Somerset Care has just gone live with its new intranet ‘Connect’, following a successful SharePoint intranet build project which took just 3 months from start to finish.

Somerset Care is one of the major care providers in Southern England and one of the largest not-for-profit care companies in the UK.  Somerset Care has 27 care homes across the south of England, plus a range of care and support services to help people remain independent in their own homes.

Somerset Care had an existing intranet which was based on a legacy version of SharePoint and was only available to staff with company email addresses, which only amounts to approximately 50% of the total workforce.

The results of a staff survey confirmed that a more modern and user-friendly intranet was required, which is accessible to all staff.  Somerset Care therefore decided to transform its intranet strategy and capitalise on its investment in Microsoft 365, by building a new intranet based on SharePoint online.

The new intranet needed to enable Somerset Care to devolve content contribution across the organisation to the appropriate content owners.  Somerset Care needed a partner to support the intranet planning and build activities, to provide industry insight and advise on SharePoint intranet best practice.

Sorce worked with Somerset Care to hold a series of planning workshops, which defined the optimum structure and functionality to meet all their user requirements.  Sorce then carried out the design and build activities to create the Connect site based on these requirements. plus provided training on administration and content management to the Somerset Care intranet team.

The result is a powerful and modern new intrant based on SharePoint online.  Key features of the new intranet include the use of SharePoint’s Hub site feature, along with a collection of departmental communication sites, enabling them to roll-up news and events from across the business to the main home page.  This encourages users to look past the home page and discover content they may previously have been unaware of.

Some groups have chosen to provide a frequently asked questions section allowing contributors to provide answers to common questions and each page also features an “Ask the expert” form, which sends a free-format question to the relevant team of people to get answers to questions not already answered on the site.  As well as helping the end user, this also helps the content contributors and site owners to make the site content more relevant based on the questions asked.

Each page also shows the names and contact information for people responsible for that area of the business so that users have an easy way to contact.  This information is automatically updated from Somerset care’s Active Directory ensuring that contact data and line management information is always up to date.

About the new intranet, Ed Davey (Learning and Development Manager) said “As a large organisation we needed a way to bring over 3,000 staff over 30 sites together, in others words we wanted to Connect.  Connect will allow all our Homes and Services to see what each other are doing, share best practice and news, and feedback their needs to the teams at our support centre.

About working with Sorce, Ed Davey said “Sorce have made whole journey from initial concept, through the design and build, to delivery and launch straight forward and enjoyable.  Sorce were able to suggest and offer solutions to every request we had, from the major decisions over function and feel to the smallest tweaks and off the wall suggestions.”