About West Lothian College
West Lothian College is an award-winning provider of further education based in Livingston. The college offers the widest range of academic and vocational qualifications in the area, offering a diverse curriculum to approximately 8000 students each year. Their vision is simple – to develop a highly skilled and resilient workforce.
Challenges facing West Lothian College
West Lothian College had been using an outdated version of SharePoint as their main intranet platform. The system had a relatively open structure which meant there was no governance in place, and any user within the organisation was able to create subsites and create/share information freely and easily. This created the issue of content sprawl and posed a significant risk for sensitive and protected data leakage.
Continuing to use the intranet in this way was also limiting the College’s ability to collaborate and access key information efficiently. With over 1500 Teams sites on the tenant, some departments had difficulty finding content on the current platform. Furthermore, information available to employees was “static”, resulting in information being out of date or no longer relevant. Document libraries also exceeded the 5000-item limit which was also resulting in a poor user experience.
After a thorough review, Bridgeall carried out the following processes for West Lothian College to modernise their SharePoint intranet:
Rebuilt the Intranet homepage
West Lothian College were using an intranet system built on SharePoint Classic. We migrated the team to SharePoint Modern to benefit from additional functionality. The far more up-to-date and user-friendly interfaces associated with out-of-the-box modern SharePoint are hugely superior to classic, resulting in more attractive and intuitive digital workplaces and intranets, supporting better adoption.
We set up a news site to go with the homepage which was an easier way of categorising news. This included news updates and blog posts as well as any updates coming from the college principal.
Best practices for managing security and permissions
There were several pages and attachments on the intranet with unique permissions. To avoid any data leakage or access from unauthorised staff or students, we provided recommendations to keep a strict access policy and created site owners to prevent any issues.
Training sessions provided – Creating champions of the intranet
We gave selected staff an overview of building out site pages as they were being entrusted with creating new sites. We built an individual site for each champion and provided an interactive tutorial session. We also built out mini sites and got them to grips with the fundamentals and creating content within the sites.
Implement governance and good practice for site creation
To tackle the issue of multiple subsites we suggested the team use a flat structure with sites associated with a ‘Hub’ site (known as SharePoint Modern). We also recommended they disable the creation of sites from the SharePoint start page and establish a process for requesting a new site. Managing the process in this way would ensure that any new sites created could be allocated an owner and be standardised for the needs of the organisation.
As there were several documents on the tenant, some of which were shared externally, we reset sharing of specific documents / libraries to remove unintended edit permissions. This was to tidy existing data and ensure West Lothian College were on the best footing when launching the new intranet system.
To minimise the administrative burden of managing permissions, we recommended that users should be added to Azure AD Security Groups and then those security groups should be added into the permissions groups for each site.
As a result of our review, Bridgeall was able to deliver the following benefits to the client:
- We successfully upgraded the previous intranet platform to a new modern intranet with a much better user experience to boost employee and company-wide engagement.
- The new SharePoint intranet system created a centralised hub of information for staff, partners and customers.
- The new and improved intranet helped with closer collaboration between staff.
- All the information is easily accessible from anywhere. From now on, company-wide notifications will be easily and quickly distributed ensuring safety and compliance across the business.