An Intranet Solution Built to Last: 14 Years & Counting

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February 9, 2015
7 min read
How to improve employee engagement

With 100s of thousands of users and more than 1,600 stellar customers worldwide, Intranet Connections is lucky to have many customers who have been with us for well over a decade. One of our long-standing customers is Rio Rancho Public Schools (RRPS), a school district in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, who have been using Intranet Connections for fourteen years and counting.

Peter Barron, Internet Services Manager at RRPS has been managing their Intranet Connections’ intranet during this time, through numerous product releases as Intranet Connections and RioNet (Rio Rancho’s name for their intranet) have evolved. During these 14 years, RRPS has reaped enormous cost and time savings, eliminated several archaic business processes, became a member of the Intranet Connections’ Customer Advisory Board, and more. But most importantly during these fourteen years, Barron became a friend to each one of us on the Intranet Connections team.

As with our other customer intranet success stories, Barron’s intranet journey was one we have shared and celebrated.

14 Years of Return on Investment

Barron began his search for an intranet solution in 2001. He was looking for a packaged intranet solution that would connect all nineteen schools in the RRPS district and eliminate some old, costly business processes in place. During his research and evaluation period, he came across Intranet Connections and it immediately became a front-runner in his intranet search. Barron described his evaluation and ultimate decision to purchase Intranet Connections saying,

“Compared to other intranet solutions I evaluated, Intranet Connections just made sense for me in terms of a turnkey operation, simple installation and server set-up. It just worked.”

Since purchasing Intranet Connections more than fourteen years ago, Barron claims he has not second-guessed his decision once. He was able to provide the nearly 2,300 staff members with a single platform to connect and share resources regardless of geographic location. In addition, Barron was able to eliminate a number of archaic business processes and better align resources for RRPS with the implementation of the new intranet solution ultimately saving the school district a minimum of $500,000 annually.

After purchasing Intranet Connections, Barron took responsibility for the intranet solution’s implementation and architecture, RioNet. He gathered information on what business processes different departments and administrators were using in determining to streamline these processes in RioNet. Barron shared:

“RioNet provided a single platform on which staff from various locations and various job titles could communicate and share resources. But the most important thing it did was it provided functionality that let us get rid of our archaic business processes that were very costly, both in labor and actual monetary costs.”

Significant Time & Cost Savings

RRPS has seen significant savings in time, resources, and costs since implementing Intranet Connections. The new intranet facilitated these changes by eliminating paper waste, streamlining the employee onboarding process, and automating offline business workflows.

One example of how RioNet achieved this is by simply moving Request for Proposals (RFPs) online. This saved the Procurement Specialist hours of printing hundred-page RFPs and mailing them out to vendors, which was not only time-consuming but costly. Now, the RFPs can be found on RioNet as a PDF and simply downloaded and emailed to vendors, which Barron estimates has saved thousands of dollars alone just in printing and mailing costs annually.

When Barron saw an instant return on investment (ROI) by simply moving RFPs online, he sought out more opportunities to move paper-based processes online. Today, almost all of the district’s paper-based processes have been moved online or turned into various Online Forms that can be accessed on RioNet.

Mega Growth & Changes

Barron’s main priority was eliminating archaic processes, and once he achieved that by moving most of these onto RioNet, he began to focus on the architecture of the intranet solution. As the intranet evolved over the last 14 years, the number of documents on the intranet grew rapidly, making it difficult to locate the desired document as it resided in a single, massive document management folder. As a result, he developed an entirely new schema for the intranet menus following the Mega Menu release. Barron explained:

“It was taking staff up to eight or nine clicks to locate a document on the intranet, which soon became a common complaint. The system had become difficult to use, as we hadn’t expected how well used RioNet would become and relied upon for document management over the fourteen years of having it in place. Before the introduction of Mega Menus finding resources on RioNet had become time consuming and unintuitive. Now, utilizing Mega Menus reformed and revitalized RioNet. I reorganized the site and added frequently used documents to the drop down Mega Menus. It made an enormous difference in usability on our intranet, which is now much more simple and intuitive. It now only takes staff one or two clicks to find a resource on RioNet.”

Simplified Employee Onboarding

Hiring was a huge challenge for the district because each of the nineteen schools had its own, unique hiring process. Barron wanted to standardize the hiring process so he began to brainstorm ways in which he could leverage the intranet to do so. Barron explained:

“The hiring process was similar to the Wild West – chaotic and disorganized. We had new hires walking into buildings with administrators that had not met and  basic job entrance requirements left unfulfilled. The employee onboarding process desperately needed to be standardized across the district.”

Barron created an Online Form for new hires on RioNet and used it as a tracking tool to develop a consistent onboarding process flow. The form begins with HR, and once HR fills out their required section, the form has a built-in trigger that automatically sends an email to the next department required to fill out the second section, and so on. As the process/workflow progresses, each department is automatically sent email notifications and once the entire form is complete, final approval is automatically notified to review and approve the new hire form. The new hire form contains over forty stages which can now be completed in a timely, organized manner.

Organized & Up-To-Date

One of the most helpful features RRPS utilizes on the new intranet solution is the calendars. Barron created different sites within RioNet for each school. These have each been set as that specific school’s intranet home page using the Active Directory Synchronization and Authentication. Each of the school sites features a calendar feed, which is populated with all that school’s events. Barron shared:

“Staff are raving about their school sites and home pages, especially the event calendars. This has enabled them to see important, school-wide events all in one central location. And the principals no longer have to send endless internal emails. Thanks to these calendars, the emails, phone-calls, and mail box notes are all being eliminated within the schools.”

A Shift in Culture

The benefits of the new intranet solution go far beyond ROI, Barron also has seen a boost in employee morale and a shift in culture since deploying RioNet. Barron elated:

“We include the Employee Recognition application on the home page of every school site. Since instituting this, our entire climate in the school has been raised. Staff are sending hundreds of employee recognition nominations and appreciations. As these recognitions are posted on RioNet, we can visually see employees patting each other on the back. One person posted, ‘thank you for doing this on time, kudos,’ and now all employees deliver this on time, it just becomes the norm. These recognitions turn into cultural expectation and our employees are happier for it.”

This simple application has significantly increased employee appreciation, engagement, and retention and staff are much happier for it.

14 Years & Counting

During the more than fourteen years RRPS has been with Intranet Connections, the school district has managed to save in countless ways. Barron estimates that the intranet solution has paid for itself several times over with year after year use. Barron asserted:

“The ROI since using Intranet Connections is astronomical. RioNet has saved a single school approximately $40,000 annually just on printing and labor costs alone. Multiple that by the rest of our schools and we’ve saved just over half a million dollars, and that’s being conservative annually.”

In addition, Barron has grown accustomed to a certain level of support with Intranet Connections that he feels goes unmatched in the industry. Happily, Barron exclaimed:

“One of the primary reasons we’ve been with Intranet Connections for so long is the outstanding support. Intranet Connections’ Technical Support makes me wonder what other companies are calling ‘customer support/service’. Not one time in fourteen years have I ever experienced a lack of immediate, considerate, professional, ‘going the extra mile’ assistance from any of the amazing Intranet Connections staff. It is an amazing jewel in today’s world of impersonal, uncaring interactions with so-called support companies.”

Read more from Barron and discover other ways RRPS continues to grow and innovate with our intranet software by reading the full case study.

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