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Vita Group

Vita is Latin for life. Vita Group is a publicly listed, leading Australian retailer that strives to enhance people’s way of life through expert consulting, creating value across a diverse network of brands: Telstra Retail, Telstra Business Technology Centres, SQDAthletica, Sprout, and Artisan Aesthetic Clinics.

The Challenge

Vita Group’s intranet, Vita Pulse, was initially designed to provide relevant content across various customer-facing brands, as well as provide centralised content for shared service functions. Since the original design in 2011, user behaviour had changed considerably: team members preferred search over navigation, different roles had different pathways, and, many frontline team members were unable to access most pages on their preferred device: mobile.

A key design constraint was the structure of the menus. The initial design had five separate menus on the home page, including a centralised menu with information relevant to all team members, a brand-specific menu, a ‘visit other brands’ menu, and a quick links menu relevant to their business area.

Then there was the lack of integration with Vita’s enterprise social network, Yammer, which often meant news and updates were included across both platforms, particularly as team members preferred to access information on their mobile device.

Finally, the intranet always had the ability to create adaptive webpages to view the same content on mobile, but it required double handling. It was time to build a responsive site, and Elcom’s move to utilise Bootstrap provided the framework required.

The Elcom CMS provided a platform that enabled a seamless and efficient update to our intranet’s look, feel, and functionality, with zero downtime during the update, zero additional training required for our publishers, and enormous benefits for our team members. Michael Di Mauro, Internal Communications Manager
Vita Group

The Solution

Elcom worked with the Vita team on the design and build of the original intranet back in 2011.

As the information management portion of the platform continued to deliver, the Vita team chose to redesign their intranet in-house. The team sought feedback and suggestions from team members, and utilised behavioural data from Google Analytics, which identified key content that team members were routinely searching for, how they reached that information, and how deep team members had to navigate before they found the right content. This data clearly indicated that search was the preferred method, and that search needed to be front and centre (and accurate).

On the live site, Vita created a masterpage with the prototype of the new design. They put it in a separate folder, selected team members to use it as their daily driver, and collected feedback via a Yammer group. Once this feedback was collected and analysed in concert with analytical behavioural data, the team built masterpages on a staging server, which allowed them to design it in the background without disrupting content publishers.

When they were ready, moving everything across from staging to production was really easy, and took a single admin one weekend to implement, without taking the live site offline.

Vita’s redesigned intranet is personalised based on role and business area, powered by permissions within Active Directory groups, resulting in a need to design and maintain one version of a page. For example a clinician working in an Artisan clinic is shown an Artisan navigation menu item, alongside standard menu items linking to common services for all team members. They would also see corporate news and Artisan-related news, displayed via dynamic widgets which brings like-minded articles together onto one page, as well as updates from the Artisan Yammer group.

The team took the opportunity to implement live search, enabling team members to check their search as they go, rather than needing to navigate forward and back to refine their search. The team also created a custom solution via Code Blocks to surface the top four articles viewed by team members in the same roles over a rolling 14 day period. These top four articles are presented as four buttons under the search bar, which updates in real-time – very similar to how Chrome and Firefox present most visited sites under a search bar when opening a new window – resulting in fewer searches.

The team uses Code Blocks regularly, allowing them to write custom front-end scripting code to embed extra functionality onto pages as needed by publishers without code experience. A great example of this powers Vita’s ‘Topic to a page’ micro-sites. These pages split content across multiple tabs, using code blocks and layout templates, presenting a lot of content in a nicely formatted yet easy to use, maintainable, and mobile-responsive way.

A more advanced example is the leaderboard for Vita’s rewards program. The code to run the data is stored in Vita’s intranet as a code block, pulling in data, and keeping the code on the intranet platform, allowing Vita to power interactive leaderboards on the intranet platform without needing to use and maintain other servers.

The Benefits

Vita Pulse is Vita’s central communication portal, enabling the Vita team to provide a centralised repository of information to 1600 team members across Australia, over five brands – each with their own brand experience – with a heavy mix of frontline team members.

The Vita team redesigned the intranet to help team members find the information they need for their role easier, on their device of choice. In the months following the redesign, the team received very positive feedback from team members, and from data analytics:

  • Enhanced experience across devices
    Tablet usage is up by a huge 350% and mobile usage is up 150%, as a result of the improved user experience.
  • Intuitive live search
    Overall search volume is down, with team members finding what they need 9% quicker over a much smaller average search depth. This is a result of the new live search feature allowing refining on the fly, displaying the most popular, relevant articles and providing pre-set suggested search results.

Most importantly, the substantial update was applied without needing to take the intranet down, with team members able to access all content during the transfer. Vita’s intranet has over 25,000 articles (including a substantial number of news articles) – thanks to the use of masterpages, the team only had to make in-page updates to less than 0.004% of all articles, the majority of which had custom code applied over the previous eight years.

The flexibility provided by the Elcom platform allowed the team to customise the intranet to Vita Group’s every need. Changing the look and feel of the Elcom platform simply requires knowledge of CSS and JavaScript. It can be as advanced as you need it to be if you have coding skills, but it can also be as simple as you need to be if you’re a non-technical person.


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