Microsoft SharePoint for Housing Associations

TSG implements Microsoft SharePoint website for Hanover (Scotland) Housing Association

Microsoft SharePoint for Housing AssociationThe customer

Hanover (Scotland) Housing Association provides and manages a range of specialist housing mainly for older people. They manage homes for more than 5,000 residents throughout Scotland, offering rented, shared ownership, shared equity and fully owned housing.

As well as housing for older people, Hanover provides housing for families to provide a safe environment for children. Always ensuring they meet the individual needs of people in a sensitive and dignified way, Hanover provides people across Scotland with independence, privacy or company as they desire.

'We selected TSG because they were Microsoft Gold partners and had experience of building Microsoft SharePoint websites.’

The customer objectives

Hanover invited TSG among other suppliers to tender for a redesign of their website. The main requirements for this project were to improve the website design, navigation and usability, and above all to promote Hanover as a provider of high quality services. With a detailed list of objectives, Hanover was also keen to;

  • Incorporate social media, such as blogs and forums into their website to increase their interaction with customers
  • Refresh website content to make it easy to understand for users 
  • Ensure that website content is optimised to encourage improved visibility through internet search engines 
  • Ensure that the website complies with W3C Consortium WAI level A Guidelines 
  • Have full control of maintaining website content through a suitable Content Management System 

The TSG Solution

TSG recommended using Microsoft SharePoint to create the Internet website. With Hanover already using Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007, it was seen as the ideal opportunity to use this as the platform for the customer facing Site. Ian Mountford, Communications Officer at Hanover explains why TSG was selected from the handful of suppliers invited to tender, 'We selected TSG because they were Microsoft Gold partners and had experience of building Microsoft SharePoint websites. We had just launched our organisation’s new intranet and wanted a new website to work more closely with our intranet. We believed TSG had the experience and knowledge to enable us to do this.'

MOSS provides out of the box solutions for websites, offering basic webpage layouts which can be customised to suit the requirements of any business. Within the Microsoft SharePoint platform, users can edit page layout and content with ease. With the use of permissions, users can also be set up with different levels of access for making amendments etc.

The benefits of Microsoft SharePoint to Housing Associations

Since working with TSG to create a new customer-facing website built in Microsoft SharePoint, Hanover has benefitted from a modern, easy to navigate site. Hosting their own website also means that the business will reduce outgoing costs previously spent with a web development company – Hanover staff now have full control over the navigation and content. Happy with the progress they’ve made so far with this, Ian Mountford says, 'The site has only been live for a short space of time and so we’re yet to reap full, measurable benefits from external stakeholders, however, there are more immediate advantages, for example the site is built in SharePoint, similar to our intranet system. Staff are therefore more familiar with the content managed area than they would be if we’d used an open source Content Management System.'

During the website build Hanover asked TSG to look at the possibilities of upgrading the intranet site as they felt the site was outdated and they would benefit from the additional functionality available in SharePoint 2010. After developing a transition plan, TSG migrated the intranet to a new SQL and SharePoint 2010 platform. As part of the SharePoint 2010 upgrade TSG connected their internal SharePoint environment to the public facing website. This enables staff to publish vacancies and news articles through their intranet which then automatically uploads to their public facing website, saving time and duplication of effort.

The future for TSG and Hanover (Scotland) Housing Association

As they continue to see the benefits of the Microsoft SharePoint upgrade, Hanover has already requested the help of TSG experts moving forward, with Ian concluding, 'We’ve already contracted TSG to provide IT support and future development for our intranet.'


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