City of Austin

How does a city with 13,000 employees provide a better way to communicate with teams, collaborate and share information across 45+ departments?

With an intranet that works.

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The challenge

Like many cities, the City of Austin had an outdated intranet and various departments running their own systems with different software - creating disjointed user experiences and a governance nightmare.

Employees had long complained about the outdated user experience, dated content and difficulty finding – much less interacting with – the information and services offered through the intranet.

Austin set a lofty goal to procure, design, configure, populate and launch its new intranet in only three weeks. The city's resident-facing website was also being updated and it was crucial that employees aligned with a strategic plan before the updates took place. With a digital team that was already being stretched thin, a working intranet was vital to communication.

 

The opportunity

The City invested in research to identify common pain points for City staff, and knew that to be successful, the new intranet must:

  • Deliver rich functionality such as interactive staff directories, message boards, forms and policy directories, wrapped in a clean, simple and ADA compliant user interface.
  • Empower more staff to easily contribute content without learning how to use a CMS system, to ensure the intranet could stay fresh and up-to-date.
  • Deliver a powerful search experience, making it easy to find content, documents and more through a single search box.
  • Serve as a stable and extensible launching point for employees to access third-party systems and resources critical to their job functions.

 

Our solution

OpenCities intranet solution was evaluated alongside a number of other systems, including custom built, Microsoft Sharepoint-based, and out of the box platforms and was found to be the best option.

In just three weeks, the City of Austin was able to not only design, configure and populate its new intranet, but also achieve full integration with its AzureAD authentication to ensure all 13,000 staff members enjoyed a personalized, single sign-in intranet experience.

 

Today & tomorrow

Today, city staff uses their AzureAD login and can securely access the intranet from anywhere on any device, with a secure view of content based on their role within the organization. Employees can also customize their staff listing/profile and soon will be able to engage in forums and discussions to gather input, feedback and ideas from one another on key citywide initiatives. Combined with OpenCities' quarterly new feature releases and upgrades, the City of Austin will extend its intranet functionality and deliver more value to staff. City leaders are confident that its new intranet will empower the city to continually innovate based on user experience and employee feedback.

Just as we've learned that our residents depend on the website for service, our employees depend on the intranet for service. We saw this as not just a modernization of technology, but as a bridge toward supporting a more agile, mobile and digitally connected workforce.

Doug Matthews
Doug Matthews
Former Chief Communications Director for the City of Austin
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