Tired of SharePoint? You are not alone!

Ten years ago, Data Quality Campaign (DQC) launched to promote the vision that every person involved in a child’s education – from parents to educators, policymakers to students themselves – should have the information they need to make the best decisions that help children succeed.

We began with ensuring the infrastructure was there in high-quality data systems that track students’ progress over time to support their achievement. Then we focused on state policies to create a culture focused on getting the right data to the right people at the right time.

Given the very nature and values of our organization; internal communications, information and knowledge should be easily accessible to all our colleagues, right?

The SharePoint question we never thought to ask!

Two years ago when we were struggling to make our SharePoint intranet a viable, attractive site, someone asked the question, “Do we have to stay with SharePoint?”

It’s a question we’d never entertained before. We thought we were stuck with SharePoint and we had to make it work. Our leadership team had no technical background, and our staff were extremely frustrated with SharePoint’s lack of functionality and inability to meet our needs.

Not…the SharePoint alternatives?

That critical question allowed us to research the tools that were available to create a DQC office away from the office. The main thing we wanted was to make sure it was easy to build and update by staff without a technical background. But while we were discussing all things we’d like to achieve with our intranet that we couldn’t do right now, we put together a full wish list of objectives:

  • Enhance employee engagement (easy to use and update)
  • Increase collaboration (across a common platform)
  • Reduce frustrations (easy to access to documents and information)
  • Improve communication and knowledge management
  • Streamline processes (for reviewing & releasing large documents)

Of all the products we researched, Interact was by far the easiest to use as a SharePoint alternative. We pulled together a crackerjack internal team of communications, policy, and administrative staff to develop the concept and name for our intranet: DQC.CONNECT. In homage to our previous attempts to make SharePoint work, our pet name for the Interact intranet became SPUD (that is, SharePoint’s Useful Daughter!).

Goodbye SharePoint…Hello engaged users!

As we developed our intranet, we wanted to make sure our homepage was an inviting place; one we wanted our users to engage with on a daily basis. We knew it had to be crisp and clean and easy to navigate around. We think we nailed it!

Tired of SharePoint? You are not alone!_ DQC homepage

Our homepage has a distinct brand, with the DQC.CONNECT logo in the upper left corner, easy-to-read headers, and buttons for quick access to resources that employees need on a daily basis. This includes our performance evaluations, human resource manuals, social media, DQC’s website, the payroll system, and more.

It also allows us easy access to our internal team blogs, DQC tweets and public blog posts. Two fun features that we all love are our “extended family” photo gallery and our “birthday cupcake” that features upcoming staff birthdays. The constantly updated pictures in our gallery give us all our daily kid and animal fix, and our birthday cupcake gives us no excuses to forget our colleagues’ special day!

Is life away from SharePoint really as good as we think?

To make sure we were meeting our staff’s hopes for an effective intranet and they were continually engaged, we made sure we measured the results against our original five objectives:

1) Engage users (staff, board, partners) with an easy to use and easy to update intranet

Staff engagement measures (June 11, 2014-June 11, 2015):

  • 203 blog posts since launch (46 since February 2015)
  • Average of fewer than 1 blog published per day
  • 61% of users are active (includes board members and interns, etc.)
  • 1,297 pages created (175 since February 2015)

In October 2014, 61% of users report dqc.connect is easy to use and update; 39% of users report it is somewhat easy (Qualtrics survey).

2) Increase collaboration across the organization and with partners through a common platform

In October 2014, 61% of staff report it is easier to collaborate across the organization on cross-functional/multi-partner projects; 39% of staff report it is somewhat easier (Qualtrics survey).

3) Reduce frustration with how to save and find information and documents

In October 2014, 89% of staff report it is easier or somewhat easier to save and find information and documents (Qualtrics survey).

Between February and June 2015, there were 9 searches with zero results. The SPUD governance team is working to understand and present this data in a useful and meaningful way.

Failure to Find documents = 0

4) Improve communication and knowledge management

In February 2015, 100% of staff report that dqc.connect has made it easier or somewhat easier to communicate and share knowledge across DQC (Qualtrics survey).

In October 2014, 100% of remote staff report they have improved or somewhat improved communication and knowledge management since the launch of the intranet (Qualtrics survey).

5) Articulate a process for reviewing and releasing public and internal documents

  • 38% of staff have used dqc.connect for review and production of large publications (Qualtrics survey)
  • 67% of staff who had used dqc.connect for this purpose found it useful
  • 33% of those staff found it somewhat useful (Qualtrics survey)

The results speak for themselves!