Building A Global Intranet
- Working groups — field workers can choose to join any of more than 700 groups to share information about established areas of business,but also create their own groups to discuss other topics, such as new developments in mobile technology.
- Governance groups — these allow global team members to share policies, governance and other materials to better coordinate and develop shared projects and maintain a common strategy across the whole organisation.
- News and information — the Intranet provides a hub for sharing information and assets, from new developments in the Confederation to the new company logo and branding tools needed when Oxfam rolled out a new brand identity.
In light of this mission, the ability for its 12,000 employees to share information and learn from each other plays an important role in the organisation’s ability to efficiently deliver positive outcomes.
In 2010, Oxfam International identified a major opportunity to dramatically improve communications and knowledge sharing across its confederation by creating a single global intranet, but by 2012 it became clear how it needed to be improved. At the time, the affiliates used a number of systems to communicate and share information but there was considerable room for improvement. Many field workers in remote locations with low bandwidth found it difficult or impossible to access the systems.
After looking at more than 20 alternatives, Oxfam International turned to open source systems integrator Zaizi to lead the development of a browser-based communications and collaboration application that integrated Alfresco’s CMS and Drupal’s web platform and ran on its Linux CentOS 6 operating system.
Zaizi’s integration strategy was to deploy Alfresco to mirror Drupal’s structure. There is an Alfresco folder to mirror the content in each of the 700 groups including an HTML files that capture online content such as discussions, calendars and news. Besides being extremely intuitive, this avoids them having to go through a web browser or download large plug-ins, and it minimises the bandwidth requirements. All the application data is hosted in the Cloud.