Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation has revolutionized communication and collaboration with Interact

"The most important change is that the intranet has brought us all more firmly together. This feeling of community, of working towards one vision, is vital for what we do and Crossroads has given us a living example of this."

Keith Fleming, IT Manager, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, headquartered in the United States uses Interact's intelligent intranet software to share information, communicate and collaboration across the 15 countries it operates in.

The Problem

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation (EGPAF) had a clunky, difficult to manage intranet implemented on SharePoint back in 2007, which was proving to be more of a hindrance to collaboration and knowledge sharing than an aide due to the time, effort and training needed to maintain it.

This intranet had several problems. There was no way to easily search for what was needed, which meant that key people were constantly being asked where information was located.

Adding a document was slow, difficult and not widely adopted, so individual knowledge was being lost. As a result, e-mail was the main communication medium and in some cases posting physical hard copies was the only way to keep people informed, leading to delays in information getting through and reducing the Foundation’s ability to react quickly.

Added to this, the Foundation had grown rapidly in the last few years due to an increase in funding – growing from 200 employees in 2006 to over 1,500 in 2011. These people, spread globally, were lacking a feeling of common vision and cohesion. Internal communications were simply not at the standard they needed to be.

"We have really noticed the huge difference Crossroads has made in our lives. The entire organisation feels more open, and people have more confidence to speak up and be heard."

Keith Fleming, IT Manager, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

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Goals

EGPAF’s vision for their intranet would be an easy to access, easy to use, central point for all information requirements where a powerful search facility would enable people to find what they wanted for themselves. They wanted to communicate and collaborate, thus bringing together people from across the world.

They wanted their intranet to be user friendly, so that non-technical people could take control of and be responsible for their own areas and documents, as this would encourage more people to add their speciality knowledge and increase adoption of the new system. As Keith Fleming, IT Manager for EGPAF states:

“Recognizing that all employees hold a wealth of knowledge and intelligence, the Foundation wanted to create a channel where information could be shared from the top-down and from the bottom-up.”

It was envisaged that this would also reduce e-mail traffic, eliminate the need for posting hard copies of important information and give people a convenient, easy-to-use environment in which to discuss, collaborate and share ideas, as well as giving the Foundation a more reliable method of disseminating information.

Research

First, the Foundation created a ’Knowledge Management Task Force’ with people from the Program Innovation, Policy Group and IT teams. They investigated ways they could work smarter and better manage their considerable internal knowledge.

EGPAF found that Interact Intranet was the best solution for them due to its simple to use content management system, its flexible nature and its powerful and intelligent search and extensive collaboration features.

"Recognizing that all employees hold a wealth of knowledge and intelligence, the Foundation wanted to create a channel where information could be shared from the top-down and from the bottom-up."

Keith Fleming, IT Manager, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

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Launch

EGPAF had their intranet installed several months before they went live, calling it ‘Crossroads’. As Keith Fleming explains:

“The name Crossroads is important to us for two reasons. We are coming together to collaborate, share and express our ideas and opinions, our different paths are meeting at a Crossroads and Crossroads was the name of Elizabeth Glaser’s son’s school, which also had a strong link for us.”

They spent this lead time training their content managers from across the world, turning them into Intranet Champions and adding the priority content they wanted to see at launch.

They built awareness and excitement with all their staff before the launch, sending information out and advocating the intranet as being the best place to find information and that it would be a great communication tool for them.

They were delighted when their CEO, Charles Lyons, took a personal interest in the project as his input and support was invaluable. On launch day they ensured the intranet opened automatically when people logged into their computer, with a video on the homepage welcoming them to the new intranet. They had immediate uptake which got them off to a flying start.

Communication and Collaboration

The intranet has proved very popular and EGPAF feels they have made a huge leap forward in the way they communicate and collaborate internally. As Mark Reilley, IT Director for EGPAF says:

“We have really noticed the huge difference Crossroads has made in our lives. The entire organisation feels more open, and people have more confidence to speak up and be heard.”

To begin with they had just their CEO and senior management blogging regularly to field staff, but it proved so popular with great discussions being created from these blogs that they quickly gave the whole organization the right to blog, with new blogs now appearing daily which meant there was more collaboration and knowledge sharing in the business.

They use a feature called Interact Rewards to create a peer-to-peer recognition tool called ‘Virtual Hearts of Gold’ where people can present their colleagues with a ‘Thank You’ for going out of their way to be helpful.

People across the Foundation are now able to comment, collaborate and find the information they need, as Keith explained:

“The most important change is that the intranet has brought us all more firmly together. This feeling of community, of working towards one vision, is vital for what we do and Crossroads has given us a living example of this.”

This sense of community and improved organization-wide communication is also making it far quicker and easier to pull together information from individual far-flung countries in one central location, which is needed by head office to apply for funding proposals. This has had a very positive impact on the money they raise and by extension the help and support they can offer, furthering their mission.

Summary

Communication and collaboration has been revolutionised throughout EGPAF through their use of Enterprise 2.0 tools, especially blogging, open forums and document comments. The sense of community and involvement has increased across the organisation, with everyone feeling encouraged to contribute their thoughts, opinions and ideas. The easy use of the intranet has given everyone a feeling of ownership. Time and money have been saved by reducing the time it takes for people to find information they need, making EGPAF more efficient.

The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation seeks to prevent pediatric HIV infection and to eliminate pediatric AIDS through research, advocacy, and prevention and treatment programs. Headquartered in the United States, EGPAF currently works in 15 countries.

Employees: 1,000-10,000

Vertical: Non-profit

Locations: North America

pedaids.org/

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation challenges

EGPAF had a clunky, difficult to manage intranet implemented on SharePoint back in 2007, which was proving to be more of a hindrance to collaboration and knowledge sharing than an aide due to the time, effort and training needed to maintain it. This intranet had several problems. There was no way to easily search for what was needed, which meant that key people were constantly being asked where information was located. Adding to this the Foundation had grown rapidly over the last few years.

The solution

EGPAF found that Interact Intranet was the best solution for them due to its simple to use content management system, its flexible nature and its powerful and intelligent search and extensive collaboration features.

Key benefits

  • Moving the day-to-day running of the intranet away from IT has saved money in both time and resources
  • Postage costs and internal e-mail traffic have been significantly reduced
  • Obtaining information for funding proposals is now far quicker and easier
  • Anyone in the organization can quickly and easily add a document or blog onto the intranet
  • People are empowered to find their own information using the powerful search facility, saving time and making everyone more productive
  • The Foundation feels they are more of a ‘community’ where everybody feels they can have their say
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