Success Stories:Howard Hughes Medical Institute gets a new intranet

The Challenge

Over time, this research institute’s intranet became fractured with siloed content and no longer useful to employees.

The Solution

Consolidate multiple sites into one well-designed intranet built on top of Microsoft SharePoint Online and Office 365.

The Results

Help nearly 3,000 busy employees quickly locate important information most relevant to their role and location.

Make the intranet useful again

HHMI engaged AIS to consolidate, modernize, and invigorate its intranet—make it useful again—while also standardizing on a single technology platform.

We launched a four-month discovery process that involved engaging more than 100 HHMI employees to understand why and how they used the intranet and how they wanted to use it. We held a series of workshops, focus groups to better understand their pain points and needs for a more reliable intranet.

Build and test

Using this information, we built wireframes for a new intranet design that we quickly transformed into interactive prototypes. We conducted usability tests with the prototypes to validate the direction for the new intranet

At the same time, we were creating a new site design, we set up governance procedures for content contributors to standardize content management procedures, and established rubrics for measuring success once the site went live.

Build enthusiasm

HHMI employees appreciated being part of the design process and felt a sense of ownership in the new intranet—critical in working towards adoption. They were impressed with the degree to which AIS got in the trenches with them and worked to understand their daily jobs, time constraints, and information needs before making a single design decision.

Make scalable and future-friendly

We created the site on Microsoft SharePoint Online, an HHMI requirement, and designed a hybrid architecture that combines customizations in Classic SharePoint with components built in SharePoint Framework. Thus, the technical foundation of the intranet is cloud-scalable, ready to incorporate new technology, and grow and adapt to meet the institute’s needs.