Business Situation: Prioritize usability improvement rather than content enrichment
ITOCHU’s legacy intranet was created in 1998 as a Java-based web server with Servlet. ITOCHU then implemented a portal service developed by an affiliate company in 2003, which it expanded and operated until 2016. The legacy system required HTML coding to update content, causing inefficient operations. ITOCHU aimed to improve business efficiency and bring a workplace innovation to open the door to future business requirements. It also wanted to enhance user viewing experience on mobile and smart devices by developing mobile apps, while keeping existing content unchanged.
“We wanted to deliver a message to employees that the new intranet and mobile apps could change their perspective of the world,” said Takashi Kitano, Manager Corporate IT Architecture Department / ITCCERT IT Planning Division ITOCHU.
Solution: DesignOps enabled short-term delivery with high user satisfaction
After reviewing various solutions, ITOCHU selected Microsoft SharePoint as the new platform and chose Avanade as a partner. “We found Avanade to be a skillful technology group that could drive the project comprehensively with the latest Microsoft technologies and a unique delivery method,” said Kitano.
The new intranet was developed using a combination of waterfall and agile methods, as well as leveraging Avanade offshore teams to ensure cost management and quick turnarounds. To enable employees to access content on the intranet easily and quickly, ITOCHU decided to release an original, smartphone-native application called ITOCHU Channel (“ItoChan”), which utilizes responsive design for UI and UX. In total, Avanade and ITOCHU released three apps:
- Phone directory “Itodenwa” – for anywhere access to employee information to make calls
- Map navigation “Itraveler” – employees can search for directions
- IT guidebook “How to run through ITOCHU (Itorun)” – for internet-based IT manuals
The upgraded intranet platform based on SharePoint provided enhanced search functionality, reduced workload for updating content, and allowed for easier access rights management under a hybrid cloud environment. This provides scalability and security for Azure and Office 365 for on-premises and public cloud environments. Additionally, responsive design drove UI/UX optimization.
“We have received lots of great feedback from employees in terms of the new mobile-friendly design. They like how easy it is to find the latest information. And administrators told us that business operations got easier and they feel comfortable updating content more frequently.” said Asami Shimizu, Corporate IT Architecture Department, IT Planning Division, ITOCHU.