Case: intranet for the employees of the City of Tampere

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A year has passed since the launch of the City of Tampere’s new employee intranet. Let’s find out how the new intranet called Tasku (Pocket) has been received by the users. Communication manager Aila Rajamäki states that the users have had a positive experience with the new system. “The feedback on the content and usability has been primarily positive”, Rajamäki states.Intranet projects for large cities are massive considering the number of users alone, and Tasku, for example, has approximately 15,000 users. Large projects also often involve several organisations and people and the time scale is long, requiring the work to be carried out at stages.

North Patrol is a consulting firm specialized in the design of digital services and information systems. We shape ideas into a vision and service concept, find the best architectural and technological solutions, design a functional user experience, and compete to find the ideal partner for implementation work. We do not sell implementation projects, nor do we sell licenses; we are genuinely on the side of the customer.

5 November 2018

Kimmo Parkkinen

If it is not broken…

North Patrol assisted the City of Tampere at the beginning of the project by performing a preliminary survey, specifying the requirements and putting the contract up for tender. Sami Kalanen from North Patrol says that the existing intranet provided a good starting point for the next one. Loora, the previous intranet, had a good concept and a lot of users.

The concept was based on dividing the content into themes aimed at separate user groups. “In the previous system, professional groups or the users of a particular system were able to share work instructions and other materials related to their jobs. It was good that the culture was already in place. Many of our intranet projects have shown us that it is difficult to dictate from above how the work should be supported – it should come from the organisation itself spontaneously”, Kalanen says.

The biggest needs for change at the beginning of this project were related to the obsolete technology, user interface and visual appearance. Users also wanted a better mobile user experience.

Employee’s personal home page

Content in Tasku is divided clearly into the following sections: home page, HR matters, Work support and Organisation. The customisable main content area includes a news item, main news, and a news and events column. Shortcuts facilitate finding the right information, and bulletins from the external website are also displayed.

Tasku allows employees to update their contact details and follow sites, applications and links of their interest. All this results in a truly personal intranet home page for the individual employee. In addition, employees may subscribe to news and events to receive them directly into their email address.

Tasku can be accessed using remote credentials for example on mobile devices provided by the city, which enables those working outside the office and with clients to access the system.

A few years’ project for communication, HR and information management departments

The City of Tampere begun the planning of the intranet together with North Patrol in 2015, and after six months, the project contract was put up for tender. In the summer of 2016, Solita begun working on the new intranet on the Liferay platform. Shared materials were published in Tasku in October 2017, with the first unit sites going live in January 2018.

Liferay suits this type of concept and culture well. It provides features such as thematic categorisation of news and events”, Kalanen says.

The number of project participants varied according to the stages of the project. The City of Tampere assigned a communication designer from the communication division as the project manager of the project group. Also from the communication division, a communication manager and web communication designer participated in the renewal project. Information management assigned an application expert to the project, and a HR planner participated in planning the HR matters section.

Intranet that gets the message across

Tasku was not completed all at once, and due to the large scale of the project, the intranet was published gradually. First, the content common to all user groups was published, followed by the gradual creation of dedicated unit sites for communication of various service areas, service groups, units and professional groups. The old intranet was in use over the transition period, enabling the phasing in of the new service.

Certain difficult technical challenges occurred during the project. According to Rajamäki, Tasku will be developed according to a plan with the aim of introducing new functions.

The intranet is currently administered by roughly 150 people. The number will increase over time as the rest of the unit-specific sites are launched.

“In my opinion, we managed to design and implement a successful communicational intranet“, Rajamaki says.

Case: City of Tampere intranet

Client: City of Tampere
Contract value approximately: 200 000 €
Service: Intranet
Technical platform: Liferay CE
Preliminary survey: North Patrol (autumn 2015)
Requirements specification, request for proposals and vendor selection: North Patrol (spring 2016)
Technical implementation: Solita (from June 2016)
Launch: October 2017
The intranet will be updated, e.g. by adding new units and sections early in 2018

Original article (In Finnish) was written by Hanna Korhonen from North Patrol

Kimmo Parkkinen

Kimmo Parkkinen is an expert in requirement specifications and software procurement.

Kimmo consults the customers on defining the functional requirements and technical design of web based solutions as well as selecting the best suppliers for the implementation phase. His areas of expertise include designing, modelling and documenting complex web based services.

Kimmo has over 20 years of experience with web and intranet projects, including serving as a software architect, technical project manager and a production manager in software vendor companies and also as an independent consultant.

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