While predominantly based in Brisbane, Acaché does not have a physical office space. Instead they rely on their SharePoint Online environment, The Cache, to serve as a virtual office for the whole company.
Acaché is a Brisbane-based consultancy that aims to maximise sustainable commercial value for its clients. The organisation has consulted on more than 160 projects, across a variety of industries from both public and private sectors.
Acaché, while predominantly based in Brisbane, does not have a physical office space, and so relies on their SharePoint Online environment, The Cache, to serve as a virtual office for the whole company.
The existing solution was Acaché’s central source of corporate policies and company news, as well as being the primary platform for collaboration between team members on each project. While the original site accommodated these needs, user experience made information difficult to locate, which meant employees were reluctant to adopt The Cache.
Our primary focus was to implement a new SharePoint solution that optimised user experience while also relying on out of the box solutions to keep pace with changes in Office 365.
Planning involved conducting an audit of the existing environment and taking insights from workshops to highlight existing challenges for user adoption and identify potential improvements that would make life easier for staff.
We then implemented these improvements by employing out-of-the-box SharePoint solutions, as well as some minor custom web parts. Starting with the base of a standard Office 365 SharePoint site, we applied Acaché branding and some customisation to ensure The Cache prioritised functionality that users need.
The team recommended simplification of The Cache’s information architecture and designed a user interface and term store-driven navigation that greatly improved user experience to help staff find relevant information and provide them with visual cues so they could easily identify where they are in the wider system.
While out-of-the-box web parts can sometimes be restrictive when it comes to catering for user needs, our team utlised a creative blend of existing solutions and custom implementation to ensure The Cache was as organic and reusable as possible.
The most used content in The Cache resides in many assignment sites, which were based on a site template. SharePoint Online is evergreen, with features being added or changed periodically so saving a customised site as a template is no longer supported or a viable option.
Instead the team used Office 365 and Azure to create a hosted SharePoint add-in for remote provisioning of these team sites. At the point of provisioning:
- site metadata is applied
- lists and libraries are created, with any content types applied and workflows configured
- web parts are configured and placed on the site’s home page
- each site is created using the most up-to-date SharePoint site template.
With no physical office and employees needing to access the system in a variety of contexts, it was important The Cache was accessible across all platforms. We made sure to prioritise responsive design throughout our development process, making sure no user was disadvantaged by the technology they were using.
Even though The Cache is integral to the everyday workings of Acaché, discussions with employees showed that user adoption was still a challenge. Personalisation was key to convincing employees of the value of The Cache, so our team integrated functionality like Office Delve and document prioritisation to ensure every user’s experience was unique and catered to their individual needs.
Office 365 solutions
By utilising standard SharePoint capabilities and web parts, such as team sites and Yammer, we developed a solution that maintains consistency and forward compatibility.
The solution we created for Acaché transformed The Cache into a virtual office employees want to use.
The system is now a dynamic environment that changes to suit individual needs, while also ensuring that everyone can access organisation-wide information with ease. Employees are engaging with each other more and more through Yammer and project assignment sites, making Acaché’s collaborative approach to projects much easier to implement.
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