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Hudson SharePoint Intranet (MOSS 2007)

Completed: June 2009

Challenge
When Hudson became an independent public company in 2003, it launched a global intranet on a 3rd party CMS dedicated primarily to delivering Company News from the top. In addition, a hastily launched “communities” platform based on WSS 3.0 had shown the company the potential of collaborative technologies to manage projects and encourage user participation. By 2007, much had changed; from user expectations and web technology to Hudson’s own business model and management structure. With this backdrop we embarked on a project to replace Hudson’s Intranet with a modern approach that could meet the current and future business needs of the company.

User Research
We wanted to redesign the Intranet with user research at the center of our decision making. So, we began by engaging an ethnographic research firm to help us interview and observe the work habits of a cross-section of our user population from administrators through to VP’s of sales. We found the following user themes:

  • I read the news on the homepage, what else is there?
  • I’d rather call someone than use the intranet
  • I don’t see anything relevant to my job
  • It’s easier to find people in Outlook

Design
Using the research and the realities of an obsolete platform with no development support as the business case for proceeding with the project, we began the design process. We partnered with an external agency to augment our internal team for information architecture and wireframes. Only a month after the official release of MOSS 2007, our lead developer built a “Show Car” on a sandbox MOSS server to prove our vision and further refine our requirements. At this point in the middle of 2007, we could point people to the vision, but had huge doubts about our ability to roll the project into our internal infrastructure.

InSite 2004-2009 (replaced)InSite 2009 Home PageTeam Sites at the center of the user experienceImproved Intranet Search

Development/Beta Launch
With many web development and business priorities competing for attention through 2007 and 2008 we continued to chip away at the coalition building and hardware investments it would take to make the intranet a reality. During that time our CIO commandeered resources to clean up Active Directory and build out a development, staging, and production environment. At the same time the marketing team worked on final branding templates, content strategy, information architecture and Senior Management buy-in. Site development, including the heroic task of customizing Sharepoint templates, building custom webparts and configuring servers began in October 2008. The end result was a Beta Launch of InSite in June of 2009, 8 months later. We used the following Camtasia Video to communicate the exciting launch of what should prove to be a major leap in productivity for the company.

The Future
In the next 2-3 months we expect InSite to come out of beta and be every person’s homepage. After the platform is fully vetted in North America, we plan on deploying the project globally to fully replace the aging current platform.

Categories: Information Architecture, Knowledge Sharing, Project Definition, Project Management, Usability/Research, Web User Interfaces | No Comments »

Hudson Job Distribution System

Completed: March 2009

Challenge
Job candidates are the raw materials of the recruiting business. Without a steady supply of human resources, a staffing firm cannot deliver its products: filled job openings for clients. The supply chain is often fulfilled online through the use of job advertisements on websites like Monster and CareerBuilder. These ads cost millions of dollars yet their expense, deployment and effectiveness are difficult to manage. In a tough economic climate Hudson needed a way to manage job ad costs while gaining an understanding of the ROI.

Our other challenges included recruiter productivity loss, difficulty in achieving OFCCP compliance, and out of date website software which made jobs on our own site invisible to search engines.

Strategy
We convened a cross-functional team of marketing, IT, senior leadership and field recruiting professionals to establish a more efficient way of posting jobs and processing candidates. I documented requirements for all of the affected constituents then evaluated our own systems and additional vendors that could optimize each step of the workflow. The resulting systems map led us to the following:

  • Front-Office/ATS enhancement. We needed to create new candidate processing, job posting and OFCCP compliance modules for PeopleSoft and our home-grown Applicant Tracking System.
  • Job Distribution. Having one piece of software to post job ads to multiple websites while measuring the traffic to each ad was crucial. For this we chose First Advantage Postmaster
  • Website Rebuild. Creating an SEO-optimized portal for job postings on our own website would reduce our reliance on high-priced job boards. For this, we chose OptiJob.

Through a 4 month development process that involved coordinating vendors, contractors, training, and line of business teams we launched a functioning system on March 1, 2009.

PeopleSoft Job Ad Posting to FirstAdvantage Postmaster LXHudson Jobs Portal SEOPostMaster-Job Board Reporting

Results
We won’t fully understand the impact of this project for a few months, but we will review the following metrics.

  • Recruiter/Staff Productivity. Having a single location to post from instead of individual logins will save certain staff hundreds of hours of work. The additional media buying knowledge of the ad agency should reduce time spent chasing media contracts.
  • Job Ad Effectiveness. Consistent review of job ad ROI (number of impressions, number of applicants, number of hires) from ads across our different placements will help to direct investment to the right media.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Increased search engine visibility should allow for decreased need for job board expenses.
  • OFCCP Compliance. A process that helps recruiters comply with government regulations should assist in obtaining more government contract work.

Categories: Information Architecture, Interactive Strategy, Project Definition, Project Management | 1 Comment »

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