Intranet Consultancy & Development - Burnley Borough Council

Clarity provided Intranet Consultancy Services for Burnley Borough Council, which were used to improve internal collaboration and information management and to increase the efficiency of business processes.

Clarity constructed a corporate portal based on SharePoint and provided a range of IT management consultancy, SharePoint technical design and implementation services during delivery of this contract. Clarity also provided extensive knowledge transfer services in order to allow Council staff to take full responsibility for support and continuing development of the SharePoint solutions, which were designed to automate business processes and provide integrated and managed access to corporate applications and data.

Clarity’s scope of supply included:

  • Produce a design plan for the structure of the site.
  • Provide advice on the technical requirements to deliver a successful SharePoint strategy, including storage requirements and other implementation and maintenance issues. This included the provision of infrastructure guidance and recommendations on an acceptable architecture, topology and server specifications that could be used to support a local authority SharePoint intranet while satisfying considerable budgetary constraints.
  • Develop an intranet with Burnley Council branding, including integration with HR systems to display holiday entitlement information, a sales board and a shout function.
  • Configure document and records management solutions for two service units, including implementation of metadata and taxonomy management.
  • Develop workflows for strategic plans and Executive and Scrutiny Committee reports.
  • Migrate corporate policy documents from the existing Council intranet to SharePoint document libraries.
  • Configure a staff directory using MySite data.
  • Develop a personalised landing page, which includes the display of user-specific content.
  • Support the development of online forms, with supporting business process workflows.
  • Create a team site template and team sites, including team calendars with Outlook integration.
  • Configuration of additional search metadata properties to allow search refinement using the additional metadata and also the ability to use these fields within the advanced search functionality.
  • Configuration and integration of the User Profile Service application with Burnley’s Active Directory Service.
  • The provision of help and guidance on the creation of a custom CSS, which was used to allow the Council’s media team to take direct ownership of the style and branding of their intranet.
  • Training Burnley Council staff on how to;
    • Use the SharePoint object model to create web parts to interface into back-office systems.
    • Create web services to act as middleware to back-office systems.
  • Development and guidance on writing PowerShell backup and restore scripts for the live system and how to restore a backup onto a UAT system.
  • Development and deployment of a news carousal for the intranet landing page, which uses images and text from a SharePoint announcement list as its primary data source.
  • The provision of expert training and guidance for a departmental staff member from the Chief Executive’s Office in order to give them sufficient competence to become a SharePoint site administrator and manage their site without having to rely on the provision of technical resources from the IS and IT departments.

The majority of the work was undertaken in Burnley Council’s offices, with Clarity staff working alongside Council personnel as members of a single integrated project delivery team, eliciting detailed requirements, developing and demonstrating corresponding solution configurations and transferring SharePoint expertise to Council staff through close collaboration. As an overriding ethos, Clarity took responsibility for delivering the solution, while using a highly collaborative approach to review requirements and corresponding configuration options, share tasks with Council project team members and IT staff, discuss and expose the work that was done and facilitate knowledge transfer.

Clarity used a structured approach to manage successful delivery of this project, which was based on the following sequence of lifecycle delivery phases:

  • Requirements Analysis
  • System Design
  • System Installation and Configuration
  • Feature Configuration, Development and Evaluation
  • Acceptance

A period of ad hoc technical support was also provided following successful completion of the above delivery phases.

Note that whilst the above approach implies a rigid adherence to a chronological sequence of phases, a considerably more practical approach was utilised in order to accelerate the delivery of value-adding capabilities within the shortest possible time-scales. In particular, key feature-area streams were identified and progressed separately through the lifecycle, where this approach was deemed practical and beneficial.