Skip to main content

Diabetes UK

​Diabetes UK rebuilt its awkward, dated intranet to a more visually engaging, intuitive system based on SharePoint 2013

Short Overview

  • Diabetes UK is the UK’s leading Diabetes charity, helping more than 3.8 million people and their families affected by or at risk of diabetes.
  • With help from Core, Diabetes UK rebuilt its awkward, dated intranet to a more visually engaging, intuitive system based on SharePoint 2013.
  • The new intranet is more flexible, more vibrant and easier to work with. Core’s assistance and expertise made the migration process almost seamless.

“We felt that Core listened to us more.  When we briefed them on our requirements, they answered the questions that we asked honestly and set out their proposal in a straight forward and simple to understand format”. Alison Harman, Intranet Manager, Diabetes UK.


Diabetes UK is the leading charity that cares for, connects with and campaigns on behalf of every person affected by or at risk of diabetes in the UK. Across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, over 3.8 million people live with diabetes, making it the fastest-growing health threat in the UK. To face this challenge, Diabetes UK relies on an army of over 300,000 supporters, 5,000 volunteers and 6,000 healthcare professionals, working together in areas ranging from care and support to prevention, fundraising and research.

All this work involves harnessing a lot of information, and making that information accessible across the organisation and its teams. That’s why, in 2014, Diabetes UK decided to replace its existing intranet, based on Microsoft SharePoint 2007. Originally designed as a document management system, the intranet was becoming a key internal communications platform, but it just wasn’t up to the task. It was tired-looking and structured in a way that no longer matched the way the organisation worked. Led by Alison Harman, Intranet manager, and working closely with the charity’s IT team, they had originally planned a move to SharePoint 2010, but made the ambitious decision to move directly to SharePoint 2013 instead.

Harman had definite objectives in mind. “We wanted it to look more visually engaging, and to be flexible enough for people to be able to make a lot of their own changes. One of the key things we wanted to do was change the architecture. A lot of people didn’t like the way the navigation worked and found adding content cumbersome.” Diabetes UK wanted an architecture that was accessible and intuitive, and that mirrored the charity’s own team structure as well as providing quick access to useful functions.  “We wanted to make it easier for people to find the right information quickly”, Harman says.

Having settled on a new implementation of SharePoint 2013, Diabetes UK looked for a partner to help deliver it. Putting the project out to tender, they quickly settled on Core. “We felt that Core listened to us more” says Harman. “When we briefed them on our requirements, they answered the questions that we asked honestly and set out their proposal in a straight forward and simple to understand format. We felt that others were a bit more boiler-plate in their approach, rather than listening to the customer and tailoring their tender to suit the project in hand.”

“With Core, it could all be done within the one organisation, with no outsourcing to 3rd party organisations.  Working with different individuals from branding consultants to migration consultants has been very positive”.  Alison Harman, Intranet Manager, Diabetes UK.

Crucially, Core could offer all the services Diabetes UK needed in-house, from configuring SharePoint to establishing the new site hierarchy, to branding the site and migrating the existing documents, teams and users. “Other providers were not so hot on the visuals and the branding, or they would have had to bring in a third party”, Harman notes. “With Core, it could all be done within the one organisation.”

Together, personnel from Diabetes UK and Core worked together in three key areas: redesigning the site structure to meet the charity’s requirements, creating a distinctive, intuitive look and feel, and planning the migration process. Once a working architecture had been established, designers from Core worked with the internal communications and marketing teams at Diabetes UK to work out colours, styles and templates. Then, working closely with Harman and her colleagues, Core built the site framework before transferring it to the charity’s third-party datacentre.

Having configured settings, Core next applied branding and then began migration. As Harman mapped out what needed transferring from the old sites and where it needed to go on the new, Core’s consultants migrated the data, before Harman checked each site. As each team’s content was migrated over, additional content was frozen until all the migrations were completed. What’s more, team sites were migrated in order of frequency of use, so that those teams who used their site the most experienced minimal downtime.

Within days, the whole process was finished, the team sites were unfrozen and Core and Diabetes UK could switch to user training. Harman explains that “the migration was the thing I was worried about most, especially considering that we were going from SharePoint 2007 to 2013.” “It went very smoothly” she says.

Diabetes UK and Core completed the whole project, from planning to implementation, in just over three months, with every milestone hit to schedule. Throughout key stages of the implementation, Harman had daily updates with Core’s consultants, whose flexibility helped the project move along. The results have more than met expectations. “The new system is much more flexible” says Harman. ”People can edit their team pages much more easily” and the intranet has become “a better communication tool” which “looks vibrant and has a distinct look and feel.” As a result, “a lot of the teams have been a lot more engaged in keeping content fresh and making their sites more functional.”

With the new intranet successfully completed, Harman hopes to work with Core on future enhancements. “Working with different individuals there has been very positive” she adds.


Collaborative Working   Membership and not for profit organisations Microsoft SharePoint