Cloud distribution company, rhipe, has recently completed an Office 365 deployment with The Australian Ballet aimed at improving productivity and employee collaboration in disparate environments.
Rhipe vice president of solutions, Daniel Goss, told ARN the ballet had an ageing intranet platform that didn’t provide the capability or user experience the organisation was looking for.
“They have different roles [office, touring and support staff, management and dancers] that all need access to information, often on different devices and the current platform simply couldn’t support it, especially when the content included rich media such as rehearsal videos,” he said.
“The information that was shared lacked consistency and departments found it difficult to collaborate and communicate relevant information to others. The solution had to address these needs and deliver it in a modern, engaging way that aligned with The Australian Ballet brand.
As the one of Australia’s largest arts companies, The Australian Ballet’s plans for expansion, attracting new audiences and creating new productions, initially lead its IT department to look at ways the company could be more productive, collaborative and mobile.
Australian Ballet IT manager, Damien Calvert, said the organisation had a workforce that was split across the country but needed to work together on specific projects.
“We really wanted to find a solution to cope with the problem of having people in different places and connect the different parts of our organisation,” he said.
“We were looking for a modern intranet, and Microsoft SharePoint was a good fit. We made the decision to go to Office 365 as Microsoft offers great benefits to Nonprofits and we saw the potential of the platform.
Rhipe’s Goss said the most challenging component of the deployment was making sure that the user experience was consistent across a host of personal mobile devices.
“Engaging dancers was a key requirement of the project and we felt their user experience was critical to the adoption of the platform,” he said.
Goss added that the only way to overcome the challenge of deploying a new system to such a vast array of users in different roles was an extensive testing process.
“User acceptance testing is critical,” he said.
“Don’t assume how people will access content on mobile devices, you will constantly be surprised. It’s great to see Microsoft assisting by building out discrete experiences through apps. The O365 Video App is great for viewing video content on mobile devices and leaves us to focus on where we can add value.
Goss explained rhipe also deployed a custom calendar app that aggregated multiple event calendars for different departments.
“Users could easily see colour coded events based on tags and connect them to their Outlook client,” he continued.
“In this situation we used the out of the box calendar functionality of SharePoint Online with a new front end experience, thus minimising the risk of issues if Microsoft decided to deploy an enhancement to the platform. Small app based enhancements like this can solve a simple yet common problem and also provide a little “wow’ factor for users.”
“I think there’s a huge potential with the Office 365 platform,” added Calvert.
“We are starting to look into things like Power BI as analytics is of great interest to the business. A lot of our daily reports have to be manually collected and put into Excel sheets, so I think the Power BI tool is very exciting in how it visualises the data and allows people to interact with it.”