Case study: secrets behind creating an award-winning intranet

How Tauron Group created an award-winning intranet

February 10, 2015

Electricity supplier The TAURON Group made history after becoming the first Polish organisation to be recognised for having one of the world’s best intranets.

The power distributor shares the secrets about how its Sharepoint 2013-based platform was recognised as one of the top ten intranets in the world in the prestigious Nielsen Norman Group awards.

The bedrock to the project’s success won’t surprise many internal communications professionals: listening.

It is a recurring theme inside IC circles at the moment as the industry continues to evolve away from the traditional top down messaging.

The TAURON Group recruited intranet experts IT-Dev of the Euvic Technology Group and Edisonda to develop the internal plaform, known as Tauronet, to be used by 16,500 users across 270 locations throughout Poland.

Quite a challenge.

Due to the sheer scale of the Tauron Group, many of the group’s larger enterprises already had their own established intranet sites. Before development began, these sites were analysed to understand their shortcomings so previous mistakes would not be repeated.

Understanding the business, its needs and users’ preferences were fundamental in the creation of Tauronet, according to Hubert Turaj, UX Director at EDISONDA.

He said: “Before we began working on the project we wanted to identify the needs of the employees in all the companies of the TAURON Group. In the course of 10 workshops we met over 70 people representing various departments and specialisations.

“We also conducted a survey in which over 2,500 employees participated, indicating the most vital functions and urgent needs.

“Again it turned out that research is crucial to the user-oriented design process, making it possible to prepare a system design with a definitely greater awareness.”

Responses from the workshops and the survey resulted in 300 mock-ups being drawn up.

Meanwhile plans to allow independent editorial teams – rather than a centralised group of editors – to upload directly into the system were being put in place.

Web architects devised a system where people could direct and generate content for the people they were responsible for. Editors at a higher level could then decide whether to promote that content to a wider audience creating a form of targeted content, which is so crucial in today’s internal communication.

Tomasz Szalaj, CEO at IT-Dev, said: “This is a kind of a self-organising content management process.

“It supports the corporate culture that draws on the diversity of its communities, while ensuring insight into and supervision over the compliance of local initiatives and actions with the corporate communication strategy and values.

“It worked perfectly in such a vast and diversified organisation as the TAURON Group as a tool for presenting various types of information – from news and internal regulations to project, programme and working group data.”

Eye-tracking testing and in-depth analysis of users habits were also carried out as the beta version of Tauronet neared completion.

β€œIt is a very important distinction to us and at the same time an incentive to keep working on the further development and improvement of our system. The TAURON Group employs about 25,000 staff today. This is why the intranet is one of the most essential and indispensable tools for internal communication in the company,” said Pawel Gniadek, Director of the Market Communication and PR Department, TAURON Polska Energia.