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FB Rice

Founded over 70 years ago, FB Rice is Australia’s leading independent intellectual property firm. We work with local and international clients seeking IP protection and strategy within Australia, New Zealand, SE Asia and across the globe.

The Challenge

We were using an old intranet that wasn’t easy for us to manage in the backend, and visually it was unattractive. Most people didn’t use it, opting to email colleagues for answers. With the high volume of emails, messages that weren’t a priority for client work were being overlooked.

There is a lot of client related knowledge that people in the firm have, but nowhere to put it that can easily be found. We also have a system where we manage all our cases and associated files. Because it's a typical filing system, we can’t create contextually relevant and user-friendly pages and communities around these files. There was a clear need for a repository to share and leverage knowledge, in an easy to use and visually attractive way.

Beyond this, there was a need to support and showcase the FB Rice culture. A new intranet could solve these challenges, providing timely and contextual information and communication, centrally housed for people to go in and refer to at their own convenience.

I’m really pleased with our intranet and am happy we implemented the Elcom solution. The consensus is the intranet is a real positive for people, helping to support our practices and the firm. It has given us what we needed, and I can’t see how you can improve on that. Judy Ryan, Project Manager
FB Rice

The Solution

Our Managing Partner, Business Intelligence Manager, ICT Partner and I were the key people internally on the project. The initial project phase included stakeholder interviews with different users across the firm. From those interviews, which were about an hour each, we looked at what we actually needed and what seemed to be the recommended areas that people really wanted to see. From this research, we created a suitable information architecture and wireframes for the design.

Elcom’s Project Manager and Designer worked with us on the design process. This was a very collaborative process, ensuring that the design helped deliver an engaging and personalised experience on the intranet for users.

Our Project Manager was wonderful and really proactive. The designer was outstanding. He really listened to what I wanted and was able to take that feedback on board and work it into the design. I really felt that was excellent. Overall, I’ve been very happy.

We launched a new modern intranet, Compass, for our staff. Compass supports the idea of a single source of truth, so files can be uploaded in one place and then shared across multiple sections of the intranet. The homepage, for example, dynamically updates to display content from other sections such as the Latest News. Federated search also pulls in results from our public website, so we don’t need to double handle information.

Knowledge sharing is much easier. We’ve put all our staff policies up and made it searchable within the policies section and across the site. We also have an area for Standing Instructions. We have a lot of clients, and this area provides all the necessary instructions on how to work with any given client on day-to-day and non-standardised transactions including contact and billing preferences.

During COVID-19, there’s been more of a focus on training. It's been helpful to have a central training and development area with resources such as training materials, videos, webinar recordings, external links and calendars. Previously you had to search for presentations in different areas within our file management system or ask a colleague to assist you. This has made it a lot easier to find resources.

We have staff working across different offices and from their homes. If you wanted to access information about colleagues such as staff codes, photos or whether someone is out of the office, you had to use different systems. The Staff Directory pulls all that information into the one place, making it much faster to access. Integration with Active Directory also means new employees are automatically added to Compass.

Compass helps us highlight the FB Rice culture. We can easily share updates around social niceties and celebrate successes from a central interface. We can also display the many calendars on the intranet and combine them when needed, with filters and tabs to refine what is displayed. We then embed them onto articles and can set the privacy so that only certain or all members see a calendar. Staff can easily see what events are happening or who is on leave.

The Benefits

Compass helps to connects us all with a new way of working: easier, better, together.

  • Central knowledge repository
    Compass improves sharing and access to the vast amount of information throughout the firm. Departments can add information relevant to their technology and area. Staff can then find information much more easily that what they’ve been able to do. For example, we are working on a new Country and Jurisdiction area. Patents, trademarks and designs differ from one country to another. You also deal with different people, charges and fees. Currently there's nowhere that compiles all that information. Once it’s live, attorneys will be able to search for it on Compass.

  • Improved communications
    The nature of our business is to rely heavily on emailing colleagues. For example, the main support area that manages our Standing Instructions have a lot of information they give out to attorneys. They would normally spend time sending out directions after someone requests it by email. Now there’s an easy place for people to access the information immediately without waiting for a response. If instructions need to be updated, staff can fill in an online form on Compass asking for it to be updated.

  • Supports the FB Rice culture
    Compass helps us promote the professional pride, accuracy and positive culture that underpins everything we do. We can now share the latest news. as well as celebrate the social aspects of the firm, in an easy to find and visually appealing way.

  • Decentralises content management
    Elcom is designed with the end user in mind so we don’t need to write code to create or update pages. We currently have 5 publishers aside from myself who look after their own areas, making it easier and faster to keep information updated.

 

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