a detailed knowledge transfer plan was rolled out that included the training of UFA SharePoint content and farm administrators. Convverge augmented UFA’s internal support by providing second tier support services for whenever UFA’s sustainment needed a little more bandwidth.

Concluding the engagement together, detailed user guides and in-person training took place with Convverge’s training lead providing both train-the-trainer and end-user training to UFA’s stakeholders and end-users.

The Outcome

The roll out of UFA’s new intranet has been a success and is an integral part of day to day operations throughout the organization. The fresh design and user experience are enjoyed by all, with enhanced team collaboration being realized through the new solution.