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When Assiniboine Credit Union (ACU) merged with two other credit unions six years ago, it quickly built a bare-bones intranet. But employees couldn’t locate files, key documents became out-of-date and the intranet became stagnant. Everyone, including the executive management team, knew ACU needed a new intranet.

“The old intranet was a file repository, not a functional website. The search engine wasn’t even able to index documents,” said Lawrence Peters, ACU’s Intranet Manager.

In a company survey, only 14% said they could easily find documents they’d never accessed before on the intranet.

So in 2011, ACU set out to design a new intranet that would boost employee satisfaction and collaboration, and improve member service through better information access and sharing.

[Screenshot] Employee profile on ACU's ThoughtFarmer intranet
Each employee’s profile includes a photo, contact information and lists relationships to other ACU staff.

ThoughtFarmer Was a Match

Peters began researching more than 50 intranet platforms and companies. “We needed a collaborative, user-friendly intranet that could handle the 3.8 million words of documentation stuck in files. It would also need to help us meet our member service goals,” said Peters. “The right mix of functionality and collaboration was key.”

Peters narrowed down vendors based on criteria like implementation speed and small business fit. ThoughtFarmer was a match.

“We deal with a lot of IT companies. ThoughtFarmer is by far the best experience I’ve ever had.” — Duane Nicol

“ThoughtFarmer had everything we were looking for in an intranet: a way to handle documents; a way to enhance communication; and a way for employees to connect with one another. Plus, we had to implement quickly. It’s as though ThoughtFarmer was designed for us.”

ThoughtFarmer Delivers “Best Experience”

“ThoughtFarmer understood our situation better than any other,” said Duane Nicol, Marketing and Communications Manager at ACU. “ThoughtFarmer wasn’t just flipping a switch, they educated us on capacity building and collaborative culture.”

“Other vendors are sales people, ThoughtFarmer is an intranet aficionado.” – Duane Nicol

The result was Mosaic, ACU’s new, ThoughtFarmer-powered, social intranet.

“We’re already seeing demonstrable changes in the way people work. Employees are more efficient and solve problems more quickly. If you send an email, you might get an answer within a day. Now, colleagues respond to one another on Mosaic within a few minutes,” said Nicol.

Frontline and back-office employees use the intranet to answer financial inquiries, access procedural and legal documents, create and share information, and to check in with fellow staff. The intranet is now at the heart of ACU with 93% percent of employees logging on to Mosaic at least once a day. Seventy-three percent use the intranet every hour.

Peters and Nicol say the intranet’s success is due to extensive research—they investigated the needs and behavior of 85 employees—and to ThoughtFarmer’s methodology and platform.

“The ThoughtFarmer engine is a piece of genius.”
— Lawrence Peters

A New Team Outlook

The new intranet promotes behavior change at ACU, too. For example, before ThoughtFarmer it was impossible to know who authored a document, so when employees spotted content errors they often ignored them. “On the old system, no one was empowered to make corrections. Now, anyone can leave a comment on any page, so there’s a lot more ownership and commitment to content,” said Peters.

[screenshot] Discussion in ACU's ThoughtFarmer intranet
Almost all corrections, as in this case, happen as a result of staff comments, which wasn’t possible before. Corrections are often made within minutes, thanks to an email notification system.
Because everyone has a personal profile, employees connect with one another more easily, which Nicol says is great for cross-departmental team building.

ThoughtFarmer in Action

Watch an 8-minute tour of ACU’s webinar:


Remember the scant 14% of employees who could find what they were looking for on the old intranet? Now, 70% of staff have no problems finding information they had not accessed before.

How does this shake out in the real world? Two weeks after launch, an alert about counterfeit checks was circulated on the intranet’s home page. The entire organization was immediately briefed and both members and ACU avoided losses from the scam.

With ThoughtFarmer’s help, ACU made a transformational shift from an antiquated, centrally-managed collection of files to an interactive, searchable, and trusted platform for better communication and knowledge sharing.

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