Case Study: A Microsoft-First Approach for Lincolnshire Housing Partnership

TSG and Lincolnshire Housing Partnership have worked closely together for several years on a range of projects; including delivery of a new SharePoint intranet platform, support with Microsoft Teams deployment, a staff recognition Power App, a desk booking Power App and an Electronic Data Records Management (EDRM) system.

Lincolnshire Housing Partnership (LHP) manages over 12,000 homes as a social landlord serving the historic east coast of Lincolnshire. LHP provides affordable rental and shared ownership homes as well as a range of services to help support people and communities.

LHP needed to bring together two separate systems into a single platform to promote its new combined way of working, and to foster a joint set of values and purpose. An updated intranet platform was needed to facilitate the unification of the company and achieve a consistent ‘LHP way’ of doing things.

A staff survey revealed that the old intranet wasn’t working sufficiently for employees – they couldn’t get access to certain areas of the site, and they couldn’t always view the content. LHP wanted to replace its rigid intranet platform with a solution that would provide a central workplace for employees, in which they could find the information they need quickly and easily, whilst supporting better communication and collaboration in the organisation.

LHP needed its new intranet to be accessible wherever its colleagues might be, and on whatever device, as they are regularly on the road and out meeting with customers.

The new intranet would also play an integral part in LHP’s digital strategy: to provide a modern, agile working environment that uses technology to achieve an efficient, effective and tailored experience for its staff. It was from here that LHP and TSG started their partnership.

It was also recognised that a single EDRM platform would play a crucial part in combining the organisations and a project to accomplish this was incorporated into the digital strategy.

As the future vision included maximising the use of Microsoft 365 technologies, such as the Power Platform and Power BI, it was important LHP chose a partner who could provide the necessary innovation, guidance and support.

As part of its digital strategy, LHP wanted to take a ‘Microsoft-first’ approach, utilising the suite of programs already available to the organisation as much as possible. SharePoint offered the flexibility, ease of access, development and integrations that would hit the key areas LHP wanted to address in its Microsoft-first strategy and would maximise its ROI of M365.

LHP engaged with staff to come up with the name ‘BaseCamp’ for its intranet; promoting the idea that it is a centralised hub for information and the go-to area for all employees.

With a SharePoint intranet in place, LHP can reap the benefits of being able to share and manage content in an efficient manner that is easy to navigate for all departments. A strong focus was placed on the information that would appear on the ‘BaseCamp’ landing page. When arriving on the intranet, LHP wanted its employees to see content such as company news, integration with social channels on Microsoft Teams to display live posts, social media integration, weekly updates from the executive team, key events and useful links.

Another important aspect of the intranet for LHP was to support its employees’ wellbeing as they made the shift to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. To support this, a Power App, ‘Round of Applause’, was built by TSG for LHP to recognise individual performance within the organisation.

The ‘Round of Applause’ Power App provides a fantastic way of encouraging staff to recognise and celebrate excellence. The app allows users to recognise colleague’s contribution to the organisation, view their own goals and view received colleague feedback.

As SharePoint integrates seamlessly with other applications in the M365 suite, LHP’s staff can easily access the ‘Round of Applause’ app via the ‘BaseCamp’ homepage.

The various projects completed in partnership with TSG have brought an overall consistency to LHP’s organisation, as there are no longer several different ways of doing things, there is now, simply, the LHP way.

LHP’s 400+ employees can all easily access ‘BaseCamp’ and know to revert to it as the single hub of information. Through the SharePoint intranet, important announcements, HR surveys, and more can now be dispatched to everyone at one time, and the executive team can keep in regular contact with employees. This has helped to boost employee engagement as the LHP staff are continually updated about what is going on within the organisation, and they also have the opportunity to provide feedback and suggestions. In addition, the social aspects attached to the intranet, such as liking and commenting on posts, offers a more fun and interactive experience for users, and ultimately encourages communication between LHP employees.

The ‘BaseCamp’ platform is easy to understand, with simple navigation and robust organisation meaning that LHP staff no longer waste time searching for files as they can be found easily via the search tool or within the different departments designated areas. The intranet thus allows employees to work more efficiently and flexibly, whilst empowering them to collaborate.

LHP can now access its intranet on the go, with the platform working as effectively for employees using a mobile phone while out meeting customers, as it does for those sitting in the office on a desktop.

The ‘Round of Applause’ app has also been a huge hit with LHP’s staff as they can now give and receive instant recognition. The app has provided a seamless way of saying thank you for LHP staff and ultimately promotes employee engagement, wellbeing, and communication.

The SharePoint document management solution provides a central, regulatory compliant modern cloud solution. The EDRMS is integrated with the Aareon platform to provide automatic filing of documentation, application of relevant Retention and Disposition policies and overall information governance. Users find the EDRM solution to be intuitive and easy to use.

“As an organisation, LHP has taken a Microsoft 365 ‘first’ approach and, with the help of TSG, we have been able to utilise MS365 to achieve a consistent ‘LHP way’ of doing things, enabling access to information for everyone wherever they are. We have a great partnership with TSG and their assistance and expertise has been fantastic.”

Carole Galsworthy, Head of ICT & Digital Services

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