Southeastern Guide Dogs Case Study
Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization who has been providing guide dogs to people with visual impairments for more than 30 years. SGD mission is to create and nurture a partnership between a visually impaired individual and a guide dog, facilitating life's journey with mobility, independence and dignity. Located in Palmetto, Florida, their 35-acre campus features a park-like setting, three kennels, nine student rooms, a full-service cafeteria, a gift shop, and an administrative facility. SGD provides the guide dog, equipment, single-room lodging, all meals, outings, instruction and post-graduation support completely free of charge, thanks to the generosity of their important contributors.
Southeastern Guide Dogs (SGD) was operating without an intranet; they had file-sharing and shared calendars, etc., but never a fully integrated system. They wanted to invest in an internal intranet platform that would systematize every part of their organization, including those departments not directly related or to their core mission, but that help support their entire operation.
Their core focuses are in the development of the dogs, training, placement, evaluation of candidates, and pairing the two, as well as tracking the relationship between the dog and owner throughout the lifespan. Other functions like HR, finance, purchasing, marketing, fundraising, even janitorial are important to SGD's daily operations and needed to be online for better workflow and efficiency.
SGD's Director of IT became interested in SharePoint as a solution because it is a feature-rich offering and extremely affordable; Microsoft's licensing costs for non-profits is nominal, and to get enterprise grade functionality for such little cost, seemed like a no-brainer. They now needed to find an experienced partner to help them plan and implement an intranet that would meet their immediate needs and grow with their vision into the future.
SGD's leadership is well-versed in the best use of technology in terms of building efficiencies and improving productivity, and in the context of a non-profit organization found that MethodFactory to be very aligned with their mission.
MethodFactory met with Southeastern Guide Dogs to do a planning sessions and to get direct feedback from the people who would be using the SharePoint intranet, making sure everything was covered, including: fundraising, donor management, marketing and PR, administration, human resources, finance, the veterinary center, and trainers.
MethodFactory's SharePoint Intranet Accelerator was the answer to what SGD needed. It's an out-of-the-box, packaged, feature-rich offering that covers implementation, design, organization and allows for a quick launch.
To figure out what the ideal SharePoint intranet implementation would look like for SGD, MethodFactory drew from their breadth of experience, and was able to tell SGD what would work best for an organization like theirs. This helped them to agree on the taxonomy (how it's organized), a sitemap of department structure, searchability, and meta data. MethodFactory reviewed their permissions/active directory/ login, making sure the access was appropriate to respective credentials and roles.
From there, MethodFactory set up a default site template as a base line for the deployment of each department/organizational unit to be included in intranet and developed another set of templates for their MySite, as well as a meeting site template. SGD was in the process of redesigning their public facing website when MethodFactory first met with them. MethodFactory matched the intranet design and the multiple templates to their newly designed public facing website one-for-one, which helps with branding continuity, and employee adoption of the intranet.
The project only took a couple of months to complete. The first phase of the implementation is big enough for SGD to get traction and for the organization to get to know how SharePoint works. MethodFactory sized the intranet based on what they needed in terms of the number of users and storage requirements, and forecasted it a couple of years out to make sure the infrastructure would support their growth and usability. MethodFactory put together guidelines for governance so they could manage intranet, and set it up for them. The new intranet will grow in stages and in value as SGD builds it out with MethodFactory's help.
MethodFactory provided a contribution to SGD, donating some time and materials on the project because they like the cause, and it is one that is local to them. MethodFactory provides ongoing support to SGD's SharePoint administrators and is currently working on a phase II enterprise project, called Dog Perfect, an end-to-end dog management application delivered through SharePoint. Dog Perfect will serve as more than an intranet, and will be a foundation for their business. Stay tuned.