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​The National Autistic Society and Core

Overview​

The National Autistic Society is the foremost organisation in the United Kingdom (U.K.) for people with autism and those who care for them. With a head office in London and 60 sites throughout the country, it relies on its intranet to draw the organisation together and share information among members of staff, volunteers, and partners. David Moore the charity's ICT Manager, wanted to ensure that documents could be shared amongst the right people in order to progress the organisation.

Moore believed for this to occur they needed to change their intranet. The charity had relied on public folders in Microsoft Office Outlook and shared network drives to distribute documents. As the number of documents approached 1,000, the system "couldn't cope." The idea of replacing this ad-hoc system with an intranet with built-in document management made a lot of sense.

How Core solved the problem

Core is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner. The National Autistic Society created a taxonomy—a system for classifying and labelling documents on the site. Core ran four sessions with end users to create a structure that worked for all the stakeholders. Core took Microsoft Office SharePoint Server and added some specific features for the National Autistic Society, including a simple wizard that allowed content creators to apply tags to documents that reflected the taxonomy.

These changes to the central document library layout meant that traffic was being driven to their website. Core was able to achieve this change for them as a unique gadget (or "Web part") could be added to any page on the intranet to list relevant documents. It used Office SharePoint Server to search for tags that related to the page in question. Of course, the intranet also features a conventional Internet-style search tool and other useful features such as an HR area, hints and tips, and an event calendar.

The whole process of building the new intranet took about 10 days. This is because the standard functionality of SharePoint Server allowed Core and the National Autistic Society to focus on the taxonomy, site architecture, content, and special features like the document library. The National Autistic Society stated "It gave us a lot out of the box for very little time and only marginally added to our maintenance overhead."

Traffic has gone up by about 20 per cent, from 10,000 pages views weekly to 12,000. People are now staying longer on the site and exploring beyond the home page. In fact, the number of people who view more than one page has doubled.

 

"Our less-technical users have started using search a lot more, and it's given us huge benefits, including a jump in intranet traffic." (Magnus Huntley: IS Business Support)​


Tags

Collaborative Working     Microsoft SharePoint