In late 2012, VF Corporation was looking for answers. They had just spent significant time and money redesigning their outdated corporate intranet using SharePoint, but ultimately decided not to deploy it because they were unhappy with the user experience and technical implementation, and felt uneasy about introducing it to Associates. Eager to understand what had gone wrong and how to fix it, VF engaged BrandJourney to conduct a detailed assessment and to provide strategic recommendations on how to move forward. After reviewing 60+ project artifacts, thousands of lines of code and interviewing numerous project stakeholders, BrandJourney’s recommendations included a re-working of the user experience, infrastructure and video player upgrades, with a move to Office 365 and SharePoint 2013 for Enterprise. Confident in BrandJourney’s ability to execute on their recommendations, VF Corporation engaged them to redesign, rebuild and re-launch the intranet, a critical project that had visibility at the highest levels.
“We knew, given the history of the project, that we had to deliver an exceptional product and that failure simply wasn’t an option.” – Matt Hayes, BrandJourney Director, Client Services
BrandJourney overcame several challenges in order to build VF a world-class intranet:
- Fostering connections, communication and collaboration among VF’s many brands and departments
- Delivering personalized content to Associates across 30+ VF brands
- Change management, adoption and training of content managers
- Crafting a consumer-grade user experience that Associates would love
- Curating, editing and migrating 850+ pages from the existing intranet
- Building a site that worked on all browsers and devices, including tablets and smartphones
- Creating an easy-to-navigate information architecture that cohesively melded VF’s many brands and business units
- Providing Associates with robust search capability that worked flawlessly
- Organizing information and tools for content providers on the backend
BrandJourney and VF Corporation chose to deploy VF’s new intranet portal, dubbed the Loop, on the cloud-based Office365 and SharePoint 2013 infrastructure to satisfy both immediate functional requirements and long-term business goals. Leveraging the power of SharePoint 2013 gave VF several advantages, including cross device availability, enterprise search, content management, e-discovery, ACM, compliance, easy to manage and enterprise grade reliability and standards.
Over the course of nine months, BrandJourney worked hand-in-hand with stakeholders from VF Corporation, including Tyler Kerr (Senior Manager, Digital Communications) and Butch Cloninger (Senior Manager, Global Business & Technology), crafting innovative solutions to VF’s challenges.
The team accomplished all the goals for which they set out, many of which are highlighted below:
- Access from anywhere: the Loop, is built with SharePoint 2013 and Office 365 allowing Associates to login from anywhere without VPN
- Brand-specific pages & content: All 32 VF brands have dedicated sections on the Loop with brand-specific news, information and social content
- Modern, Responsive Design: the Loop’s responsive design utilizes the latest programming languages, HTML5 and CSS3, and is optimized for all modern devices and browsers, including support for legacy browsers including Internet Explorer 7
- Optimized for mobile : the Loop works great on iPhone, Android and Windows Phone mobile browsers
- Custom admin dashboards: Brand and departmental content providers have custom administrative dashboards so they only see what’s relevant to their specific business area
- Deep social integration: Common Threads, VF Corporation’s Socialcast enterprise social networking tool, is seamlessly integrated throughout the Loop
- Personalized brand toolbars: Customized drop-down toolbars for brand employees provide quick access to frequently used links and information
- Real-time stock quotes: Integration with NASDAQ provides real-time stock quotes for VF and its competitors
the Loop launched in January, 2014 and immediately received praise from Associates across the organization:
- “I love The Loop…I find it more user friendly and pleasing to the eye vs. what we used in the past.” (Nautica associate)
- “WOW!! I absolutely love the ease and flow of our intranet – GREAT JOB!!” (Vans associate)
- “Wow! The site is fantastic, very impressed with the layout and effectiveness of the tool. Congratulations as you can tell a LOT of long hours by the team went into the design.” (TNF associate)
- “The Loop looks great! Hats off to you and your team!!” (Timberland associate)
VF Corporation and BrandJourney are already receiving praise for the exceptional work in making the Loop vision a reality. Microsoft has selected the Loop to be showcased as an intranet best practice at its 2014 SharePoint Conference, which will be keynoted by former President Bill Clinton.