Wilfrid Laurier University Connects with Staff and Faculty through Office 365

The Client

Wilfrid Laurier University is a leading Canadian university known for academic excellence and a culture that inspires lives of leadership and purpose. With 1,500 staff serving over 19,000 undergraduate and graduate students, Laurier has a distinct commitment to teaching, research, and scholarship combined with a strong student focus, high levels of student satisfaction, and a deep sense of community. The university has campuses in Waterloo and Brantford, as well as locations in Kitchener, Toronto, and Chongqing, China.

The Challenge

As part of the Web Renewal project and based on the information collected through staff and faculty surveys and focus groups to determine requirements and design, Laurier was seeking a vendor to implement SharePoint sites, including a document storage solution, an Intranet/Extranet, and an enterprise level news solution. All SharePoint sites needed to integrate with Laurier's enterprise content management system (CMS), Cascade Server.

The Solution

Looking to improve their communications and knowledge sharing across campuses, Laurier engaged Envision IT in the fall of 2016 to plan and implement a new staff portal in Office 365. Working with a broad steering committee and working group, a design was developed. While planned for rollout to all departments, it was External Relations, Information, Communications and Technology, and Human Resources who were chosen as the initial pilot departments. Site templates were created, training of content authors was delivered, and content was created, with a new home page and department sites for these three departments launched on May 1, 2017. Envision IT and the web team are continuing the rollout, populating initial sites for departments, training content authors, and assigning ownership to all 200+ departments over the next 6 months.

In addition to providing a rich content and communications platform, a number of customizations and extensions were built for the project.

  • Live integration of public news articles posted through the Cascade public website content management system
  • Events management integrated through Active Calendar
  • Self-service public publication of documents for reference from research papers, articles, and books authored by Laurier faculty
  • Campus alerts, end user customization and personalization, content authoring enhancements, and more

The result is a great looking staff portal accessible on desktop and mobile devices, both on campus and off. Content ownerships is being distributed throughout the organization, and early feedback from the launch has been very positive.

Laurier Connect