Welcome to the OnSemble Coffee Hour – an ongoing series that brings to you the experience and the knowledge of successful intranet teams.
We had the pleasure of engaging with Frankie Duenas, Chief Technical Officer and Natasha Ataiiyan, Project Co-ordinator at Cabrillo Credit Union, who have been using OnSemble since mid-2016. Cabrillo Credit Union, chartered as Border Federal Credit Union in 1955, is a standout example what a truly collaborative team can accomplish with a dialed in workforce all working on the same digital workspace. What follows is a transcript of our conversation with Frankie and Natasha lightly edited for clarity and length.
Q. What was your team using before OnSemble to collaborate?
Frankie: We already had an intranet, but I knew it wasn’t a real long-term solution. It was a home-grown one and we knew it was not robust and had a short shelf life. We needed something that was scalable and would grow with us. So we internally collaborated on discovering and finding the correct vendor and that is when we landed on Passageways’ OnSemble.
Q. Who is responsible for OnSemble, is there a individual lead or is it a cross functional responsibility?
Frankie: Well after the selection, Natasha has taken over as the lead from the project management phase. We have a committee that has been meeting every month since the launch. The intranet committee comprises of representatives of each department to ensure there is a subject matter expert for each department. We wanted to ensure we meet organization wide needs and goals.
Q. When did you launch the OnSemble Intranet and what was your implementation experience like?
Frankie: We began implementation right around March 2016, and officially launched the new portal in the first week July 2016. It was really fast. So you can say, approximately 3 to 4 months to plan, implement, and launch the intranet.
Natasha: Our Customer Success Manager (CSM) really guiding us step-by-step through the process of aligning our goals. And soon a lot of us just took off and started exploring on our own as well. And it kind of naturally happened that way. The CSM was great for us, she was a really good cheerleader. She would put ideas in front of us and offer suggestions along the way and we started doing stuff on our own.
She showed us a lot of examples of what could be done and helped us determine the portals final look and feel. It was easier than we imagined to work with the platform. Once we determined what we wanted, it was very easy. I think everyone was really into it. I think they liked the idea of being able to create something on their own, especially for their own department pages and the ability to display what they wanted to. This helped really implement it really fast.
Q. How did you align OnSemble with your organizational strategy? What business value does your portal provide?
Natasha: OnSemble is packed with features, but the top three applications that help us execute our strategy are Help Desks for request management and process optimization, Employee Recognition to drive engagement, and Announcements to communicate information to the entire staff. We primarily use it as a collaboration tool and a place for staff to get current, up-to-date with the latest & greatest information.
One of our major goals when implementing our intranet was to clean up of our documents to make sure that we didn’t bring in any “garbage” [laugh] or anything that we didn’t need, so we defiantly made document management as one of our central goals and I really think its been a huge improvement.
Frankie: We use a lot of what OnSemble offers and leverage many aspects of the system. We created a custom calendar and case request system which is unique to us and does case requests and the review process automatically. It is a real cool design.
Q. For an outside organization looking for guidance, what would you tell them was a key driver of your success?
Natasha: We got our staff involved from the start – in helping to pick the theme and if we were going to have a mascot. I think that really helped to solidify everyone’s buy in just right from the start.
Frankie: Yes, that kind of the top down commitment is vital. If you don’t have the CEOs and the executive teams buy-in to ensure it meets their expectations, I think it may not work, it won’t have the credibility it needs to succeed. Again, all our subject matter experts from different departments were engaged, we were highly accountable at all levels. This I think worked to our advantage. We always made decisions as a team and so everyone took ownership of it and I think end of the day that collaborative effort also helped. We had weekly meetings and that kept the momentum focused. Finally, you guy’s (OnSemble’s) workflow was a lot more of robust and we saw that from day one, even before the launch really, that people kind of started to window their page and they started creating their own pages. And without any training really.
Q. What advice would you give an organization just getting started today?
Frankie: I think you must make it fun for staff. They don’t want it just to be block of credit union happenings per se. They want it to be fun. Like we have a meme section where every day we change out with a different meme and staff look forward to seeing that every day. Also freshen up the look, what we do is change the portal to reflect the seasons. So during Christmas or holidays we have holiday themes and summer have sort of picnic-y kind of theme. Just Fun things like that. Don’t leave it static and still, make it very dynamic and fun experience.