How do you launch a successful intranet in 2 weeks? (True story!)

In the beginning…

Genius was created in 2009 to bring the enjoyment of great tasting gluten-free food both to those who need it and to those who choose it. We have grown quite rapidly and currently have over 600 employees. As the Business Systems Manager it is my responsibility to streamline systems within the organisation to make each of my colleagues’ working lives that bit easier, make processes quicker and ultimately increase productivity.

So, why did we need an intranet?

Surprisingly for a multi-site business, we are ok at sharing documentation and talking to each other, but where we really struggled was getting teams to collate data together for New Product Development (NPD); our previous process took up to SIX MONTHS!

Our journey began by looking at the current process and how we could improve it. People had to fill in a spreadsheet in no particular order, with no governance and no real way of tracking who it was sitting with. So as a team we decided that a system workflow was the way to go…

I did the usual by going to market and investigating all the players in the field, but every provider had at least one key component missing. That’s when I stumbled across Interact. We did a trial on the system with the guys and it ticked all the boxes with the basic workflows (new starters, leavers, etc, etc).

With a provider chosen, now the fun could start. How could we migrate a six month NPD offline process onto an online system…And actually, if I am buying an intranet platform, what else could we do?

Not one to hang around, we went from concept to live in two weeks with our site! After a week of scoping we started the next week with a soft launch and ended it with a go-live date of 2 weeks later, achieving our main objective and making use of additional functionality it offered.

What did we achieve?

We had a great culture already, but now we have a highly engaging way to maintain and evolve it. Best of all the NPD process is working like a dream, employees aren’t just using it but are suggesting improvements and further processes that would be enhanced and streamlined by going on the intranet.

As a brief highlights reel:

  • We replaced our external Quality Control System by migrating all content to our site, encouraging feedback and recording acknowledgement of change and compliance. Now if you want to know how to do anything, you head straight to the intranet.
  • Staff directories are common but keeping it up-to-date and enabling people to be more than just a profile has been a huge benefit – we now can uncover our individual Geniuses. We can also see when they are available, and holiday tracking is simple and effective.
  • We now have a vehicle for Genius News, after all we do a lot of great things and we want to share them. There are undoubtedly also things we could do better and our Geniuses can provide feedback which has made our NPD process the success it is.
  • Teams and custom areas give us the scalability a massively growing organisation needs. It has helped us change from a ‘can I?’ to a ‘how do I?’ attitude. This means our site is continuously evolving – it’s exciting times.
  • And finally we have the whole reason our intranet journey started – the NPD! There are 111 pages (covered by a range of rules, users only see a fraction of these on any one NPD) encompassing 3,885 fields. It is a giant!

Genius intranet

Getting all this live within two weeks has been a great success and we continue to learn and evolve from there. Our NPD process works like a dream and all the other great characteristics of Genius Gluten Free got even better thanks to the brilliance of our intranet.