Canadian Tire Open House Portal

Canadian Tire Corporation

"I Envision... a portal that provides real-time, interactive communications between Retail Stores and Home Office, allowing for improved overall performance and customer experience”

The Client

Canadian Tire Corporation is made up of five distinct, yet interrelated businesses:

  • Canadian Tire Retail: Canada’s most shopped general retailer
  • Financial Services: Second largest MasterCard franchise in Canada
  • Mark’s Work Warehouse: a leading clothing and footwear retailer
  • Petroleum: One of Canada’s largest independent gasoline retailers
  • PartSource: A chain of specialty automotive stores

Canadian Tire Retail and its Associate Dealers together form one of Canada's best-known and most successful retailers, with more than 475 stores from coast to coast. Canadian Tire offers customers a large selection of national and retail brands through three 'stores' under one roof - automotive parts, accessories and service; sports and leisure products; and home products. offers Canadians the opportunity to shop online and is among the country's top three busiest e-Commerce sites.

The new Open House Portal will promote improved overall performance and customer experience

The Challenge

In keeping with their organization’s enterprise standards, Canadian Tire needed to migrate their Store Communications  applications, originally built on Microsoft SharePoint 2003 and CMS 2002, to Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007. Envision IT was contracted to migrate the existing applications and develop additional content and functionality to support it. The Open House Portal was developed to become the primary channel of communication between Home Office and the Canadian Tire Retail stores.

Previously, communication was achieved through a number of processes and systems, the most significant of which was paper based communication distributed physically several times a week. The Open House Portal is expected to lead to the elimination of millions of pieces of paper sent to the stores annually providing financial and environmental savings on printing and distribution.

Task Management is integral to store productivity The Retail Calendar keeps stores up-to-date on current deals


  • Reduction of costs from printing and physically distributing communications
  • Streamlining the communication path to the store staff
  • Improved execution of retail programs and enhanced customer experience across the network of stores
  • More efficient feedback mechanism back to the home office
  • Operational efficiencies through quick and easy retrieval of information

Key Project Elements

Delivery of the Canadian Tire Open House Portal Project had three key components:

Data Migration

  • The project migrated content from an old portal built on an earlier version of SharePoint
  • The ease of publishing content to a MOSS environment led to a remarkably smooth migration
  • Tens of thousands of communications were migrated, many of with multiple live versions to accommodate bilingual publication
  • Error rate was so low as to be statistically irrelevant. Less than 50 communications required re-publication on the new application

Content Management and Publishing

  • Integration of content management meant that moving the content consumption into a single application has allowed significant process improvements
  • Authors exist throughout the organization and need to be able to get their message out quickly and smoothly
  • All communications are funnelled through an editorial and approval process to ensure consistency of message, categorization, and prioritization

Open House Portal

  • Stores now have one source for all communications, critical to the execution of retail programs
  • Feedback mechanism provides an efficient process for stores to ask questions and report issues from the store floor
  • Task management integrates with communications to assist with the transition from paper to electronic communications
Embedded PDF documents provide easy online viewing Enhanced communication between Home Office and Retail Stores through online Feedback Forms

The Solution

Envision IT leveraged the out-of-the box functionality of SharePoint as much as possible in developing the Open House Portal. SharePoint provided a platform that allowed us to quickly bring a complex, mission critical application to market.

  • A customized publishing process connects to standard SharePoint portal architecture for web content management
  • Integration of publishing workflows and end user access provide a means for all CTC home office staff to initiate communications
  • Furthermore, this allows efficient editing and approval of communication, creating a communication funnel.
  • Metadata capture allows for many ways to relate communications to each other
  • Robust and rich search provides significant operational benefits
  • Project and operational risk was reduced by building an application on a platform that leverages our internal knowledge and strong Microsoft partnership

Award-Winning Solution

Envision IT won the Silver Medal for the Best Green Solution in the 2009 CDN Channel Elite Awards for the Canadian Tire Open House Portal Solution.

IT World Canada Roundtable

Following the successful launch of this solution, Peter Carson, President of Envision IT and Caroline Hogwood, VP, Store Solutions for Canadian Tire Corporation were invited by IT World Canada to participate in a roundtable discussion on collaboration, social networking, and the experiences and business impact of implementing Microsoft collaboration solutions.

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