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Creating a digital workplace relevant to all staff

The digital workplace is an emerging concept, and universities are complex places. Over the past 10 years QUT have been on a journey of continuous improvement covering staff and student intranets, mobile and most recently transforming four searches into one crossing the entire organisation. In this engaging and practical session, Andy will demonstrate key features of QUT’s new digital workplace including:

•    a unique presentation of global vs. local web content that helped reduce content duplication by over 85%
•    creating a global homepage that feels like a local one
•    meeting varied user needs with a personalised LaunchPad created from an Application Directory, and;
•    making enterprise search work (in just three months)

Historically QUT had a decentralized and diversified intranet environment where numerous local intranets emerged to meet local area’s information needs. These were effective locally, but resulted in duplicated content and functionality across the entire organisation. Information quality and search suffered with staff working across faculties and institutes being provided conflicting or out of date information. The separate intranets existed across a range of platforms, ranging from SharePoint sites and Squiz Matrix, to static web pages based on outdated templates.

A taskforce was established to review these issues and propose a solution, however as a project emerged it became apparent that the initial project scope had underestimated the scale and complexity of the existing intranet environment. Following a period of intranet strategy discussions, a shared vision developed amongst senior stakeholders on the need for a single university-wide digital workplace that met the needs of both central service owners and local areas.

The result, the QUT Digital Workplace, is a personalised and responsive intranet portal through which QUT staff, students and researchers could access a wide range of applications and self-service tools to assist with their work and study. Key benefits included:

•    presenting global and local content on the same page
•    making complicated content simple to manage
•    creating a global homepage that feels like a local one
•    an integrated feedback workflow accessible from every page
•    role based delivery and discovery of applications (LaunchPad and Application Directory), and;
•    a personalised role based search that indexes web content, staff, students, teaching and application data.

Since going live, the digital workplace has had a significant impact on the university and the efficiency of staff and students. It helped consolidate duplicated content from 17,000 pages on 20 separate intranet sites to 2,500 (85%) on 1 covering the same topics. As a result user engagement increased by a factor of 61%, and search quality allowed over 90% of staff and students to find what they were after in the first result.