Children's Aid Society of Toronto Corporate Intranet

Children's Aid Society of Toronto logo

"I Envision... a corporate Intranet that fosters improved internal communication, collaboration and easy access to resources.”

The Client

During the past century the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto (CAST) has grown from a single Infants’ Home to become one of the largest child welfare organizations in North America. It is an incorporated not-for-profit agency governed by a volunteer board of directors and funded by the Province of Ontario. For over 23,000 children and more than 10, 000 families, the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto is hope for a brighter future. They protect children from abuse including neglect, help parents build healthy families and provide a safe, nurturing place for children and young adults to grow up and realize their dreams.

The Challenge

When CAST first engaged Envision IT, they did not have an existing corporate Intranet, and employees were accustomed to searching for information in a number of Lotus Notes databases.  With little or no search capability, it was difficult for users to find what they were looking for. Content contributors found it challenging to publish information and update the organization, and information was often out of date.

CAST had a clear view of what they required from an Intranet.  The new portal would connect satellite branch offices, provide a single point of access to key policies and procedures, and improve internal communications to staff.  There would be a blog feature for staff to engage directly with the CEO, and architecture to support various forms of video i.e. mpeg, flash as well as audio.   The Content Management System must be easy to use, and there should be custom personalization of views and access for all users. The portal needed to be compatible with their existing systems, and fully integrate with their Lotus Notes e-mail system. Statistical capturing would provide valuable information on site usage, and finally the platform must be sustainable and relatively easy to build upon going forward into the future where applicable.

Home Page for 'the castle' - new Corporate Intranet for Children's Aid Society of Toronto

The Solution

Although Envision IT knew that CAST was looking at both IBM Websphere and Microsoft SharePoint for this solution, we were confident that MOSS 2007 would be capable of fulfilling all their immediate requirements and providing enhanced functionality to meet any future needs for an Internet and Extranet.

Envision IT designed a collaboration portal comprised of numerous publishing sites. CAST will be able to create new sites and libraries as required as part of the content authoring process.  Standard templates will be available to facilitate this creation of standard sites and libraries. A clean, well organized, visually appealing site makes it easy for users to navigate, and standard Search was implemented which allows users to quickly source the information  they need, within their permission levels. With minimal training, content authors are quickly able to add new content such as news, events and photographs so that the site is both social and functional.  All the WCM functionality of SharePoint such as document versioning, approval workflows and scheduling means that the most current version of documents is always available, stored in the same accessible place. Features such as the CEO’s blog and quick polls help make staff feel that the organization is more in tune with them and cares about their feedback.

Interactive features like the CEO's blog, photo gallery and polls make this truly a social site

The Results

  • Improved communications among staff
  • People feel more listened to and empowered
  • The whole organization is involved in thinking more strategically
  • Improved client services
  • Better sharing of resources
  • Reduction in paperwork
  • Issues are made more transparent