Catalyst Housing has completed the implementation of a new SharePoint-based intranet from ClerksWell. The EasyShare system is now being used throughout the housing provider, replacing an outdated, externally-hosted intranet that was difficult to use.
The amalgamation of three housing associations into a single housing group to form Catalyst Housing was the impetus behind the decision to improve communications and collaboration using a modern and intuitive intranet.
Neil McMaster, head of ICT service delivery, Catalyst Housing, said, “We wanted to standardise all of our internal communications, policies and procedures because we felt that this would be an important step towards aligning the previously separate providers and housing associations as one company.”
Catalyst Housing had already installed a new SharePoint 2010 environment and it was keen to use it as an intranet platform. The new intranet needed to have a more user-friendly interface to attract end-users and encourage more use of the intranet as a communications platform.
McMaster said, “We were faced with the choice of either recruiting a SharePoint developer or commissioning a third-party SharePoint consultancy to develop a bespoke solution. Neither of these options would be sufficiently quick or low cost, so we looked for alternatives and discovered Clerkswell’s SharePoint-based intranet system, EasyShare.
“We chose EasyShare because it cut out lengthy development times, the cost was fixed and we were able to see the intranet demonstrated before we spent any money, including the improved navigation and search functionality. The ability to rapidly deploy EasyShare and the pre-built nature of the system were major factors in our decision. With EasyShare we could pick and choose the web parts and templates for the functionality we wanted, which meant that we weren’t paying for features we didn’t need.”
Implementation began in mid-September 2012 and Catalyst’s fully functional EasyShare intranet went live in mid-December; the three-month timeframe would have been shorter if there hadn’t been some internal resourcing problems.
McMaster said, “As a mark of how smoothly the project went, we bought seven extra days of development time and we still have around half of those left for future work.
“Our intranet is a key part of our future IT strategy. The change has been really striking and perhaps the best part has been the positive feedback from the users.”