What the Tech is Going On?
The Informant

Mysterious Intranet Portal Due to Appear

by Rod Stewart

portal image
It seems like only yesterday I was filling out the Access Sheridan Refresh Project user needs survey, hopeful that my opinion would matter in helping to shape a refreshed intranet… there was also that draw for a sweet iPod Shuffle to consider.

That was October 2014. I never did win that iPod and the Shuffle was retired from Apple’s lineup in July of 2017. Access Sheridan Classic, as I like to call it, lives on, but that is all be about to change.

After four long years, the long promised, revamped Access Sheridan intranet portal is finally in sight. I spoke with Portal project lead, Lee Chiang, to get the low-down.

Why has it taken so long to get to this point?

Like any large-scale, enterprise sized project, there is a lot of due diligence to be done. That does not preclude iterative discovery in line with budgets and multiple RFPs—in this case there were three. Going into this iteration of the project, we wanted to make sure we had our ducks inline to be able to execute this as diligently as possible. At this point, we know we have to get it right.

Have the Portal goals or the vision for the project changed since we started four years ago?

The mandate of the portal remains essentially the same as when we started:

What has been accomplished so far?

To date we have successfully completed an extensive discovery phase that resulted in a great set of artefacts from an exhaustive backlog of requirements, wireframes, mockups, taxonomies and brand guidelines integration. We have also completed a focus group session with students, faculty and staff and consulted the Equity and Inclusion department to embed a detailed set of accessibility requirements. Most recently, we have successfully completed an RFP that included a bid process, demos, Q and A’s and, tentatively, have selected a vendor of choice.

What product/vendor are we going with?

As of this writing, we are in contract finalization. By the time you read this, we will likely have started the discovery phase. What we can say is that we have selected one of the top open source content management solutions in the world and we are excited to be partnering with an experienced vendor who will help to guide us through our implementation of the new portal.

Do we know how the portal will be structured or what it will look like at this point?

Site Architecture

Preliminary information architecture was completed in 2017. However, we will evaluate it again with the chosen vendor and with consideration given to work being done by the project’s Content Alignment working group.

Look and Feel

This too was completed when the preliminary work was done in 2017. However, since then, Marketing has been working on a revised mockup in preparation for vendor discovery engagement. Revisions will include new branding guidelines.

How will content and existing web apps be migrated to the new portal?

This is a work in progress. However, we will be working on a plan to help everyone get their content into the new portal once we are there.

What will the portal Governance model look like and who will be participating?

We’re looking to bring this to the table once the Committee is back in order.

Will IT be participating in the Portal?

Yes. We’re especially excited about being able to deliver customized content that is tailored to our specific audience groups. With this in mind, we are currently re-examining our information architecture as well as assessing the effectiveness of our content.

Who else is participating?

All major stakeholders and departments are participating in the initial rollout, including:

We expect other areas of the college to come on board as we become more vocal with our communications and the new portal environment starts to take shape.

Will there be training for portal contributors and users?

Certainly. Training is being planned for to ensure everyone from stakeholders, content owners to end users are all well informed and capable of using the system.

When will the new portal launch?

Upon completion of the new discovery phase we will at that point have a ‘Soft Launch’ go-live date.

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