Case Study: An Intranet Solution for a Global Nonprofit

Intranet Solution for Nonprofit: ThoughtFarmer home page at URC-CHS
From Malaysia to Mozambique, from Bangladesh to Botswana, this is what URC employees see when they log in to ThoughtFarmer – with slight variations by region, and personalized for each employee. Click to read the full case study.

We’re pleased to publish a new intranet case study on our site today. It details how ThoughtFarmer has connected a global nonprofit: URC-CHS. Click to read the complete intranet case study, or read the summary here.

Fighting malaria, TB, substance abuse, and HIV is a tough job that requires a global effort — and a global workforce. University Research Co. (URC-CHS) has taken on these challenges for over 40 years by providing health care, social services, and health education to vulnerable communities.

The past five years have been a period of rapid expansion, quadrupling the company’s size and reach. URC-CHS has grown to 800 employees, in over 40 countries, who speak a wide variety of different languages. This created a whole new world of communication challenges, which left employees feeling isolated — they were unable to find important documents and struggled to share knowledge across regions.

The Problem: Global Communication and Collaboration

URC-CHS Countries that Use the New Digital Workplace
URC-CHS Current and Past Projects Map (Source:

URC-CHS wasn’t the only company struggling to communicate across borders. Approximately two-thirds of companies lack global enterprise-wide technology platforms (Source: Ernst & Young, Managing Today’s Global Workforce, 2010).

It’s not just about having the technology; communication tools must be set up in a way that’s easy-to-use, so the technology platform turns into a source of knowledge and collaboration. URC-CHS previously had a version of Mircosoft Sharepoint, but problems updating content and difficulties with international access meant it was constantly out-of-date and, therefore, little used. This resulted in employees that were unable to share ideas and learning experiences between project teams. Many resources were getting duplicated or under-utilized. All of this comes at a cost to the bottom line.

The Intranet Solution: Connecting Regions, Employees, and Ideas.

ThoughtFarmer and URC-CHS worked together to create a new intranet — a collaborative digital workplace — appropriately called ‘CONNECT’. CONNECT brings URC-CHS employees together through:

  • Regional & Global Content – Personalized news feeds and group security settings allow quick access to the most relevant content for each employee, while maintaining one centralized global hub for information sharing.
  • Rich Employee Profiles – Social-media-like profiles let employees connect on a more personal and human level, as well as quickly search for skill sets.
  • Shared Resources – Access to other project teams’ past work can save weeks or months of time. The new intranet allows for on-the-fly translations and real-time activity feeds, creating visibility and engagement between project teams.
  • Communicating in the Cloud – The old SharePoint intranet was only accessible inside the US. The new cloud intranet, secure yet accessible, allows for access from anywhere, even the remote areas where URC-CHS is promoting basic health and social care.

The Result: Smaller World. Better Work. More Projects.

Kate Howell, Knowledge Management specialist at URC-CHS, shares her excitement for the new intranet solution: “Now you can focus on other more important things. The result is URC-CHS gets better results than its competitors – and that means it wins more projects.”

Today knowledge is becoming the primary resource for many companies. But when that knowledge is locked in people’s heads in disconnected offices around the world, the knowledge has limited impact.

A ThoughtFarmer intranet, designed from the bottom up to help employees share knowldge and find information, can help you turn your knowledge capital into a competitive advantage. That’s exactly what ThoughtFarmer is doing at URC-CHS.

Read the full case study.

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