Leading international education organization IIE launched a new intranet to boost team cohension and collaboration.
International education aims to create a more peaceful, equitable world based on the exchange of ideas across borders, and a greater understanding between people and cultures.
This is the vision and mission that drives IIE, which runs over 200 international education, scholarship and exchange programs.
The organization, which has been operating for nearly 100 years, has 18 offices and 1,400 member institutions, and operates in 185 countries. More than 42,500 enrolled participants benefit from the organization’s programs, around 5,700 of whom attend US universities.
In the past, IIE had different processes in place to support each of its programs.
Sandra Roldan, Intranet Specialist at IIE, says, “Different teams delivered their programs from start to finish, which meant we were all working differently. We needed to streamline our systems and processes, to propagate best practices, and to bring everyone together in pursuit of our core vision and mission.”
To support its efforts, IIE decided to replace its legacy intranet platform, which was based on Microsoft SharePoint technology. “Our old intranet was static and felt very corporate, with no features for social collaboration or knowledge sharing,” says Sandra. “What’s more, there was no way to search for and find key procedural documents, which was a real barrier to effective working.”
Delivering change with Interact
To create a virtual community, IIE deployed Interact intranet technology.
Interact offered all the collaboration and knowledge-sharing features we needed out of the box. There was no need for custom development work or add-ons, which made Interact the clear choice for us.
Working together for one vision
Sandra explains how Interact is facilitating far greater departmental and team collaboration and cohesion at IIE.
“With Interact, our office in Houston can see what colleagues are working on in Mexico City and Hong Kong, giving us all a feeling of pride in the organization and the work we do together,” she says. “It’s also much easier to find and communicate with employees globally and there are great knowledge-sharing features such as team sites and forums that help us all work together more effectively.”
Since its launch, the Interact intranet has played a key role in cultivating employee engagement across IIE. “We started with a competition to name the intranet,” says Sandra. “People had lots of great ideas, but in the end we chose the name “Eddie”, which is informal, engaging, and a total contrast to our old corporate-style intranet.”
In line with the new name, the social collaboration features of the Interact intranet make the site much more attractive and fun for employees. “We’re using Eddie to engage employees in a number of ways, from publishing organization-wide news on the homepage, to using the Interact Rewards feature to get people involved,” says Sandra. “We’ve done trials where people can give their colleagues gold stars, which has been extremely popular,” she adds.
Distributed teams and employees can also request other types of support from other teams and offices around the world. “The Budapest office recently requested some artwork to decorate their walls, and another team asked for volunteers to review some scholarship applications,” says Sandra. “It’s so much easier to work together and support each other with Interact.
Sharing knowledge to improve results
Today, IIE uses Interact Forums for every one of its departments, supporting great communication and helping employees get their questions answered quickly and easily. “We have forums for departments, but also for events, where employees from different departments and locations may be attending,” says Sandra. “This means people can work together better, prepare for events and meetings, and share knowledge that helps us deliver programs in the best possible way.”
IIE also uses Interact Forums to allow employees to request support for using a range of systems, ranging from finance systems to their external website. “We need to make sure people get the technical support they need to use our systems effectively, and Interact Forums is a great way of doing it.”
Uniting under a new brand
We needed to create a single, organization-wide identity to bring teams together, and Interact has helped hugely with that.
All of the new branding guidelines are hosted on Eddie, making it easy for teams to access and follow them. “The branding resources hosted on Eddie ensure that we present the organization in the same way at events worldwide, and that all our literature and other materials are 100% aligned to our core values,” says Sandra.
Working productively – all of the time
With Eddie, IIE’s distributed teams can save time and work more productively. “There are lots of ways people save time with Eddie,” says Sandra. “Interact Search and Best Bet features help people find the documents they need quickly, with no need to know who owns them,” she adds.
“Additionally, Interact Forums have reduced emails significantly and team members answer questions just once, instead of multiple times.”
Designing and building the perfect intranet
Working with Interact, IIE worked out the perfect content structure for its employees and partners. “Before starting the build, we worked with Interact’s professional services teams to structure our content and ensure that people could easily find the information they use most,” says Sandra.
“We were so impressed with their approach and with the results, that we used the same exercise to build our external website, which is now live and looking great.”