LEGACY SYSTEMS AS A BARRIER TO ONLINE STRATEGY
The National College’s online strategy was ambitious, and its online provision comprised a number of components, integrated to varying degrees, including its public website, its Learning Management System, an extensive collection of valuable content, and registration, enrolment and admissions systems from third-party providers.
Given this extensive stack of legacy systems, our custom online networking solution needed to perform well as a stand-alone environment, but also integrate seamlessly with these various components through solutions provided by the College’s managed services partner and its contractors.
AVOIDING THE CONSTRAINTS OF ENTERPRISE SOFTWARE
Our social networking and collaboration solution for the College emerged from an extensive period of business analysis, user experience, and social experience design consulting, carried out on a collaborative basis with a high level of active client participation and access to stakeholders.
This ensured that the product we developed had the best possible chance of being taken up and used, thus forming an essential networking, learning and knowledge sharing platform free of the typical constraints of ‘traditional’ enterprise software.
RAPID ADOPTION CREATING SIGNIFICANT DEMAND
The first release of the platform went live in early 2010. Adoption rates among the College’s members has been significant, to the point that it became the College’s most visited and used application, by a considerable margin.
Overall, user reactions were very positive, but we also managed to enhance and extend both functional elements and user experience based on ongoing feedback and iterative development, in a ‘little and often’ approach which has proved to be more effective and responsive than a ‘big bang’.
Achieving new ways of working
Our social networking and collaboration solution was co-designed to become the central social connector within the client ecosystem.
Rapid uptake and participation
In-the-flow relevance resulted in this becoming the College’s best-used app, with 20,000 active users within a few weeks of launch.
The agile methods applied in platform development were so effective and well-received that they quickly transitioned into new ways of working across the College.