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American Airlines Credit Union – Landing Page Revamp


by Veronica L. Martinez | Project Manager | Organization Performance/Employee Development | AA Credit Union

After having the same intranet for a decade, the American Airlines Credit Union decided it was time for a change.  Difficult to find content coupled with a shaky search engine, resulted in frustration for end users.  A focus group of members representing every department throughout the organization was created to take part in user interviews, surveys and then a card sorting project.  Once the data was collected, the portal team designed a prototype to ensure content was well organized prior to usability testing. 

With the support of the Passageways Consulting Team, AACU was able to develop a brand new portal with an incredibly organized landing page.   First and foremost, it was essential that the landing page content reflected the value they place on their employees and contributions.  Not only did it exemplify their culture with impactful imagery and stories, it allowed their employees to find the information they needed to do their jobs quickly. 

Similarly, the portal administrators collaborated with Passageways to create as much efficiency and automation as possible.  Quotes of the day could be loaded over a year in advance while birthdays and anniversaries were populated from Employee Profiles to showcase photos of the employees celebrating milestones.  A virtual suggestion box titled “Give us your Good Ideas” allowed individuals to submit recommendations that would be automatically routed to the portal team, with an option for anonymity.

A strong, single search engine with drop-down categories separating products and services from internal P&P optimized overall search functionality.  An employee directory could also be accessed from the search, with contact information auto-populated from Active Directory.  For instance, pulling up “Loan Officers” would show all employee profiles with that title.  Additionally, employee profile fields were customizable; for instance, with a foreign language skill.  This would allow an employee to search “Spanish” and all Spanish speaker profiles would show up.  No more sending mass email blasts to everyone in the organization.

A horizontal drop-down page menu and another one with Quick Links (most frequently used websites) were constructed to preserve precious real-estate, eliminating scrolling down the page.   This also helped them hold true to their “less than 3 clicks guarantee” to find portal content.   A central resource tabbed section with links to the most important pages on their sites was neatly arranged toward the center of the page with the headings:   Communications, Toolbox, Calendars and About Us.  Short descriptions of each page provided basic information for ease of use. 

The formal unveiling of the new Landing Page was propelled with a series of “teasers” giving readers snippets of each section, highlighting features and benefits without ever uncovering the page as a whole.  This build-up conjured up an incredible amount of excitement – on the day of the roll-out, the  feedback was absolutely overwhelming.   

 Here are a few comments we received: ““I didn’t even have to use the quick reference guides to use the new Hub.  Thanks for making my job easier.  Now I can take more time with our members instead of going on a scavenger hunt!”

“I just wanted to say how much I loved the new HUB. Great look, much more intuitive than the previous version and for a still relatively new employee, I have a much easier time navigating it to find what I want and need, including a number of things I never actually saw on the previous incarnation. Great work on everyone's part.”

Remarkably, the positive accolades continue to roll in.  After an employee was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, the portal team used the landing page to advertise a Fund Raising initiative using the Passageways auction platform to raffle off prizes and forms builder to administer a “Kiss the Pig” contest.   This campaign resulted in enough funds to cover the employee’s chemo treatments, eliminating the stress of financial burdens.

Developing the landing page “with the user, not just for the user” maximized employee buy in.  Involving focus group members from the very beginning ensured content was both easily accessible and actionable.  Ultimately, the page disseminates knowledge throughout the organization to help it grow.  It also helped the American Airlines Credit Union nab Passageways’ “2010 Best Portal Landing Page” contest!


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Starting with a WOW: Streamlining New Employee Orientation


Integrating New Employee Orientation into an online environment  - by Andrew J. Ryback @ MECU

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Using the Passageways Intranet Portal, we created a New Employee Orientation/Integration page on our intranet to assist with the new hire process. The portal enables us to move from a paper-based process to one that is fully supported in an online environment. Because of the ease of use of the portal software, we were able to create this feature without the help of outside developers or our IT department. Information can be updated regularly and we have ensured consistency throughout the new hire process. 

We developed the NEO section of our Intranet to create a positive welcoming experience for anyone new to the credit union. We realized that we only have one chance for a positive new employee experience. New employees can access relevant information at their own pace and from the comfort of their desk. Information is available to them whenever they need it and they can return to it at any point.  Essentially, this is a one-stop-shop for all things related to the new hire process. HR information, organizational philosophy, procedures, and training links are all completely accessible. No longer do new employees waste time hunting for information outside of their department, nor is there a need for managers and trainers to spend hours guiding new employees day-to-day.

Employees continue through the NEO process for the first 90 days of employment.  After 2-day face-to-face orientation is complete, the employee is released to their manager. From there, most of the on-boarding rests on our managers. With so much emphasis placed on the employee learning the skills needed to perform their specific job, the portal allows the manager and employee to work together to complete tasks and conduct weekly follow-up concerning things not directly related to the employee’s job. The NEO portal page becomes a roadmap for success of the employee that can be easily tracked by management. 

This new process has enabled us to save countless manager/new employee/trainer hours and focus on relevant on-the-job training. We estimate that we have saved, on average, $1800.00 per new employee during their orientation period. Considering costs involved with recruiting and hiring, that number jumps exponentially when factoring in employee retention.

 Key Highlights include:

  • Disaster recovery/new employee emergency contact information collection

  • Welcome video from CEO

  • Organizational information

  • Links to relevant intranet pages

  • HR policies and procedures

 Key benefits include:

  • Saves time and money with regard to publishing forms and paperwork

  • Eliminates chasing down managers for new hire information

  • Enables new hires to be able to access the most up-to-date information

  • Encourages new hires to refer to the intranet as their main resource

  • Creates a sense of “belonging” for new hires

Several other credit unions have reached out to us to learn more about this project. We know our staff and management is very happy with this addition to our intranet. It has certainly become an organization-wide best practice and continues to inspire other credit union teams across the country.

Leave comments and question below - Thanks!

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Top 10 considerations when selecting your Employee Intranet


Selecting a partner for your employee intranet solution is a decision that will impact each of your employees for the next several years. It is a decision that requires close attention to both the product offering and the company delivering the solution. You want to make sure you make the right choice the FIRST time because Re-populating a new portal and retraining your staff after a poor experience with the first portal is a recipe for disappointment and frustration. Don’t make that mistake! 

Through our extensive research and experience the Passageways has identified ten key considerations that should be observed before choosing your portal solution. 

  1. Priority #1: make sure the solution streamlines your corporate communications! Simple tools such as announcements, calendars, sign-up events and discussion boards need to be easy to create and maintain for all of your staff, not just IT. These tools should help organize information from various departments including FAQs, documents, forms and contact details. Your chosen solution needs to meets this basic requirement. 
  2. What is your mission and vision? How well understood is your strategic plan? Your employee portal should allow you to keep your employees focused on the key initiatives and allow you to use unique functionality sets such as, performance dashboards to track progress. Dashboards should be broken down into department and project levels. Your portal needs to ensure your goals are well communicated and understood by your employees. 
  3. A common goal among our customers is to create a search-driven self service environment. Creating and publishing de-centralized content should be encouraged. Gone are the days of encyclopedias and centralized publishing. Every department should have the ability to easily create and update information quickly, efficiently. This burden should not solely fall upon IT.   
  4. Your intranet platform should enable users to connect their questions with topic experts, product specialists. Such capability requires rich and searchable employee profiles and the ability to instant message experts immediately! This project should dramatically improve your customer service and exception handling. 
  5. Your intranet platform should handle the countless number of documents and vendor contracts you share regularly across the organization. Providing access to a centralized repository with the ability to perform full text search is both convenient and efficient. Consider the time savings that Google offers you each and every day. The same should be true while searching of documents and vendor information within the organization. Versioning of important policy and compliance documentation is another important capability that a regulated industry workforce needs to establish. 
  6. What about social tools? Web 2.0? Your intranet platform should provide the advances of various tools such as the ability to maintain a profile, the ability to subscribe to (follow) other employee profiles, and the ability to comment on documents and on employee profiles. Activity feeds are a great way to stay in touch with updates from various team members and departments. Enterprise class social tools should allow you to switch these social tools off when required and are for employee interaction only. They should not link out to Facebook or LinkedIn. Be sure to look for social tools to be built within your portal solution as these are help to increase efficiency and engage younger employees. 
  7. Your intranet platform should facilitate process automation. Expense reporting, supply ordering and event/training sign-ups should be easily handled through your intranet. All existing forms should be searchable and routed right on the Intranet portal itself. Such projects make the portal project multi-dimensional and ensures rapid acceptance by your staff.  Cumbersome processes should able to be fully integrated and streamlined within your intranet solution. 
  8. Collaboration between departments is essential in every organization. Your intranet platform should allow you to streamline the way your Human Resources department connects with your Marketing department and how your Accounting department connects with your IT department and so on. Your staff should have the ability to open requests and track those requests through completion. It turns out that this is the most appreciated change we have brought about through our solutions. Bringing transparency and accountability for inter-department requests builds a collaborative (and accountable) team across the enterprise. 
  9. Organizations exist to offer products and services to their customers. Ensuring that the information on these products and services is readily available to your staff is essential. Inefficiencies can be eliminated thereby ensuring your customers receive the most relevant information, immediately. Utilizing a searchable “Wiki” structure to help capture product information is fast becoming the norm for most organizations and this Wiki resource should reside on your intranet platform.
  10. Your intranet platform should allow you to create virtual departments and branches. It should also allow you to create ad hoc virtual team pages for projects and committees. These team pages can be used to document knowledge that is otherwise stuck in everyone’s mailbox, network drive or their head. Tracking each employee’s contribution to organizational information is an important aspect of intranet platform progression.

We hope you find these considerations helpful in selecting the right solution for your organization.

Passageways consults with each of our customers to ensure that each customer portal is configured to reflect their organization’s culture. Your portal will become a part of your corporate identity. A well delivered project leads to employee engagement and excitement. Fun initiatives including; naming contests, organization-wide portal “scavenger hunts” or auctions on the portal are common strategies to ensure end-user participation with Passageways customer portals.   

The considerations outlined herein are essential in considering your employee intranet solution provider. Ultimately, there are three main choices you have: 


Build your own employee intranet using technology platforms such as .NET, JAVA or PHP.

100% build option

Continuous Project (min 12 months)


Configure a Sharepoint platform or IBM Websphere platform, often working with a local consulting firm to build specific functionality you require to customize these generic packages.


50% build option, after buying a portal platform as a start

6-12 months


Work with a ready to deploy platform like Passageways


100% buy option

1-3 months

Every organization’s needs are different so there is no single direction to recommend here. However, one ought to carefully consider the many steps involved in delivering and sustaining a world-class portal solution including: installation, configuration, customization, training and partnering with a provider for support over the next several years. A good partner steps in to supplement your team as required and eliminates being at the “mercy” of your Intranet team’s priorities. With that being said; Passageways is the leading provider of Employee Intranet solutions having delivered several hundred portals across the world.  Here are some considerations about our solution for your review:

  1. Passageways has been serving customers with our portal solutions since 2003. Eight years later our first ten customers, along with a number of others, continue to use our intranet platform.
  2. A near 100% customer retention rate establishes how mission critical this solution becomes when delivered well and a focus on service has ensured solid reliability over time.
  3. Since inception, Passageways has acquired two intranet companies. Despite our advanced offering and notable references, migration was still challenging. Old habits are hard to break and an inefficient, non-scalable platform will set your organization back by several years.

Great Intranet portal projects invariable start with organization buy-in and shrewd partner selection. Such projects quickly achieve employee trust thereby leading to greater productivity and satisfaction.  And now you have ten important considerations to help you make a great decision!

Please don’t hesitate to connect with our employees or customers to learn more about this project and its nuances. You’ll also find several valuable resources at our website at and if you want to see a side-by-side comparison of Passageways feature list to Sharepoint or any other intranet package please email us at and request it.

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Help Desks Aren't Just for IT Anymore


When most people think of a computerized Help Desk system, they immediately think of all the trouble tickets that get sent to the IT department.  “My computer won’t turn on”, “My password doesn’t work”, “The printer keeps eating my report,” are all common requests the IT department sees ina Help Desk.  But did you know that the Passageways Help Desk Module can do all that, and SO much more?  Well I put together a quick list of three ways that current Passageways users are taking advange of the Help Desk Module and using it in totally unique ways that are very far from just the traditional IT Help Desk.

1. Facilities ProblemsHelp Desks,Intranet,Portal

Ever need a light bulb changed?  Is the water fountain is shooting a 4 foot stream of hot water?  How does you company currently handle these situations?  You probably send out an e-mail to a supervisor, who then in-turn e-mails a facilities manager, who then e-mails a facilities person to fix the problem.  There is no central place for an averge employee to get help.  Plus the only time that you know anything is getting fixed is when the job is done.  E-mail doesn’t have the accountability or tracking that is needed for requests.  A Passageways Help Desk can be setup on a central location to allow specific people access to send in a request.  All the request information will then have a direct path to the people who can get the request finished.  Plus there's tracking to maintain the accountability factor.

2. Human Resources Requests Portal,HR,Intranet

A company’s Human Resources department is one of the most vitally important departments to the morale of your organization.  It’s traditional HR’s job to handle employee benefits and payroll.  When an employee’s benefits or payroll is incorrect, problems can quickly get out of control.  By using a Help Desk an employee can quickly submit a request to a specified HR representative, who will receive an alert that there is a request.  The rep can input comments into the request letting the employee know that the problem is being handled.  When the rep has completed the request, an alert can be sent to the employee letting them know the resolution.  This helps HR fix the problems faster and easier.  This makes all parties a lot happier.

3. Additional Training Portal,Intranet,training

Keeping employees trained on the latest information is always a challenge for an organization.  With regulations getting tighter and tighter, staff’s need for training and knowledge has increased dramatically.  A Training Help Desk is a great place to have a central location to request addition training.  If an employee needs to be caught up on the latest in regulatory procedures, a Help Desk request can be sent in with all the communication and tracking needed to help get that employee trained.  As the Training Specialist here at Passageways, this Help Desk is a little near to my heart. 

The Passageways Help Desk Module can help your organization in a variety of ways to improve communications and frequent requests.  These are just three of some of the great ways that I have seen the Module being used.  What ways is your organization using it? 

If you want to see more exciting ways to use the Passageways Help Desk Module contact

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The Value of Time : Why Using Portals Gives You Better Efficiency


If you could save 10 minutes each time that you did a chore, would you do it?  If you could save 10 minutes each time that you do yard work, shuttle the kids, clean the house, work out,  and drive; why wouldn't you?  Actually, you more than likely already do.

Over the years you have already figured out how to be more and more efficient when it comes to your personal, daily, and mundane responsibilities.  Think about the simple things that you probably don't even register.  You probably found the quickest route to/from numerous places that you travel weekly like the grocery store, supercenter, hardware store, restaurants, coffee shop, fast food, and so on.  Have you found the quickest and easiest way to mow your grass?  You know you have, and now it probably changes rarely. 

Now think technology. What do you do that wasn't used 20 years ago simply for the ease.  The concept is otherwise known as portal,intranet,bank portalGaining Efficiency while Saving Time.  A few of these off the top of my head are microwave, computer, cell phone, dishwasher, and cordless home phone.  Now go back 200 years.  Things like automobiles, gas stoves, bicycle, washer and dryer, refrigerator, movies on dvd's, the INTERNET, are so basic and common that you don't register them. These have because utterly importantly and are used on a daily basis.  The idea or concept is that advancement and technology has always been here and continues to affect us moving forward. 

With the above in mind, why are we not utilizing this same mindset and advancement at the workplace?  What is the most critical need of your enterprise?  Is it all of the widgets and gizmo's?  No, it's Time.  In a day, your enterprise is constantly working, making calls, emailing, sharing/publishing information, managing, meeting, writing, and so on.  It all has to do with Communication and it all takes Time.  If you could use today's technology to streamline this communication and gain efficiency, than why haven't you?

A portal is the modern intranet.  These portals are designed to allow your enterprise and/or board to communicate more effectively while decentralizing management.  Today's technology no longer requires an IT staff to run its daily operations, saving invaluable amounts of time for the unit to work on the more critical aspects of the business.  Such portals allow for and many include tools that specifically help with documents management, workflows, streamlining business processes, knowledge management, vendor management, expense reporting, board packet creation, help desks, instant messaging, user profiles, bulletin boards, discussion boards, reservations, blogging, rich text editing, and so on.  These tools are designed to gain numerous efficiencies while saving critical amounts of time per employee. 

Let's put it in mathematical terms.  Let's say you have 100 employees.  Each employee works 2080 hours or 124,800 minutes per year with an average annual compensation at $40,000.  That breaks down to an average CPM (cost per minute) of $0.3205 per employee.  Save each employee just 10 minutes a day of time and that equates to a weekly savings of $1,603 and an annual savings of $83,333.  How about saving 15 minutes a day as opposed to 10 minutes?  That's a weekly savings of $481 and an annual savings of $125,000.

portal,intranet,bank portals,ROI







The American way has always been to utilize advancement in technology to save time and money. If your enterprise or board could gain such efficiencies while saving such substantial amounts of money simply by using a portal, why aren't they?

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Top 3 Portal Applications to Streamline Your Business Processes


There are a lot of software applications out there that advertise that they help your business streamline important processes.  Well I'm here to help you narrow that field down.  Here are three Passageways Portal applications that your business should take a look at. 

Lobby Manager - Do you have a receptionist available at each branch, available to check in customers/members?  How are their needs tracked?  Does anyone know how long their wait time is in the branch?  Who helps the most people?  Are these reports available to your branch managers or sales and service managers?  If not, you should definitely take a look at Passageways' Lobby Management Solution.  Our Lobby Management Application runs directly on your existing portal.  It allows for a member or customer to be checked in to a queue, outlining their needs, and any other specific information regarding their visit.  It then alerts all member service representatives that a customer is waiting, and allows them to serve the customers from the queue.  There are lists of services that they might be inquiring about, as well as respective checklists that are associated with each and every service, to ensure that no steps are missed.  The best part about this?  Everything is tracked in a report.  Managers can see employee activity, number of members served, average wait times, and peak times of branch traffic (which definitely helps in scheduling), as well as the number of members served in a particular time period.

Knowledge Management - Many of Passageways customers are using our Products and Services Module to organize their product and service information, such as FAQ's, policies portal,intranet,portal software,intranet softwareand procedures, as well as documents related to certain products.  But what about those items that do not fall within the category of being a product or a service?  That's what our Knowledge Management Application is for.  Knowledge Management will easily organize your documents, FAQs, as well as your procedures that are non-product related.  It provides a great search tool that searches all fields within knowledge management, as well as through the documents themselves.  AND, it links to products and services.  Search for "Free Checking".... You might find links to procedures for checking products within products and services, you might find some FAQs in products and services, and you might also find an internal policy on employee checking accounts.  All in one spot. 

Meeting Packet Creator- Typically, the task of creating and publishing out a meeting packet can be gruesome for the lucky person who gets assigned this task.  Collecting all the data and content, putting it all together, publishing the packet, printing, binding, packaging and mailing...... Ugh!  With the Meeting Packet Creator Module, this process is streamlined beautifully, and eliminates the majority of those headaches!  Templates of a meeting packet are created.  Once the packet is started, different sections can be assigned out to those individuals responsible for populating those areas.   They can then visit the portal to update their content, and once all the content is uploaded and populated, the packet can then be created into a .pdf file, sent for approval (if required) and then published out to the portal.  No paper involved.  Another wonderful thing about this process is that if, after publishing, there is an addendum to the packet, there is no need to print a new copy of the packet and send it.  New, updated packets are published out to the same place, always ensuring that the packet information in the portal is up-to-date and accurate.

If you haven't seen all or any of these applications, you are missing out!  Let your account executive know, and we'll give you a private, one-on-one tour! 

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Peyton Manning: How he relates to enterprise communication


Check down, Zebra 33, Monkey-Monkey, on two, hut one, zebra L, Zebra L, Loui, Loui, tap on the bottom, left leg lift, Dallas, Dallas, hut two....and the ball is snapped.

Sound funny?  These are not typos.  This is a quick example of what Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts might say at theCommunications, portal, enterprise, intranet line of scrimmage prior to beginning a play.  Peyton is one of the only quarterbacks, if not the only quarterback who has the intelligence and leash to run the entire offense completely by himself.  For the casual fan this might not seem like much, but it is so much more.  Running an NFL offense is extremely complex and there are many responsibilities.  Reading the defensive set, looking for the blitz, realigning the line, the receivers, the tight end, the running back(s), reading the defense again, possibly changing the play, and taking the snap.  Not to mention, he has only 40 seconds to do it all.

What exactly is Peyton doing?  He is organizing, giving orders, re-aligning, adjusting, shifting, giving direction, providing direction, etc.  Most importantly, he is communicating!  Incredibly similar, enterprises do the exact same thing....just in a different manner with a different play clock.  The only difference is that Peyton understands the value of organized communication and content management.  Why do some enterprises not act on these same values? Let's take an enterprise portal for example.  There probably is not a hard number to calculate your return on portal investment.  However, if you used technology to organize and manage your enterprise communication and content, what is the benefit?  Circle Bank, CA, is one organization that has seen the light. 

Circle Bank is utilizing a hosted corporate portal which helps with overall efficiency, workflows, business process automation, document management, product and services, help desks, and more.  Let's make one thing clear; an employee portal is much more than a static front page intranet.  Bank Technology News has noticed it when it recognized Circle Bank in their 2009 Top 5 IT initiatives for Community Banks. A portal is a relationship, a growing and evolving product that is designed to mature with your outfit while providing the necessary permission strings.  It also allows for flexibility, centralization, and decentralization of content management.  What does that mean for your business?  Simply that a portal allows you to take the burden off of the Information Technology staff and put the responsibilities on the individual departments or business units.  All of which does not require an IT Guru, coders, techies, developers, consultants, or any other specialized staff.

Now for the soft ROI, let's say that you have 100 employees averaging $35,000 in annual pay.  What if you technology could save each employee just 5 minutes a day.  That's a daily savings of $140.22.  That might not seem like too much, until you calculate that total annually.  That same 5 minutes per employee saves your enterprise over $38,000 annually.  What if you have 200 employees?  Double it.  Those 5 minutes not wasted per employee saves you over $76,000 annually.  Let's also talk about the time saved.  If you have 100 employees and each saved 5 minutes a day, that equates to 124,800 minutes saved.  Think of how many tasks those employees could have completed utilizing those 124,800 minutes more productively.  You may also see exactly how two other enterprises used similar technology to save both time and money.  T Bank and Bank of American Fork were acknowledged in Bank Technology News as 2 of the top 5 Community Banks for Information Technology Initiatives.

You tell me.  Peyton Manning uses innovative communication tools and does it extremely successfully.  With an extremely simple and underestimated ROI calculation, is it worth it?  If others are doing it, you might want to think about using the portal tool as a strategic benefit to your organization.

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Decentralized Management and how Portals can help



So I am extremely confused on this topic.  In today's business world, and in all of the business world for that matter, the concept is to provide a management platform of which you might have; chairman of the board, directors, president, CEO, CFO, CMO, CTO, CIO, CCO, VP, SVP, AVP, Department Directors, Managers, Assistant Managers, and so on.  The idea being that you have decentralized management in hopes to departmentalize....thus allowing individuals with special accolades and responsibilities to own their specific "section" or "piece" of the business.  In essence, this is a bicycle chain where the President or CEO might be considered the sprocket that holds everything together.  The president then relies on specifically appointed individuals to maintain their links within the chain.  These individuals then rely on their additional links to maintain their section of the chain.  Ahh...a chain of command or management structure.

So the question I impose is this, if almost, if not all business relies on some sort of management chain model for day-to-day operations, then why do these enterprises rely on one or two departments for the overall organization of employee communication and content management.  Simply stated, when it comes to an employee portal or intranet, why is it so common to rely on one voice to speak for all?  As opposed to relying on each department or unit to rely solely on themselves for their own internal communications and content. 

Does today's technology not allow for such an idea?  It does, and it is referred to as a portal.  A universal platform designed to allow "non-techs", or everyday employees, to manage and maintain their section of the enterprise.  Employee portals have replaced the traditional front page and static intranet.  These portals are very flexible and provided numerous organizational and collaboration tools.  Just to name a few off the top of my mind; role-based access, various permission strings for decentralized content management, flexible interfaces, custom landing pages, navigation trees, banners, page templates, modules, primary and secondary business applications, document access, full text search, rich text editing, discussion boards, voting, polls, calendars, alerting, notifications, read receipt, tabbed islands, blogs, wiki's, links, access to external web pages, and so on!  Did I forget to mention that you may also find portal vendors which provide extendable platforms built in languages as common as .NET.  For the "non-techie" types think of it like this, you are not stuck with an off the shelve product, WYSIWYG or "what you see is what you get".  Not with a portal built on an extendable platform.  These products are designed to grow and morph with your entity, allowing for custom work, modifications, and applications which will help to expedite or streamline your business processes.  Modern portals are designed to make the user experience much more involved and fun.  A friendly user experience that if implemented correctly, will have the end-users wanting to be more involved.

After all, does the IT or Marketing department know, understand, or even care what other departments such as Operations, Human Resources, Finance, or Legal do, let alone, even need on a daily basis?  Why not take the responsibility and accountability off of the IT or Marketing staff and put it where it should be.  If technology allows for specific departments to maintain their section of the intranet or portal, then that is how it should be.  Let Operations and the other departments take care of themselves.  It only makes sense to have the people with the most knowledge of what content, communications, and materials that Operations use and need on a daily basis.  You guessed it, the Operations team would know.  And now if this department uses inaccurate, dated, and/or incorrect materials and information, well, then it is their fault.  Not to mention that this also frees up a tremendous amount of time and resources for the one or two departments which have traditionally maintained the intranet.

So, if you are relying on a management chain structure for your enterprise to stay profitable, then why in the world are you relying on one department to be the voice for all of your internal communications, collaboration, and content management?  You shouldn't.


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How To Know When To Start Over With Your Intranet


Page views decrease every day.  What used to be an 85% participation rate is now less than 10%.  Nobody knows what's up to date or what is even relevant.  Your intranet is dead.  Sorry for your loss.

Mid-Hudson Valley FCU had an intranet like that once.  It was static, centralized, and hard to modify.  But their team knew that a solid intranet portal is the backbone of a successful financial enterprise, so they couldn't just throw their hands up and abandon it.

They converted it into a Passageways portal in 2005. Things improved significantly and content management now became decentralized. Then again, like all well-used portals, there was a lot of room for re-organization. They went to PowWow 2008, the annual client conference for Passageways.  They learned how others were increasing productivity and designing new layouts.  They came back and ran a usability study and started from scratch to implement some of the take aways. Now they are planing for  Passageways P4 Framework to run their portal content.  Each step along the journey has moved their portal to decentralization and customization.

Peggy VanWagenen and Tammy Holmes  of Mid-Hudson Valley FCU will be presenting a webinar on "Ground Zero to P4 Relaunch" on August 19th at 2:00pm EDT.  You will see firsthand how the MHV team are revitalizing their old intranet with sound strategy and creativity.  Now they are re-launching their on the P4 platform, establishing a truly organized information portal.  Mid-Hudson Valley earned a 2008 Passageways Best Practices Award through their visually-pleasing and creative strategies, so this should be the ultimate example on how to relaunch your portal.

Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union is a full-service financial institution serving over 49,000 members.  Headquartered in Kingston, NY, MHV operates ten branches in the surrounding community.  Widely recognized for its charitable initiatives in the community, MHV has continued to proudly serve its members since 1963.

Peggy VanWagenen is MHV's Corporate Trainer, with ten years previous experience in sales prior to starting with MHV as a teller. She has held the position of Loan Documentation Specialist, Loan Officer, HR Training Co-Ordinator and now Corporate Trainer.  Received MHV's Chairman's Award for Talent in the 3rd quarter of 2006.  Top Performance, Availability, Leadership, Energy, New Vision & Teamwork.  

Tammy Holmes is MHV's Marketing Research Analyst / Project Manager.  She has been with the credit union for about 10 years and has worn several hats in the marketing department, including some creative and web design. When the portal was introduced, she & Peggy were trained and took "ownership" of what became affectionately called "Inside Scoop."

And don't feel sad for your old intranet.  It's in a better place.  It IS a better place.

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Not Just Another Project...

How often do you have an opportunity to positively affect everyone in your organization with a new software project? When Pacific Continental Bank signed up with Passageways, their project manager, Suzy May, Corporate E-Communications Coordinator said from the beginning, she wanted this project to be different. The results have been very good and worth sharing with you.

Top Five ways to jumpstart a successful portal implementation:

  1. Have organizational goals for this project. Pacific Continental identified increased efficiency in processes and communication, organize documents and forms as their primary goals for the project. Suzy wanted to accomplish these goals while having fun!
  2. Carefully identify your project team. Suzy identified a project team with a wide-reach throughout their bank to help ensure their portal reflects the needs of their entire organization when they go live.
  3. Get your project team involved. Summer Camp is the theme of Pacific Continental's project team. They even have fishing hats for all members of the team!
  4. Communicate the project to your managers early. While they are still in the early stages of implementation, about 20% of their employees have been introduced to the portal project.
  5. Say "Yes!" Too often, Suzy has to say "No, our current intranet can't support that request." Suzy is asking for and incorporating input from employees on what they want and need in the portal.

Good stuff...Great fun....Can't beat that, right?

What is your success mantra? C'mon, post your comments below and share some of YOUR silver bullets...

Stephanie Scott, Implementation Specialist

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